Whenever I pass by night markets or Chinese Medical halls, the aromatic whiffs of tea leaf egg never fails to make my tummy rumble. If you are unfamiliar with tea leaf eggs, they are a typical Chinese street food originated from China and found commonly all across China and Southeast Asia, especially Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore.
The eggs are cooked and simmered in a spiced tea broth. The spices use to flavor the tea broth usually consist of cinnamon, star anise and soy sauce. The use of black tea and dark soy sauce is what gives the tea leaf eggs their signature dark color.
The marble-like pattern on the eggs are created by gently cracking the shells after they are cooked and before submerging them in the liquid.
Traditionally, the eggs are cooked until the hard boiled stage. Truth be told, I’m not a fan of tough and dry yolks. When I came across Chubby Hubby’s recipe, I was thoroughly inspired. He uses the sous-vide method to cook the eggs, resulting in firm egg whites with a runny centre. How ingenious!
Since I have no intention of investing in a sous-vide machine (yet), I borrowed the cooking method from my Shoyu Tamago recipe and gave this recipe a test.
I’m pretty happy with the custard-like yolk texture and even more satisfied with the deep rich flavor. Whether it is for breakfast, lunch or dinner, these Marbled Tea Leaf Eggs are simply delicious and provide a great source of protein.
6 large eggs (I’m using 60 g size)
2 tsp black tea leaves (I’m using Lipton)
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise (add 1 more if you like a stronger flavor)
½ tsp Szechuan pepper
4 – 5 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp sugar
1200 ml water (for making tea broth)
Makes 6 eggs
Recipe adapted from: Chubby Hubby
In a medium pot, add in 1200 ml water, all the spices and seasoning and bring to boil. Set aside to cool.
In a saucepan or pot, add enough water so the eggs will be fully submerged inside. Place one egg inside to test.
Bring the water to boil and lower to simmering temperature.
Set your timer to 6 minutes exactly. Gently add in eggs (use a strainer if necessary) and stir them around with a spoon for about 2 mins. This will ensure the yolks set nicely in the centre.
Let them simmer in the water for another 4 mins.
Remove the eggs immediately from the pot and transfer them into a bowl of iced water.
Let them cool for about 5 – 10 mins.
Use the back of a metal spoon to gently tap the shell of the eggs to create cracks all over without removing them.
Place the eggs in a container and pour the tea broth over them.
Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or preferably overnight to allow the flavor to fully penetrate into the eggs.
Peel the shell off and enjoy.
*The marinade could be reused and keep well in the fridge for up to 5 days.