Tea Leaf Eggs 茶葉蛋
The simple pleasures in life...
is all about eating what you grew up with. As a kid I would walk along the streets of Hong Kong, and a delicious waft of smell would go right by our noses. As you turn the corner the herbal tea shop would always have a steaming pot of hot tea leaf eggs waiting for you, tempting you, just telling you that you must get yourself at least one, or maybe two. My mum would always indulge me since I wasn't begging to get superficially glucose tainted treats at the store, rather so, I was asking for a delicious hard-boiled egg soaked in a concoction of Chinese herbs, tea leaves, and soya sauce which was also a treat for her.
As we got older, my mum also stopped making it at home since so few of us were running around the house. One by one we all left home to attend university or work in a different country. When I got back to Hong Kong and moved out I would buy one occasionally when I'd pass by a herbal tea shop, and I thought to myself "I can definitely make this at home" and so for the past month, I've been boiling a lot of eggs and forcing everyone around me to eat it. Though it really isn't hard to finish since I would sneak an egg every day anyways. It's probably not the best for you to have one every day with the sodium levels but it's just too darn good to resist!
I have kept my recipe super simple, and unlike some recipes out there I also left out a few seasonings because it works just as good without it. I'm not good at measuring since I always go by my tongue, but I will do my best to give my version.
- 2-3 cloves star anise
- 1 Stick of cinnamon
- 2 bags of pu-er tea leaves (or black tea leaves)
- 2 tablespoon of brown sugar (add more to your liking if necessary)
- 1 slice of fresh orange peel (or dried orange peel. Available at Chinese herbal stores)
- 1 cup of light soya sauce
- 1/2 cup of dark soya sauce
- 3-4 cups of water (add more to taste if it gets too salty)
- Eggs - up to you!
In a pot size of your choosing place in all ingredients (excluding eggs), and let it come to a boil. Let the flavours and colours steep and simmer. Turn the heat to low and have it simmer for at least another 30 mins after. Taste to your liking. If it is too salty, add water to dilute, or sugar to let it continue caramelising with the rest of the ingredients.
In a separate pot bring 4+ cups of hot water to a boil, and add 6-12 eggs to your liking for at least 10 minutes for hard-boiled eggs. Drain and drop in cold water if you're in a hurry like me. Crack the eggs carefully but don't peel! Then drop the eggs into your delicious tea concoction and let it steep for at least 3 hours. If you prefer the eggs to get deep in colours in flavour, you can leave it overnight in the pot for the eggs to soak for optimal flavours.