With the Lunar New Year coming, I thought it would be a nice time to try out cha dan – tea eggs, a snack my mom would make for us when I was a kid. To make these awesome eggs, you hard boil a bunch of eggs, then crack the shells with the back of the spoon. The cracked eggs then get put back in the water with soy sauce, tea, and other spices added in, then boiled for a few more hours and left to absorb flavor overnight. Tea eggs end up with a really nice marbled design from where the dark broth is stained on the egg white. The flavor ends up being whatever went in the broth, and is absorbed throughout the egg, so they usually don’t need any other sort of topping.
No waffle iron for this one, but I also have a bunch of waffling to come in the future!
Chinese Marbled Tea Eggs:
3/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon of black tea or 1 tea bag
2 tsp cinnamon
2 star anise
2 strips of dried tangerine or mandarin orange peel (optional – I didn’t use them here, but some people like to add them for a bit of citrusy flavor)
*Note – I usually replace one of the star anise with a tsp of cumin, but honestly, the spices are completely up to personal taste!
1) Hard boil the eggs – I usually fill the pot with enough water to just cover the eggs.
2) Remove and let cool so that they aren’t too hot to handle.
3) Use the back of a teaspoon to tap the eggshell and crack it all over (The more cracks you have, the more intricate the design will be!). Be sure to keep the shell attached to the egg itself!
4) Return the eggs to the pot with the boiled water and add the soy sauce, spices, and orange peel.
5) Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the eggs steep anywhere from 3 hours to overnight. The longer you steep, the darker the marbling will appear and the more flavorful the eggs will be!
I remember my favorite way of eating these was just mashing them up in a bowl of white rice. Oh, simple childhood pleasures!