Thursday, February 2, 2012

Tea Eggs

When we were in China, we stayed in fancy hotels with amazing breakfast buffets.  There would be Western fare like scrambled eggs, bacon, and french toast and then there were Chinese dishes, too.  I tried many of them - a rice porridge called congee, steamed greens, assorted dumplings, dragon fruit (which looks fabulous and tastes as good).  One of my favorite finds were tea eggs.  They were hard-boiled eggs marinated in some way and tasted of salt and spice.  I loved them.  And I have missed them.

Last week I stumbled across a recipe for tea eggs on the internet.  It turns out they are very easy to make!  So tonight, I made some. 

I boiled a batch of eggs the usual way.  Once they were cooked, I cracked, but didn't peel, the shells.  Then I simmered them for hours in a "sauce" made of water, black tea, soy sauce, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and orange peel.

They looked pretty weird at this point, but the smell was wonderful - spicy and salty and something un-nameable.  Soon, the house smelled like China...
After a few hours of happy simmering, I drained the eggs and let them cool.  They looked so interesting - tea-stained brown and covered in spiderwebs of cracks.
Then it was time to peel them.  Aren't they beautiful?
Even the shells are pretty.
I'm in for some good eating now!  Comfort food, China style.

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