Simple Tea Egg Recipe

One of the many things I look forward to when visiting my motherland of Taiwan is the Tea Eggs that we buy as street food and at 7-Eleven. It may sound a bit odd to Americans that this oddly-colored hard-boiled egg is such a favorite among Asians. Tea Eggs are most popular in China and later adopted in Taiwan, though arguably has become one of the essentials in Taiwanese Breakfast cuisine. I will spare you the long history and paragraphs that go before many online recipes and cut right to how to make a simple Tea Egg recipe. From preparation to finish will take at least 3 hours but the steps are incredibly simple.

I will also offer some additional ingredients if you have to make it more aromatic and tasty:

What Type of Tea Should You Use?

The most inexpensive way is to use Lipton (or any brand) Black tea bags. For more flavorful Tea Eggs, I would recommend using Oolong Tea. Teabags or tea leaves both works. You can also use 3 parts Black Tea and mix it with any other aromatic tea you have laying around.

tea egg ingredients
These are the most popular Tea Egg Ingredients. Except use regular Soy Sauce.

Simple Tea Egg Ingredients:

  • 12 Eggs
  • 6 Black Tea Bags
  • 2 Star Anise
  • 3 cups of Water
  • 1/2 cup of Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons of Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon of Sugar

Optional Ingredients:

  • Five Spice Bag (or powder):
    • Though it would much tastier if you had the actual whole spices of:
      1. 1/2 teaspoon Fennel Seeds
      2. 5 Cloves
      3. 1/2 Cinnamon stick
      4. 1 teaspoon Black Peppercorn
      5. The 5th spice would be the Star Anise which I included above
      6. Cardamom
      7. 1 Bay Leaf
  • Orange Peel: Simply shave a piece of Orange skin off. This adds a tint of a fruity aroma to contrast with the rich salty and savory flavors.
  • 2 Slices of Ginger
taiwanese tea egg recipe
The color of the water should be brown, not too translucent. And it should taste saltier than you’d normal consume but not unbareably salty.

Simple Steps to Cooking Tea Eggs

Boil the Eggs & Crack them (30 minutes prep)

  1. Boil the eggs in a pot.
    • I simply put them covered in water, turn up the heat to high. Once it boils for 3 minutes, I turn off the heat.
  2. 10 minutes later, pour the eggs into a colander.
    • I would use a pot under the colander to save the water for reuse.
  3. Time to Crack the Eggs! Gently crack each egg and roll them on all sides so that there are slight cracks.

Boil the Eggs in its Tea, Soy Sauce & Spice Marinade (2-3 hours)

4. Put the eggs and all the ingredients into a large pot. Bring to boil and then reduce to the lowest setting simmer for at least 2 hours. (Taste the seasoned water and make sure that it is saltier than you’d consume, but not unbearably salty)

simple tea egg recipe
After 3 hours, a house that smells of comfort.. your Simple Tea Egg is done. Voila!


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