My cousin from Hong Kong saw my post on Chinese tea eggs. It inspired her to make her own batch. Some of her ingredients surprised me. Here Oic Yan shares photographs of her handiwork.
Coriander and Parsley?
Like me, Oic Yan used tea leaves, soy sauce and anise. While I used a cinnamon stick or two, she used cinnamon powder.
However, I didn’t expect these ingredients — brown sugar, black pepper, coriander, origan and parsley. Whenever I hear parsley, I think of Italian food, not Chinese tea eggs
My cousin added sun-dried tangerine peel (陳皮, “chun pei”), an ingredient treasured by Chinese cooks.
While I used Lipton tea bags, Oic Yan tossed in a handful of tea leaves.
Oic Yan added salt as well. Isn’t soy sauce more than salty enough? However, I’m not going to question her authority. She’ my older cousin!
Hot or Cold Tea Eggs?
I steep my eggs in the refrigerator overnight, but Oic Yan likes hers hot. Street vendors tend to serve the eggs straight from the cooking vat.
Below are two of Oic Yan’s Chinese tea eggs! I like the marbling.
Some cooks measure all their ingredients, down to the last ¼ teaspoon. Oic Yan, however, added everything in “random portion” for this batch of tea eggs. She used whatever she could get her hands on in the kitchen.
My mom cooks like that, too. She improvises like a heavy metal musician playing a guitar solo. Whenever I ask her for a recipe for something she made, she says she doesn’t really have one. It’s all made on the go.
- Some tea-egg recipes call for Szechuan peppercorns (花椒, “fa jui”). They produce a “numbing spicy” sensation (麻辣, “ma la”) characteristic of Szechuan cuisine.