My first exposure to this tea-flavored eggs was back in college. I had a Taiwanese friend who made this tea-flavored eggs and thanks to her, I got hooked until today This is just my own assumption, I found that Taiwanese like to use tea in cooking, which I really enjoy too. I’m not a tea and coffee drinker, but using those two in cooking are always appealing to me.
So, a while ago, my sister got me some store-bought tea-flavored eggs spice bags (thank you sista!). This tea-flavored eggs or known as 茶 葉 蛋 (cha yue dan) is one of my favorite egg dishes. The eggs are slowly cooked and infused with tea flavor and other spices. What sets this tea-flavored eggs apart from other spice-infused eggs are the marbling on the skin of the eggs. When you crack the eggs opened you’ll see this beautiful marbles created by cracking the shell of the cooked eggs without peeling them off before cooking the eggs further in the dark-color liquid made of tea and spices. I ran out of the tea-flavored eggs spice bags my sister got me and I decided to “formulate” my own spices and tea. Most tea-flavored eggs are made by slow cooking them to infuse all the flavor to the eggs. I personally don’t really like a “tough” hard-boiled eggs. So, what I did was I boiled the eggs and then submergde them into the tea and spices liquid overnight and I got the same flavorful eggs (better because it’s not overcooked inside).
This is really fun and easy to make and even more fun when you peel them and you see all the beautiful marbles on the eggs.
- 10 chicken eggs
- 1 large cinnamon stick
- ½ cup dark soy sauce
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp rock sugar
- 1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
- Double layer cheese cloth and kitchen twine or strings to tie
- 1 star anise
- 3 cloves
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- ¼ cup loose black tea leaves (if you don’t have loose tea leaves, you may use 2 black tea bags and no need to tie these in the spice bag if you are not using loose tea leaves)
- Cut the cheese cloth big enough to wrap all the spice bag ingredients. Put the black tea, star anise, cloves, and fennel seeds on the cheese cloth. Wrap them up and secure with kitchen twine or strings. Set aside
- Put all the eggs in a medium to large pot and pour in water to cover the eggs (make sure it covers the eggs) and bring the water to a boil. Boil the eggs for about 10 minutes. While the eggs are boiling, bring another medium to large size pot of water, probably about 5 cups or more, to a boil, then put in the spice bag, cinnamon stick, soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, Chinese five-spice powder, and rock sugar, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 30 minutes and you will have a dark-color liquid. Let the liquid cool down and dispose of the spice bag and cinnamon stick
- Once you’ve cooked the eggs for 10 minutes, turn off the heat, drain the water off and run the eggs through cold water until they are completely cool. Use the back of a metal spoon and gently tap the shell of each egg all around so you have all these cracks all over the eggs (but don’t peel the shell off, leave them as this is what creating the marbles). Set aside
- At this point, you can either put all the eggs into the pot with the dark liquid or transfer everything into a big bowl or container with a lid or cover with plastic wrap. Just make sure the liquid covers the eggs, you may need to add a bit more water if it doesn’t. Put them in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours to let the tea-spice liquid flavor the eggs
- When ready to eat, just take one out, very gently peel the shell off and enjoy as is or with soy sauce
NOTES: Please don’t use green tea leaves to make tea-flavored eggs. They will make your eggs too bitter to eat.