Fine lines, fine cracks: six perfectly individual fragrant boiled eggs
Some things are so old that they are not questioned in speaking. Cooking with tea is an unquestioned tradition in China and other parts of Asia and tea eggs and their recipe follow suit. Tea eggs are eaten as a snack, street food, or used as an ingredient, or accompaniment, all either warm or cold. Fragrance speaks over and over in tea eggs, as does the hidden beauty of the inside out shell and the marbled surface of the peeled egg, which depending on the chosen marination time can seep in a few millimetres deep. The irregular patterns and stains, apart from the flavour, make tea eggs perfect. Perfectly individual.
3 Tbsp Green tea leaves
2 Cinnamon sticks
3 Star anise
100 ml Soy sauce
½ Tbsp coarse salt
Bring water to a boil in a pot large enough to hold six eggs covered in water. Add the six eggs, carefully slipping them off a spoon so that they do not crack when hitting the bottom of to the pot and continue to cook them at a boil for 8 to 9 minutes if you want a creamy yolk and 10 minutes if you want a firm yolk. Take the eggs out of the hot water once the time is done and cool them down quickly under running cold water and leave aside. Bring a second round of cold water to a boil in the same pot and add the tea leaves, cinnamon sticks, star anise, soy sauce and salt and reduce to a simmer. In the mean time, gently crack the shells of the boiled eggs, without breaking the shell off. Just enough cracking for the tea water to seep through. Place the cracked shell boiled eggs into the simmering tea water and continue to cook for at least 20 minutes and up to one hour. Remove the tea water with the eggs from the heat. At this point the eggs are ready to be eaten or stored for further use. If you would like to obtain a deeper and darker stain on the eggs, and more flavour, marinate the eggs in the tea water over night in the fridge. If not eaten immediately the eggs can be stored, shell on, in the fridge for a couple of days. To eat or cook with, just peel a carry on.