Tea Eggs (茶叶蛋 Cha Ye Dan)
January 16, 2021
Today’s recipe is about tea eggs. As I mentioned in my Ramen Soft-Boiled Eggs post, if you are not a fan of soft-boiled eggs, tea eggs might just be your couple of tea.
Tea eggs are hard-boiled eggs that have been marinated in a tea-infused liquid. They have a savory taste and are filled with the aroma from the tea leaves. You can find street vendors selling tea eggs in train stations, by tourist sights, and in front of schools in many parts of Asia. I used to always bring one or two with me to school field trips and picnics. They are super versatile, and can be served alone, or over rice, noodles, and porridge.
There are many ways to make the tea egg marinade. The marinade usually consists of some loose tea leaves (tea bags), spices, and a few condiments. In terms of the cooking method, there are also many variations. I prefer to first boil the eggs, then simmer them in the marinade for a short duration, and then finally store them in the marinade overnight. As long as you like the taste, I really don’t think there is a right or wrong way to make tea eggs. So feel free to experiment.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 7 hours
Servings: 6 tea eggs
- 6 large eggs (room temperature)
- 1 tablespoon loose tea leaves or 2 tea bags1
- 1 tablespoon five spice powder
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ~4 cups water
- Boil the eggs. Fill a medium sauce pan with water and carefully transfer the 6 large eggs into the pan, closing the lid. The water should be at least 1 inch above the eggs. Turn the heat to medium-high and wait for the water to boil. After the water begins to boil, turn the heat down to medium and cook for 5 more minutes. After 5 minutes, immediately take the eggs out and lightly crack their shells with a ladle or other utensil. DO NOT peel the shells off the eggs. It’s best to crack the eggs as much as possible to produce a more marble-like pattern and to allow the eggs to absorb the marinade flavor.
- While waiting for the eggs, in another small sauce pan, add the 3 cups of water and bring the water to a boil. After it boils, add the rest of the ingredients: tea leaves or tea bags, 2 tablespoons of five spice powder, 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce, 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of sugar, mixing to combine. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes to let the flavor of tea leaves and spices come out.
- Transfer the cracked eggs into the pan with the marinade and return to a simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Then turn off the heat and wait for everything to cool down. Once cooled, transfer the eggs and the marinade (you can filter the solids out) into a Ziploc bag. Put the Ziploc bag in a closed glass container in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight to produce the best flavor. (Alternatively, without using a Ziploc bag, store the entire sauce pan in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight.)
- Peel off the shells and enjoy your tea eggs!
- You don’t need to use premium tea leaves. Any type of tea works, such as black, green, or red tea.