A few weeks ago, I answered Pat’s plea for recipe testers for her new “Asian Grandmothers Cookbook“. Her recipes are generally quite meat focused, but I admire her commitment to honoring traditional Asian cooking. I was chomping at the bit to try out these wondrous marbled tea eggs. Her recipe was simple and easy to follow and infused the kitchen with the aroma of star anise.
Tea eggs are are a staple convenience and street food throughout China, Taiwan and Hong Kong with regional variations. I find it endlessly interesting to learn about fast food in other cultures. With the prevalence of burgers, chicken nuggets (what part is the nugget exactly?), and french fries in the US, we really got shafted in the convenience food department. Asia has many variations of noodle and rice bowls, often heaped with veggies; there’s wraps and gyros in Greece; and quesadillas, fresh mango with lime, and corn on the cob in Mexico. As long as you choose the vendor wisely, (to avoid tummy trouble) other cultures have infinitely more interesting and healthy street food than we do.
Different tea egg recipes call for white or black tea, but green tends to be too bitter. Some of the spices in Chinese Five Spice are common as well. The marbled effect comes from hard boiling the eggs first, then cracking them, and steeping them in the tea and spice concoction. Cynthe, my mother-in-law, pointed out that the marbling reminded her of spider webs, so maybe this could be an entertaining dish for a Halloween party. I think it would be fun to experiment for Easter as well.
Plus, not only do they look cool, they are quite delicious. I like hard boiled eggs, but they get boring by the second or third one (unless you turn them into deviled eggs, of course). But these already have tons of flavor infused into them. Great for a quick snack, chopped onto a salad, or whatever else strikes you. It was fun to make them and watch their progress, and I figure I’m banking some good karma. Who knows, I might put together a cookbook and need my very own recipe testers one day.