Bon-awe-petit: Taiwanese Tea Eggs

by Cara Dong '2023

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πŸ“· Dish Photo

β€œLet food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

― Hippocrates

✌️ Chef’s Name: Anna Chang

🍜 Food Type: Chinese

πŸ“– Recipe

Ingredients

  • Eggs: 10 medium eggs
  • Star anise: 3 pieces
  • Bay leaf: 3 pieces
  • Cinnamon: 3 sticks
  • Black tea: 2 teaspoons
  • Sichuan pepper: 1 teaspoons
  • Crystal sugar: 5 cubes
  • Soy sauce: 5 teaspoons
  • Dark soy sauce: 7 teaspoons
  • Salt: 5 teaspoons

Steps

  1. Wash the eggs well.
  2. Put the eggs in the pot while the water is still cold, boil them to the extent you like (5 minutes for soft-boiled eggs and 8 minutes for fully cooked eggs).
  3. Wash the eggs again with cold water.
  4. Crack the eggshells with a knife (as shown below).
  1. Prepare the seasoning: star anise 3 pieces, bay leaf 3 pieces, cinnamon 3 pieces, black tea 10g, Sichuan pepper 5g, crystal sugar 20g.
  2. Add the seasoning prepared into the pot, along with two more bowls of water, soy sauce 5 teaspoons, dark soy sauce 7 teaspoons, and salt 5 teaspoons.
  3. Stew for 15 minutes.
  4. Put the cracked eggs back into the pot, turn off the stove and close the lid, let them soak for 2 hours.
  5. Enjoy!

πŸ’“ Make It Your Own Dish

“If you’ve been to Taiwan, you know exactly what I’m talking about when it comes to the wonders of Taiwan’s 7-11. When I was little, I would stop by 7-11 every morning for two tea eggs, freshly steamed out of a rice cooker. I’d always carefully eat the whites and give the yolks to my mom (oops high cholesterol? sorry mom). Back in America, my mom would occasionally make this dish and emphasize its simplicity for future college days. I had some whole tea leaves to use up, so as promised, Taiwanese Tea Eggs sounded like the perfect nostalgic treat!”

– Anna Chang

πŸ’¬ Birth of Tea Eggs

Tea eggs originated in Zhejiang province, China, as a way to preserve food for a long time but are now found in all provinces across Mainland China. It is a typical Chinese savory food commonly sold as a snack by street vendors or at night markets. Gradually, as more and more people in coastal cities travel and migrate to other places, tea eggs are brought with them to Taiwan and many Chinese communities throughout the world. It is also known as β€œmarble egg” because the cracks in the eggshell combined with the effect of soaking in tea leaves in the boiling sauce creates darkened lines with marble-like patterns. It is interesting how different families pass down different variations of this recipe. The prevalence of recipes makes tea eggs one of the most favored snacks among children in Asian communities.

⚠️ Caution

β€œI like my yolk a bit rare so I like to boil my eggs separately to the amount I prefer, then crack the shells and place then the sauce after it’s been removed from the heat. Pro tip: soaking the eggs overnight makes a world of a difference in flavors the next day!”

– Anna Chang

😊 Food Meme

About the Author

Cara is currently a sophomore student intending to major in Data Science and Comparative Literature who is interested in applying data analysis to environmental issues. She enjoys cooking, reading and making traditional Chinese paintings.

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