I made a big batch of Chinese tea eggs this weekend because I had way too many eggs in the fridge (always seems to happen after a trip to Costco...). Tea eggs are one of my favorite snacks, a favorite afterschool treat growing up, but they're also good for breakfast, over plain steamed rice (with some of the tea brew on top) or in ramen for lunch. Don't worry, not all on the same day! Damn cholesterol! The best part is the longer they sit in the soy sauce tea brew, the more flavorful they become. I think they taste best after 2 days in the fridge. Oh did I mention, they're really cool looking too?
The tea you use doesn't have to be the best quality, just use black tea and not green. Sometimes when I'm lazy, I just peel the whole egg after hardboiling the first time instead of cracking it. You don't get the pretty design but it's easier to eat later. *nomnomnom* I'm thinking about braising some chicken with my leftover tea brew. Tea braised chicken?
Cha Ye Dan/Chinese Tea Leaf Eggs
6 - 8 large eggs
1/4 C soy sauce
2 Tbsp black tea leaves or 2 black tea bags
1 star anise
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Roughly 2 C water
Put the eggs in a saucepan that can fit the eggs snugly and cover with water. Bring to a boil and gently simmer for 7 minutes. Drain the eggs and rinse them with cold water until they have cooled off enough to handle. Use the back of a spoon gently tap the shell all over or just hit them against the countertop.
Return the eggs to the saucepan, add the soy sauce, tea leaves or tea bags, star anise, salt, and enough water to cover. You'll want to use a saucepan that can fit the number of eggs you're cooking perfectly. You don't want to use a saucepan that's too big otherwise, you'll need a lot of water to cover the eggs and it will dilute the tea brew. Simmer them in the tea soy sauce brew for 2 - 3 hours. You can even cook them for a few hours in a slow cooker. Halfway through the cooking time, turn the eggs over, add more water if necessary.
After cooking, store the eggs in the brew at least overnight so the flavors can permeate the eggs completely. I like to cut them in half and spoon a bit of the soy sauce brew onto the yolk before eating, it makes the yolk creamy and more flavorful.