One of the most evocative aromas associated with the Chinese convenience stores in Malaysian shopping malls is the scent of tea eggs being cooked in a rice cooker. Strangely enough this popular snack cannot be found as street food or local cafes. It is fully and truly the monopoly of these stores who also sell other Chinese herbs and dried foodstuffs. Some people are convinced of the health benefits of these eggs and will go to the trouble of taking one a day like the sinseh (traditional Chinese doctor) ordered.
“Prescriptions” aside, one must say that these eggs are delectable and they really do taste great on their own especially when they are piping hot from the pot. Even Ro-Jiro who is normally adverse to all things herbal took an instant liking to these eggs when dipped in soy sauce. These eggs can also be dipped in the tea brew itself. Like other Chinese herbal stews, this snack is particularly good in cold weather and helps to warm up the body.
By happy coincidence, when searching for an Easter post I suddenly remembered these eggs. The nice thing about these eggs are the pattern that one can achieve by simply cracking the egg shell after it has been cooked the first time and then letting it simmer in the tea brew. It has almost the same effect as tie-and-dye effect. The dark tea seeps through the cracks to stain the egg white. The longer the eggs are simmered in the brew, the more pronounced the stain and the stronger the flavor.
- 6 large eggs
- 2 tea bags
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 2 star anise
- ¼ tsp peppercorn, crushed
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce
Place eggs in a medium sized pot with enough water to cover the eggs. Bring water to a boil, then lower the heat and allow eggs to cook for 10 minutes.
Remove eggs with a slotted spoon. Cool them under running water. Tap each egg on the counter gently to create cracks evenly around the egg. Return the eggs to the pot.
Place the rest of the ingredients in the pot. Bring the liquid back to a boil, then lower heat, and allow it to simmer for 1½ hours.
Turn off heat and let eggs sit in the hot liquid until ready to be served. Left over eggs may be kept in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
Tomorrow is Easter Sunday and Christians the world over get together to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is indeed a joyous occasion in the Christian calendar.
Have a Blessed Easter!