Tea Eggs 茶葉蛋 chá yè dàn

Tea Eggs 茶葉蛋-02

I love eggs, I have one almost everyday when I’m pressed for time for breakfast. I usually have a boiled egg cause it’s the easiest to prepare and I can cook a bunch at the start of the week. So it’s no wonder that I love tea eggs. They are hard boiled eggs that are simmered for hours in a tea and spice broth that infuses and permeates throughout the egg.

In Taiwan, tea eggs are present in all convenience stores, and according to reports, an average of 40 MILLION tea eggs are sold each year, and that’s only from 7-11. If you took into account the other convenience stores such as Family Mart, Hi-Life and Ok Mart, that figure would probably be more than double!  It’s one of the most profitable items that 7-11 sells, which is amazing considering it’s just a simple egg.

My mom uses these prepackaged tea egg spice bags for convenience, and you can find them in any Asian market.

Tea Eggs 茶葉蛋-04

Just for giggles, here are the Chinglish directions printed on the back of the box.

  1. Put twenty eggs into a cooking put and put water. In the amount sufficient to cover all eggs. Into the pot.
  2. Add flavouring bag and tea bag (keep the two bags as a whole) and a teaspoon of salt into the pot.
  3. Cook in mild oven for 20 minutes [what, who boils eggs in the oven?!] Take out the eggs and break the egg shells gently to enable the flavouring to penetrate into the eggs. Keep cooking the eggs for one more hour.
  4. Turn off the oven, keep soaking the eggs in the flavouring fluid for another hour. Then you get the wonderful flavoured tea eggs in excellent look, taste and smell.
    Enjoy flavoured tea eggs accompanied by “Jen Hao Jia” peppered salt for added delight to your palate.

Tea Eggs 茶葉蛋-03

An easier recipe can be used with ingredients you probably have at home. Measurements are approximated, it’s cooking, not baking!

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tea bags (Black Tea or Pu’er Tea)
  • 1 star anise (or 5 spice powder)

Method:

  1. Make hard boiled eggs. When cool, lightly crack each egg all the way around.
  2. Put the eggs back into a new pot of water, enough to cover the eggs and add the tea bags, soy sauce, anise, and salt.
  3. Simmer over medium heat for 1 hour. If the water level drops, turn the eggs so all surfaces are covered.
  4. Leave to soak overnight or simmer on low heat for another 2-3 hours for maximum flavour.

A good tea egg has a nice lacy web-like texture all over the egg, with dark lines and lighter patches. The longer the eggs are soaked, the stronger the flavour and they can keep well up to a week. Pack some for lunch, eat it with some minced meat on rice for a simple meal, or just eat 4 of them a day (not recommended, I’ve done it though).

Tea Eggs 茶葉蛋-01

Hope you enjoy this simple recipe, I’ll be rolling out more in the future.

Tea Egg (Cha Ye Dan, 茶叶蛋)

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  • http://chowtimes.com Ben

    If Kev can cook, so can you!

    • http://www.604foodtography.com Kevin Wu

      Lol Ben, this was way too simple, it’s not really far to call it cooking. :)

  • http://cookingrookie.blogspot.com Cooking Rookie

    What an interesting recipe. I never thought of adding flavors to boiled eggs :-) . Will certainly try this. Lovely photos, by the way.

    • http://www.604foodtography.com Kevin Wu

      Thanks! Your pictures are great as well. :)

  • http://cakeonthebrain.blogspot.com cakebrain

    I love tea eggs! In fact, I’m now hankering for one right about now! It’s the perfect snack food in my opinion. The only problem I know is impossible to overcome is the overdone egg yolk. Wish the flavour could be infused well without the yolk being overcooked! I think I’ll make a bunch right now. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • http://www.604foodtography.com Kevin Wu

      Perhaps cook the eggs medium boiled, ..but then cracking them would be difficult. I’m stumped, how can we avoid this overcooked egg yolk problem? You’re welcome, I’m down to my last one so I’m gonna start another batch. :)

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