Friday, February 12, 2010
To commemorate the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Tiger, I prepared a simple, traditional Chinese New Year Food, called the Chinese Tea Egg. Fragrant and flavorful tea eggs are a typical Chinese treat. The recipe involves soaking the eggs in a mixture of soy sauce, dark tea, orange peels and a variety of spices. The beautiful fragrant smell during the lengthy seeping process filled my Park Slope condo with a lovely aroma. The end result is eggs that have a lovely, quaint marbled appearance due to cracks in the hard boiled eggs where the fragrant tea-soy mixture absorbs into the albumin of the egg. Smaller, more intricate cracks result in more detailed marbling when the egg is peeled. For best results, the eggs should be allowed to be seeped for two days. I wasn't that patient, so I seeped for about five hours, which resulted in a beautifully marbled egg, but only a hint of the fragrant flavor.
Chinese tea eggs have a symbolic significance in China, and are often made for the Chinese New Year. Not surprisingly, the egg is a symbol of fertility in Chinese culture, as it is in many other cultures. In addition, the tea egg is also considered a symbol of prosperity and wealth. Sounds good to me. I figured that this would be a nice fragrant and simple recipe to try out.
Chinese Tea Eggs (recipe derived from Appetite For China Website)
2 T dark tea
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
2 medium sized pieces of orange peel
First, cover the eggs with water and bring to a boil. Then simmer for three minutes. Then remove the eggs and allow to cool a bit before cracking the eggs evenly around the surface with a spoon. Put eggs back in the water, and add the spices, soy sauce and tea. Simmer on low for three hours. If you want a stronger flavor and have more patience for this project than I had, allow to seep overnight (you would certainly need to do this off the stove though, as I don't know anyone crazy enough to leave their burner on overnight!)
I made some other delicious recipes for dinner tonight - a new crab cake recipe and a very special fruit glazed creme brulee. I'll post on them tomorrow during the day, since I plan to have a Valentine's Day Eve night out tomorrow night with my husband.
For some more complete and filling Chinese recipes from Michelle, check out her exploration of Fuschia Dunlop's cooking with Fragrant Fish Eggplants and Dan Dan Noodles.
Back to watching the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics, the Olympics-junkie that I am.