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 a free account.

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?

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)
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.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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

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:

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!

@MadameHuang & madamehuang.com & ZesterDaily.com

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)
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.

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.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Similar Content

    • By liuzhou
      China's favorite urinating “tea pet” is actually a thermometer.
    • By liuzhou
      Beef with Bitter Melon - 牛肉苦瓜
       

       
      The name may be off-putting to many people, but Chinese people do have an appreciation for bitter tastes and anyway, modern cultivars of this gourd are less bitter than in the past. Also, depending on how it's cooked, the bitterness can be mitigated.
       
      I'll admit that I wasn't sure at first, but have grown to love it.

      Note: "Beef with Bitter Melon (牛肉苦瓜 )" or "Bitter Melon with Beef (苦瓜牛肉)"? One Liuzhou restaurant I know has both on its menu! In Chinese, the ingredient listed first is the one there is most of, so, "beef with bitter melon" is mainly beef, whereas "bitter melon with beef" is much more a vegetable dish with just a little beef. This recipe is for the beefier version. To make the other version, just half the amount of beef and double the amount of melon.

      Ingredients

      Beef. One pound. Flank steak works best. Slice thinly against the grain.

      Bitter Melon. Half a melon. You can use the other half in a soup or other dish. Often available in Indian markets or supermarkets.
       

       
      Salted Black Beans. One tablespoon. Available in packets from Asian markets and supermarkets, these are salted, fermented black soy beans. They are used as the basis for 'black bean sauce', but we are going to be making our own sauce!

      Garlic. 6 cloves

      Cooking oil. Any vegetable oil except olive oil

      Shaoxing wine. See method

      Light soy sauce. One tablespoon

      Dark soy sauce. One teaspoon

      White pepper. See method

      Sesame oil. See method

      Method

      Marinate the beef in a 1/2 tablespoon of light soy sauce with a splash of Shaoxing wine along with a teaspoon or so of cornstarch or similar (I use potato starch). Stir well and leave for 15-30 minutes.

      Cut the melon(s) in half lengthwise and, using a teaspoon, scrape out all the seeds and pith. The more pith you remove, the less bitter the dish will be. Cut the melon into crescents about 1/8th inch wide.

      Rinse the black beans and drain. Crush them with the blade of your knife, then chop finely. Finely chop the garlic.

      Stir fry the meat in a tablespoon of oil over a high heat until done. This should take less than a minute. Remove and set aside.

      Add another tablespoon of oil and reduce heat to medium. fry the garlic and black beans until fragrant then add the bitter melon. Continue frying until the melon softens. then add a tablespoon of Shaoxing wine and soy sauces. Finally sprinkle on white pepper to taste along with a splash of sesame oil. Return the meat to the pan and mix everything well.

      Note: If you prefer the dish more saucy, you can add a tablespoon or so of water with the soy sauces.

      Serve with plained rice and a stir-fried green vegetable of choice.
       
    • By liuzhou
      Stir-fried Squid with Snow Peas - 荷兰豆鱿鱼
       

       
      Another popular restaurant dish that can easily be made at home. The only difficult part (and it's really not that difficult) is preparing the squid. However, your seafood purveyor should be able to do that for you. I have given details below.

      Ingredients

      Fresh squid. I tend to prefer the smaller squid in which case I allow one or two squid per person, depending on what other dishes I'm serving. You could use whole frozen squid if fresh is unavailable. Certainly not dried squid.

      Snow peas aka Mange Tout. Sugar snap peas can also be used. The final dish should be around 50% squid and 50% peas, so an amount roughly equivalent to the squid in bulk is what you are looking for. De-string if necessary and cut in half width-wise.

      Cooking oil. I use rice bran oil, but any vegetable cooking oil is fine. Not olive oil, though.

      Garlic.  I prefer this dish to be rather garlicky so I use one clove or more per squid. Adjust to your preference.

      Ginger. An amount equivalent to that of garlic.

      Red Chile. One or two small hot red chiles.

      Shaoxing wine. See method. Note: Unlike elsewhere, Shaoxing wine sold in N. America is salted. So, cut back on adding salt if using American sourced Shaoxing.

      Oyster sauce

      Sesame oil (optional)

      Salt

      Preparing the squid

      The squid should be cleaned and the tentacles and innards pulled out and set aside while you deal with the tubular body. Remove the internal cartilage / bone along with any remaining innards. With a sharp knife remove the "wings" then slit open the tube by sliding your knife inside and cutting down one side. Open out the now butterflied body. Remove the reddish skin (It is edible, but removing it makes for a nicer presentation. It peels off easily.) Again, using the sharp knife cut score marks on the inside at 1/8th of an inch intervals being careful not to cut all the way through. Then repeat at right angles to the original scoring, to give a cross-hatch effect. Do the same to the squid wings. Cut the body into rectangles roughly the size of a large postage stamp.
       

       
      Separate the tentacles from the innards by feeling for the beak, a hard growth just above the tentacles and at the start of the animal's digestive tract. Dispose of all but the tentacles. If they are long, half them.

      Wash all the squid meat again.

      Method

      There are only two ways to cook squid and have it remain edible. Long slow cooking (an hour or more) or very rapid (a few seconds) then served immediately. Anything else and you'll be chewing on rubber. So that is why I am stir frying it. Few restaurants get this right, so I mainly eat it at home.

      Heat your wok and add oil. Have a cup of water to the side. Add the garlic, ginger and chile. Should you think it's about to burn, throw in a little of that water. It will evaporate almost immediately but slow down some of the heat.
       
      As soon as you can smell the fragrance of the garlic and ginger, add the peas and salt and toss until the peas are nearly cooked (Try a piece to see!). Almost finally, add the squid with a tablespoon of the Shaoxing and about the same of oyster sauce. Do not attempt to add the oyster sauce straight from the bottle. The chances of the whole bottle emptying into your dinner is high! Believe me. I've been there!

      The squid will curl up and turn opaque in seconds. It's cooked. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of so of sesame oil (if used) and serve immediately!
       
    • By liuzhou
      An eG member recently asked me by private message about mushrooms in China, so I thought I'd share some information here.
      What follows is basically extracted from my blog and describes what is available in the markets and supermarkets in the winter months - i.e now.
       
      FRESH FUNGI
       
      December sees the arrival of what most westerners deem to be the standard mushroom – the button mushroom (小蘑菇 xiǎo mó gū). Unlike in the west where they are available year round, here they only appear when in season, which is now. The season is relatively short, so I get stuck in.
       

       
      The standard mushroom for the locals is the one known in the west by its Japanese name, shiitake. They are available year round in the dried form, but for much of the year as fresh mushrooms. Known in Chinese as 香菇 (xiāng gū), which literally means “tasty mushroom”, these meaty babies are used in many dishes ranging from stir fries to hot pots.
       

       
      Second most common are the many varieties of oyster mushroom. The name comes from the majority of the species’ supposed resemblance to oysters, but as we are about to see the resemblance ain’t necessarily so.
       

       
      The picture above is of the common oyster mushroom, but the local shops aren’t common, so they have a couple of other similar but different varieties.
       
      Pleurotus geesteranus, 秀珍菇 (xiù zhēn gū) (below) are a particularly delicate version of the oyster mushroom family and usually used in soups and hot pots.
       

       
      凤尾菇 (fèng wěi gū), literally “Phoenix tail mushroom”, is a more robust, meaty variety which is more suitable for stir frying.
       

       
      Another member of the pleurotus family bears little resemblance to its cousins and even less to an oyster. This is pleurotus eryngii, known variously as king oyster mushroom, king trumpet mushroom or French horn mushroom or, in Chinese 杏鲍菇 (xìng bào gū). It is considerably larger and has little flavour or aroma when raw. When cooked, it develops typical mushroom flavours. This is one for longer cooking in hot pots or stews.
       

       
      One of my favourites, certainly for appearance are the clusters of shimeji mushrooms. Sometimes known in English as “brown beech mushrooms’ and in Chinese as 真姬菇 zhēn jī gū or 玉皇菇 yù huáng gū, these mushrooms should not be eaten raw as they have an unpleasantly bitter taste. This, however, largely disappears when they are cooked. They are used in stir fries and with seafood. Also, they can be used in soups and stews. When cooked alone, shimeji mushrooms can be sautéed whole, including the stem or stalk. There is also a white variety which is sometimes called 白玉 菇 bái yù gū.
       

       

       
      Next up we have the needle mushrooms. Known in Japanese as enoki, these are tiny headed, long stemmed mushrooms which come in two varieties – gold (金針菇 jīn zhēn gū) and silver (银针菇 yín zhēn gū)). They are very delicate, both in appearance and taste, and are usually added to hot pots.
       

       

       
      Then we have these fellows – tea tree mushrooms (茶树菇 chá shù gū). These I like. They take a bit of cooking as the stems are quite tough, so they are mainly used in stews and soups. But their meaty texture and distinct taste is excellent. These are also available dried.
       

       
      Then there are the delightfully named 鸡腿菇 jī tuǐ gū or “chicken leg mushrooms”. These are known in English as "shaggy ink caps". Only the very young, still white mushrooms are eaten, as mature specimens have a tendency to auto-deliquesce very rapidly, turning to black ‘ink’, hence the English name.
       

       
      Not in season now, but while I’m here, let me mention a couple of other mushrooms often found in the supermarkets. First, straw mushrooms (草菇 cǎo gū). Usually only found canned in western countries, they are available here fresh in the summer months. These are another favourite – usually braised with soy sauce – delicious! When out of season, they are also available canned here.
       

       
      Then there are the curiously named Pig Stomach Mushrooms (猪肚菇 zhū dù gū). These are another favourite. They make a lovely mushroom omelette. Also, a summer find.
       

       
      And finally, not a mushroom, but certainly a fungus and available fresh is the wood ear (木耳 mù ěr). It tastes of almost nothing, but is prized in Chinese cuisine for its crunchy texture. More usually sold dried, it is available fresh in the supermarkets now.
       

       
      Please note that where I have given Chinese names, these are the names most commonly around this part of China, but many variations do exist.
       
      Coming up next - the dried varieties available.
    • By liuzhou
      It is possibly not well-known that China has some wonderful hams, up there with the best that Spain can offer. This lack of wide knowledge, at least in the USA, is mainly down to regulations forbidding their importation. However, for travellers to China and those in  places with less restrictive policies, here are some of the best.
       
      This article from the WSJ is a good introduction to one of the best - Xuanwei Ham 宣威火腿  (xuān wēi huǒ tuǐ) from Yunnan province.
      This Ingredient Makes Everything Better
      I can usually obtain Xuanwei ham here around the Chinese New Year/Spring Festival, but I also have a good friend who lives in Yunnan who sends me regular supplies. The article compares it very favourably with jamon iberico, a sentiment with which I heartily agree.



      Xuanwei Ham
       

      Xuanwei Ham
       
      more coming soon.
       
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...