Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

gfweb

Failed Chinese tea eggs

Recommended Posts

I got this recipe http://www.saveur.com/article/Kitchen/saveur-100-tea-eggs from Saveur for those stained glass-looking eggs. Clearly one cannot boil 5 eggs in a half cup of soy, so this recipe is a bummer without even trying it.

But every other recipe I can google up fails when I try it. At best I get a faintly stained egg after a couple days in the tea/soy/spice fluid. Letting it go a week is no better.

So does anyone know the trick?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did them perfect right out of the gate with Martin Yan's version. Not sure if it is online or not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first step in the recipe is to put that 1/2 cup of soy in 2 cups of water.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I boil the eggs (I've heard if you slightly undercook them, the whites will take the color better), crack well, making sure that the membrane around the egg is broken, then simmer in the spice mixture. Using mostly, or entirely, dark soy sauce will help to give good color without too much salt or too much soy sauce taste.

I'm still playing around with proportions, but my rough method is as follows (loosely based on http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?p=186510):

10 eggs

20-30g tea (black tea is probably best, though I usually use heavy-roasted Tieguanyin)

~ 1 tsp black peppercorns (you could add some Sichuan peppercorns also if you have some)

2 Tbsp kosher salt

4 Tbsp (or moe) dark soy sauce

2 pieces star anise, broken up (optional)

1 heaping tsp 5 spice (or use the individual spices separately)

1 stick cassia bark or Vietnamese cinnamon

Chinese style dried tangerine peel (optional)

Bring eggs to a boil, let sit, covered, for 10+ minutes.

Cool eggs in cold water, and crack shells (well) with the back of a spoon.

Add cold water to cover and spices and simmer for a couple of hours. Let cool, place in container with marinade for another 24 hours before draining.


Edited by Will (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first step in the recipe is to put that 1/2 cup of soy in 2 cups of water.

They changed the recipe after my comment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that I've not been violent enough cracking the shells. Seemed plenty aggressive, but the membranes always were intact.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ferran Adria makes a " Millennium egg" in which he suspends egg yolk ( ? ) spheres in a dashi/soy gelatin with an egg shell till it sets.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For my tea eggs, I use dark soy (sometimes sweet soy) and for the tea I use a chunk of a black tea brick - I don't recall where I got it - I chop off about a 1 inch square or so, for six to ten eggs.

but what remains of the package indicates it was imported from India.

It produces really strong and intensely colored "tea" which is really too strong for drinking (to my taste) but is ideal for a dye for cloth and for eggs.

I have a little routine, after I have cracked the eggs evenly, all over, I use very fine-tipped, sharp scissors to cut into the air pocket at the large end of each egg.

I don't know if this really has any appreciable effect but it works for me.

I also add a tablespoon of roasted sesame oil whisked vigorously into the soaking mixture as someone ones told me this does something to keep the ingredients combined so they don't separate and gives a better end result.

Again, I've never done a side-by-side comparison to see if it does make a difference, but it works for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used Lapsang Souchong tea last time I made tea eggs, and I liked the results.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So here's my latest failed tea egg. Boiled x 5 minutes, cracked vigorously, then boiled for 20 minutes in soy/tea/spice/caramel color mix. Then sit for two days in the fridge in the tea mixture. The membrane got good color...

tea egg.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first step in the recipe is to put that 1/2 cup of soy in 2 cups of water.

They changed the recipe after my comment.

Even so, but a huge pet peeve of mine is recipes that leave water off the ingredients list if water is indeed required as an ingredient. Noting the addition of water solely in the body of the recipe instruction is lazy writing. I also dislike that recipe authors regularly omit articles (e.g. "put soy sauce into pan" instead of "put the soy sauce into the pan"). That is also lazy writing, in my opinion. The same goes for using T. for tablespoon and t. for teaspoon, also in my opinion - unless you are the editor of Lucky Peach, then it doesn't matter anyway since the tablespoon/teaspoon amounts stated in the recipes in that publication seem to be interchangeable. :raz:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never tried making these but am tempted to do so just out of curiosity. If your technique is fine then I wonder if has to do with your ingredients, like your eggs or soy sauce, for instance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm stumped. Eggs have been from different cartons. All Eggland's Best brand. Soy is Kikoman Light, Tea is Red Rose. The solution is really black.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem, imho, might be both the soy sauce and the lack of acid. The soy sauce should be dark, as this is what colors the eggs down through the membrane and on to the white itself. The acid is provided by the black tea leaves. I like loose leaves, since they are of a better quality and therefore more powerful. I also up the acid by adding rice wine and a good strip of dried tangerine/orange peel, and I like about a tablespoon of rock sugar to heighten the spicy notes.

Will's recipe looks a lot like what I've used over the years, except that I use just enough water to cover the eggs, as well as of course the wine and sugar. I also make the marinade first and simmer it for about half an hour to get the flavors to "bloom"; I've found that if the liquid is too watery when I put the hard boiled eggs in, they never color up quite right. One thing you ought do is taste the marinade: it should taste salty and rich and very flavorful. Since soy sauces and teas vary in strength, adjust the seasoning as needed.

You don't need to boil the eggs furiously, in my experience. Just simmer them slowly for 3 hours uncovered (covering the pot often causes a Swiss cheese sort of effect in the whites), adding more water as needed to cover the eggs, but not so much that you dilute the marinade. Seep the eggs in the marinade while it cools off, and then let them sit in it in the fridge for a day or two. Slightly older eggs work best for me, as they are easier to peel.

Hope this helps!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder if the low sodium soy sauce is the problem. As Carolyn says the solution should be quite salty, and I think the saltiness may help the osmotic transfer of the marinade through the egg membrane.


Edited by sheetz (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That might well be it! I'll add salt!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've looked at other recipes online and a lot of them also say to simmer the eggs in the soy sauce mixture for a couple of hours. The Saveur recipe just says to simmer for 5 min and then add ice and I wonder if that could be the difference.

And as others have said I think you should try adding some Chinese dark soy sauce to the mix. Kikkoman just isn't the same. If you can't find dark soy sauce you could try added a spoon of molasses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem with this recipe is that it uses too little ingredient portions to make the eggs. I can understand it... someone wants to make 4 to 5 eggs, so they use a little bit of this a little bit of that, and so not ending up with a big pot of sauce after cooking. But think about it... if the simmering sauce is only like 1-inch deep in the pan/pot, how can the eggs be flavored fully? The cooking time seems too short too.

A better approach is: use more soy sauce, water, spices, etc.. Make a big pot of tea-egg braising sauce. Make sure each egg is fully submerged in the sauce. Simmer them for a few hours (min 2 to 3 hours). Let the eggs cool and soaked in the sauce. (But 2 to 3 hours should be long enough that the eggs are ready to be served.) Afterwards, you filter out the residue from the sauce and save the sauce in a plastic container. Put it in a freezer and re-use it next time you make the eggs again. Each time you cook tea eggs, put in more soy sauce, water, spices, etc. and repeat the cycle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By liuzhou
      These have been mentioned a couple of times recently on different threads and I felt they deserved one of their own. After all, they did keep me alive when I lived in Xi'an.
       
      Rou jia mo (ròu jiá mò; literally "Meat Sandwich") are Chinese sandwiches which originated in Shaanxi Province, but can be found all over China. Away from their point of origin, they tend to be made with long stewed pork belly. However in Xi'an (capital of Shaanxi), there is a large Muslim population so the meat of choice is more usually beef. In nearby Gansu Province, lamb or mutton is more likely.
       
      When I was living in Xi'an in 1996-1997, I lived on these. I was living on campus in North-West University (西北大学) and right outside the school gate was a street lined with cheap food joints, most of which would serve you one. I had one favourite place which I still head to when I visit. First thing I do when I get off the train.
       
      What I eat is Cumin Beef Jia Mo (孜然牛肉夹馍 zī rán niú ròu jiá mò). The beef is stir fried or BBQd with cumin and mild green peppers. It is also given a bit of a kick with red chill flakes.
       
      Here is a recipe wrested from the owner of my Xi'an favourite. So simple, yet so delicious.
       

      Lean Beef
       
      Fairly lean beef is cut into slivers
       

      Chopped Beef (sorry about the picture quality - I don't know what happened)
       

      Chopped garlic
       
      I use this single clove garlic from Sichuan, but regular garlic does just fine.
       
      The beef and garlic are mixed in a bowl and generously sprinkled with ground cumin. This is then moistened with a little light soy sauce. You don't want to flood it. Set aside for as long as you can.
       

      Mild Green Chilli Pepper
       
      Take one or two mild green peppers and crush with the back of a knife, then slice roughly. You could de-seed if you prefer. I don't bother.
       

      Chopped Green Pepper
       
      Fire up the wok, add oil (I use rice bran oil) and stir fry the meat mixture until the meat is just done. 
       

      Frying Tonight
       
      Then add the green peppers and fry until they are as you prefer them. I tend to like them still with a bit of crunch, so slightly under-cook them
       

      In with the peppers
       
      You will, of course, have prepared the bread. The sandwiches are made with a type of flat bread known as 白吉饼 (bái jí bǐng; literally "white lucky cake-shape"). The ones here are store bought but I often make them. Recipe below.
       

      Bai Ji Bing
       
      Take one and split it. Test the seasoning of the filling, adding salt if necessary. It may not need it because of the soy sauce. 
       

      Nearly there
       
      Cover to make a sandwich  and enjoy. You will see that I have used a bunch of kitchen paper to hold the sandwich and to soak up any escaping juices. But it should be fairly dry.
       

      The final product.
       
      Note: I usually cook the meat and pepper in batches. Enough for one sandwich per person at a time. If we need another (and we usually do) I start the next batch. 
       
       
      Bread Recipe
       
       
      350g plain flour
      140ml water
      1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

      Mix the yeast with the flour and stir in the water. Continue stirring until a dough forms. Knead until smooth. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and leave to rise by about one third. (maybe 30-40 minutes).
       
      Knead again to remove any air then roll the dough into a log shape around 5cm in diameter, then cut into six portions. Press these into a circle shape using a rolling pin. You want to end up with 1.5cm thick buns. 
       
      Preheat oven to 190C/370F.
       
      Dry fry the buns in a skillet until they take on some colour about a minute or less on each side, then finish in the oven for ten minutes. Allow to cool before using.
    • By Chris Hennes
      I just got a copy of Grace Young's "Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge"—I enjoyed cooking from "Breath of a Wok" and wanted to continue on that path. Does anyone else have this book? Have you cooked anything from it?

      Here was dinner tonight:

      Spicy Dry-Fried Beef (p. 70)

      I undercooked the beef just a bit due to a waning propane supply (I use an outdoor propane-powered wok burner), but there's nothing to complain about here. It's a relatively mild dish that lets the flavors of the ingredients (and the wok) speak. Overall I liked it, at will probably make it again (hopefully with a full tank of gas).


    • By liuzhou
      We are all used to unami now. Maybe it's time to consider gan. Particularly found in teas, but also in other foods. An interesting article from a great magazine.
       
      Going, going gan
    • By liuzhou
      I’m an idiot. It’s official.
       
      A couple of weeks back, on another thread, the subject of celtuce and its leafing tops came up (somewhat off-topic). Someone said that the tops are difficult to find in Asian markets and I replied that I also find the tops difficult to find here in China. Nonsense. They are very easy to find. They just go under a completely different name from the stems – something which had slipped my very slippery mind.
       
      So, here on-topic is some celtuce space.
       
      First, for those who don’t know what celtuce is, let me say it is a variety of lettuce which looks nothing like a lettuce. It is very popular in southern mainland China and Taiwan. It is also known in English as stem lettuce, celery lettuce, asparagus lettuce, or Chinese lettuce. In Chinese it is 莴笋 wō sǔn or 莴苣 wō jù, although the latter can simply mean lettuce of any variety.

      Lactuca sativa var. asparagina is 'celtuce' for the technically minded.
       

       
      Those in the picture are about 40 cm (15.7 inches) long and have a maximum diameter of 5 cm (2 inches). The stems are usually peeled, sliced and used in various stir fries, although they can also be braised, roasted etc. The taste is somewhere between lettuce and celery, hence the name. The texture is more like the latter.
       
      The leafing tops are, as I said, sold separately and under a completely different name. They are 油麦菜 yóu mài cài.
       

       
      These taste similar to Romaine lettuce and can be eaten raw in salads. In Chinese cuisine,  they are usually briefly stir fried with garlic until they wilt and served as a green vegetable – sometimes with oyster sauce.
       
      If you can find either the stems or leaves in your Asian market, I strongly recommend giving them a try.
    • By Duvel
      “… and so it begins!”
       
      Welcome to “Tales from the Fragrant Harbour”!
      In the next couple of days I am hoping to take you to a little excursion to Hong Kong to explore the local food and food culture as well as maybe a little bit more about my personal culinary background. I hope I can give you a good impression of what life is like on this side of the globe and am looking very forward to answering questions, engaging in spirited discussions and just can share a bit of my everyday life with you. Before starting with the regular revealing shots of my fridge’s content and some more information on myself, I’d like to start this blog and a slightly different place.
      For today's night, I ‘d like to report back from Chiba city, close to Tokyo, Japan. It’s my last day of a three day business trip and it’s a special day here in Japan: “Doyou no ushi no hi”. The “midsummer day of the ox”, which is actually one of the earlier (successful) attempts of a clever marketing stunt.  As sales of the traditional winter dish “Unagi” (grilled eel with sweet soy sauce) plummeted in summer, a clever merchant took advantage of the folk tale that food items starting with the letter “U” (like ume = sour plum and uri = gourd) dispel the summer heat, so he introduced “Unagi” as a new dish best enjoyed on this day. It was successful, and even in the supermarkets the sell Unagi-Don and related foods. Of course, I could not resist to take advantage and requested tonight dinner featuring eel. Thnaks to our kind production plant colleagues, I had what I was craving …
      (of course the rest of the food was not half as bad)

      Todays suggestion: Unagi (grilled eel) and the fitting Sake !
       

      For starters: Seeweed (upper left), raw baby mackerel with ginger (upper right) and sea snails. I did not care for the algae, but the little fishes were very tasty.
       

      Sahimi: Sea bream, Tuna and clam ...
       

      Tempura: Shrimp, Okra, Cod and Mioga (young pickled ginger sprouts).
       

      Shioyaki Ayu: salt-grilled river fish. I like this one a lot. I particularly enjoy the fixed shape mimicking the swimming motion. The best was the tail fin
       

      Wagyu: "nuff said ...
       

      Gourd. With a kind of jellied Oden stock. Nice !
       

      Unagi with Sansho (mountain pepper)
       

      So, so good. Rich and fat and sweet and smoky. I could eat a looooot of that ...
       

      Chawan Mushi:steamed egg custard. A bit overcooked. My Japanese hosts very surprised when I told them that I find it to be cooked at to high temperatures (causing the custard to loose it's silkiness), but they agreed.
       

      Part of the experience was of course the Sake. I enjoyed it a lot but whether this is the one to augment the taste of the Unagi I could not tell ...
       

      More Unagi (hey it's only twice per year) ...
       

      Miso soup with clams ...
       

      Tiramisu.
       

      Outside view of the restaurant. Very casual!
      On the way home I enjoyed a local IPA. Craft beer is a big thing in Japan at the moment (as probably anywhere else in the world), so at 29 oC in front of the train station I had this. Very fruity …

       
      When I came back to the hotel, the turn down service had made my bed and placed a little Origami crane on my pillow. You just have to love this attention to detail.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×