Today marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year, normally celebrated in Asian countries with family dinners, fireworks, paying respects to ancestors, and a month off work. This year is the Year of the Sheep, known for its gentleness, calmness and thoughtfulness. There are numerous foods that are eaten during the New Year that symbolize good luck and fortune, including sticky rice cake, steamed whole fish and dumplings, but we wanted to share one that is easy to make and great as a breakfast, snack or appetizer, plus it’s super healthy: Chinese Tea Eggs. We’ve adapted this recipe from Use Real Butter. There is a lot of soaking time involved (we recommend you start a day ahead), but that is really just to get the maximum flavor infused into your eggs. We hope you enjoy both the unique flavor and look of the eggs once they’re finished! Happy New Year!!
2 quarts cold water
3 tbsp loose black tea (or 3 tea bags)
3 tbsp soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari for gluten-free)
2 tsp Chinese five spice (you can find this at most Asian grocery stores)
2 whole star anise
1 stalk green onion, tied in a knot
1 thumb-size slice of ginger
1) Place the eggs in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes. Drain off the hot water and rinse the eggs in cold water.
2) When the eggs are cooled, crack the shells all around on a hard surface (counter top or use the flat of a heavy knife), but leave the shells on the eggs.
3) Place the eggs back in the medium saucepan with the 2 quarts of cold water, black tea, soy sauce, Chinese five spice, star anise, green onion, and ginger. Bring the contents to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Let the eggs simmer covered for two hours.
4) Remove the pot from the heat and let the eggs cool completely in the liquid. Then put the pot in the fridge overnight (or 8 hours) so that the eggs can further absorb the flavors.
The eggs can be served hot or cold. If serving hot, heat the eggs back up in the same pot with your spice mixture. You can then peel and slice the eggs, or just serve them with the shells on for a surprise factor when your guests unpeel the eggs and see the marbly pattern the sauce made on the egg whites.