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itch22

Tea Eggs

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Does anyone here fancy themself as a master of making tea eggs? I could use some advice. The recipe I have, from the Encyclopedia of Asian Cooking (published by Hermes House) calls for the eggs to be hardcooked in water, cracked all-over, and then simmiered in a mixture of soy sauce, water, star anise, and a few other items I cannot recall (here at work). The problem with this is, even though the eggs are only simmered and not boild the second time around, the yolk turns green from being overcooked. Do the flavours penetrate the egg if the liquid is not hot? Any alternative methods for making beautiful looking, and great tasting, tea eggs?

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As a chinese girl who grew up having tea eggs as treats, I never recall them being beautiful looking, they were always dark, wrinkly and green egg yolky.

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The tea eggs that I've always been eating is always kind of ugly. Although a couple years ago, I did read a article on tea eggs being sold in a stall in a famous tea producing region of China. They use fresh eggs and lately poach the eggs in tea, there is tea flavour but the eggs are still soft and light in color. Don't think these great tea eggs will ever make it out of the region............

If you are interested in Chinese eggs' preparation, I would recommend getting into a Shanghai restaurant and try their smoked eggs. The outside of the eggs are brown, but the yolk is a golden orange and runny.

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If you are interested in Chinese eggs' preparation, I would recommend getting into a Shanghai restaurant and try their smoked eggs. The outside of the eggs are brown, but the yolk is a golden orange and runny.

Those sound good.

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My coworkers from Shanghai gave me the following recipe:

Take a dozen eggs and hard boil them

Crack the shell with the back of a spoon to make pretty patterns. Don't crack too hard. Put soy sauce, salt, black tea and star anise in pot with water to cover the eggs. Simmer about 8 hours. Refrigerate in the brine. All amounts are to your personal taste.

Sometimes they would take a needle and poke it into the egg once it was boiled, to help the solution penetrate further.

My whites are usually flavored all the way through, and sometimes the yolks as well.

When I can figure out the image gullet again, I'll post a picture.

I love them and make them at least once a month. My preference is for a strong anise flavor.

Edited to add:

gallery_13890_279_1098562986.jpg


Edited by nessa (log)

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Yes, that is pretty much how I make them too. The 8 hours of simmering leaves the yolks, however, green, and I was wondering if their was a method to produce tea eggs with yellow yolks? I know BondGirl said traiditionally the yolks are green so there maybe no way to achieve the flavour of the traditional tea egg and have a yellow yolk.

Thanks for the adive though and your eggs do look delicious.

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A couple of comments:

It's probably dawned on you that tea is one of the ingredients for "tea eggs" that you forgot to list. It doesn't matter a lot, since the tea flavor is overpowered by the soy sauce and spicing, but I believe green tea is traditional rather than black tea. Also, 5-spice is often used instead of just star anise.

There's nothing more satisfying than grabbing a couple of hot tea eggs from a street vendor at the train station when you're rushing for a train at dawn on a chilly day!

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Sometimes they would take a needle and poke it into the egg once it was boiled, to help the solution penetrate further.

Does it mean they use a needle to inject the sauce into the egg yolk?

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It doesn't matter a lot, since the tea flavor is overpowered by the soy sauce and spicing, but I believe green tea is traditional rather than black tea.  Also, 5-spice is often used instead of just star anise.

I agree that the soy sauce and five spice overshadow the taste of tea leaves. However, I believe green tea is too "weak" to be used in making tea eggs. You need to use a strong flavor tea leave, such as Pu Er, to obtain the tea flavor.

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It doesn't matter a lot, since the tea flavor is overpowered by the soy sauce and spicing, but I believe green tea is traditional rather than black tea.  Also, 5-spice is often used instead of just star anise.

I agree that the soy sauce and five spice overshadow the taste of tea leaves. However, I believe green tea is too "weak" to be used in making tea eggs. You need to use a strong flavor tea leave, such as Pu Er, to obtain the tea flavor.

Maybe I'm being parochial here. My wife hails from green tea country, where people seldom even have black or red tea in the house. Also, I recall reading somewhere that tea eggs originated in Suzhou, and were originally made with biluochun tea.

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There is another way of making chicken eggs: salt-baked.

To make this dish, simply use a medium size dish (e.g. a cylindrical, 2 inch thick dish). Put the eggs in it, then fill in the space with rock salt. If not available, table salt is okay. Put the dish in a steamer and steam it for 30 minutes or so. The saltiness should infiltrate the egg shell into the egg. When serving, sprinkle a spice mix made with five spice powder and salt.

This is one of the Hong Kong street food that I missed.

Also, you can salt-bake chicken thighs. Simply wrap the chicken thighs (or drum sticks) individually with some parchment papers. Then put then in a dish and fill it up with salt. Steam it for 30 minutes or so.

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There is another way of making chicken eggs:  salt-baked. 

To make this dish, simply use a medium size dish (e.g. a cylindrical, 2 inch thick dish).  Put the eggs in it, then fill in the space with rock salt.  If not available, table salt is okay.  Put the dish in a steamer and steam it for 30 minutes or so.  The saltiness should infiltrate the egg shell into the egg.  When serving, sprinkle a spice mix made with five spice powder and salt.

This is one of the Hong Kong street food that I missed.

Also, you can salt-bake chicken thighs.  Simply wrap the chicken thighs (or drum sticks) individually with some parchment papers.  Then put then in a dish and fill it up with salt.  Steam it for 30 minutes or so.

Steamed? or baked?

yim gok dan? yim gok gai?

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Steamed?  or baked?

yim gok dan? yim gok gai?

Yeah. Yim Gok Dan (salt-baked egg). Yim Gok Gai (salt-baked chicken).

Steamed or baked? Well... the name of the food (in Chinese) said "baked". But it's really steamed. I would imagine you can bake it in the oven (eggs or chicken in a pan of salt). Just use very low heat (e.g. 300F) and bake them for an hour.

Nowadays, many restaurant "cheated". The salt-baked chicken is actually boiled (low heat) in a pot of brine with five spices. Taste pretty good too.

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Steamed? or baked?

yim gok dan? yim gok gai?

Yeah. Yim Gok Dan (salt-baked egg). Yim Gok Gai (salt-baked chicken).

Steamed or baked? Well... the name of the food (in Chinese) said "baked". But it's really steamed. I would imagine you can bake it in the oven (eggs or chicken in a pan of salt). Just use very low heat (e.g. 300F) and bake them for an hour.

Nowadays, many restaurant "cheated". The salt-baked chicken is actually boiled (low heat) in a pot of brine with five spices. Taste pretty good too.

[/quote

I am trying to visualize steaming eggs or chicken pieces laying in a bed of rock salt. I have an "egg -cooker" that steams eggs, soft or hard "boiled"., so it would be like that. The egg would taste salty all the way through, where as with an ordinary boiled egg, you would have to salt each bite? But you mentioned adding 5-spice and salt when you eat these? :huh:

Have you tried this at home? hzrt? Take a picture for me. :smile:

My Chinese students, in the past, have always made tea eggs as part of their international food fair. I'll have to ask for their "recipe". That could be their next writing assignment" Explanatory composition"! :laugh:

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For tea eggs - try cooking them long and low, sous-vide, with eggs and marinade sealed in the bags. 68C - or slightly less if you have no high risk diners - for about 1.5 hours to 2. Crack, chill overnight, then serve cold or warmed. Also, try straining the marinade, then reducing it to a syrup as a condiment. Or we could go the other way - and make essence of tea egg air. :biggrin: Please note that I have NOT made this yet, but it should work well.

BTW - in most big Chinese supermarkets now worldwide you can buy small packets of tea egg marinade ingredients.

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The egg would taste salty all the way through, where as with an ordinary boiled egg, you would have to salt each bite? But you mentioned adding 5-spice and salt when you eat these?  :huh:

Yes. Five spice powder mixed with table salt.

Some street vendors make quail eggs along with chicken eggs. Quail eggs are tastier. But is a lot of work peeling the shell from each egg. And when you pop it in your mouth, chew it for a few seconds, it's gone.

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Sometimes they would take a needle and poke it into the egg once it was boiled, to help the solution penetrate further.

Does it mean they use a needle to inject the sauce into the egg yolk?

No, they simply took a straight sewing pin and stuck it in so that it allowed a teeny bit of the solution to get in via capillary action


Edited by nessa (log)

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BTW - in most big Chinese supermarkets now worldwide you can buy small packets of tea egg marinade ingredients.

I agree. You can also buy many premixed sauces these days. Some are even specific to a dish! Mapo sauce (for Ma Po Tofu), Hai Nan Chicken sauce (for Hai Nan Chicken).

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I am sure there are a dozen ways to do them... and I'm not sure if there is a specific difference between the terms pickled and tea eggs. But I'm talking about the ones that you can find simmering in pots everywhere with a brown broth that I imagine is scented with star of anise and ///......

So what is the procedure? For some reason I can't find anything in egullet about this, and it is ubiquitous all around China

Thanks

Joel

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So what is the procedure? For some reason I can't find anything in egullet about this, and it is ubiquitous all around China

This shows how inadequate the Invision searching function is. Again, use Google advanced search capability with "egullet", "tea egg", "forums.egullet.org" as parameters, the result came up in seconds.

Full forum discussions are here:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=53960

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hzrt8w is right that the Invision search feature is pretty useless for this search, because it can't search for terms of 3 letters or less.

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Wow, great stuff. Thanks for the search help. Made the stuff tonight....

Though since returning home from China I have noticed that my Sichuan peppercorns taste like sawdust... So didn't use it as part of the five-spice powder this time around. Hmph.. I'm above the border though, can't be too hard to find some fresher stuff! :)

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hzrt8w is right that the Invision search feature is pretty useless for this search, because it can't search for terms of 3 letters or less.

This is a little off the food topic, but useful for the audience.

In a former life I had set up a web server for retrieval of technical documents. So I know a little bit about text indexing and searching technologies.

The issue is more than "can't search for terms of 3 letters or less", which by itself is detrimental to the Chinese forum discussions because lots of Chinese/English translations are 3 letters or 2. The issue is more on the general approach to providing the search functions.

Like most of the website search functions I have seen, Invision's search uses the "OR" algorithm. If you type in more than one word, all the words will be "OR" together to perform the search. This tends to return a result of thousands of threads every time, and thus makes the search function useless. For example, I typed in the terms "Kung Pao Chicken". Invision returns 32 pages, or 800 threads. Each thread contains either the term "chicken" or the term "kung". (Pao doesn't count because it has 3 letters.)

On the other hand, Google offers a much better control for the users. The most powerful feature is the "AND" and "Phrase" search. The "Phrase" search is very powerful in particular. When I type in "Kung Pao Chicken" as the phrase to search, it would only return threads that contain the words Kung Pao Chicken, in that order. Not just happen to have the words Kung and Pao and Chicken in the same document. (I wish Google would offer multiple phrase search instead just a single one... on well.) It retuns only 141 threads. The word "egullet" was used to focus the search only related to egullet discussions because Google indices hundreds of millions of pages on the Internet.

The more specific the searching criteria you come up with, the narrower the result you need to wade through. So when you do a search, just think of something that's as unique and as specific as possible. If you want to search for all my past postings, just type in "hzrt8w" and "egullet". :biggrin: Using such a unique login ID does have its advantage!

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[...]

Like most of the website search functions I have seen, Invision's search uses the "OR" algorithm.  If you type in more than one word, all the words will be "OR" together to perform the search.  This tends to return a result of thousands of threads every time, and thus makes the search function useless.  For example, I typed in the terms "Kung Pao Chicken".  Invision returns 32 pages, or 800 threads.  Each thread contains either the term "chicken" or the term "kung".  (Pao doesn't count because it has 3 letters.)[...]

Search for Kung +chicken.

But you're right, this is off-topic here, so if this line of discussion is to be continued, let's continue it elsewhere.

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