At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

CHINESE TEA EGGS: 茶葉蛋 CHA YE DAN

Friends have probably discerned that I like crackly things, particularly porcelain glazes. Often I will yearn for an object ONLY because of its fine tracing of hairline fractures that form an elegantly webbed visual.
I've got some oft-repaired bowls which speak to me, as well as a few celadons. On casual ceramics, the crackled pattern may be accented by melting sooty oil into the surface over a flame. Antique pieces often already have such an effect, due to age.

It should not surprise you that I am also fond of tea eggs.

Tea eggs are a convenient snack as well as a much better choice for picnics than devilled eggs, plus they keep better and are far less likely to queasify your digestive organ.
A wise choice.

Easy to make also.


TEA EGGS: 茶葉蛋
['chaa yip daan']

Six eggs.
Four TBS good black tea.
Six TBS soysauce.
One or two pieces dried orange peel.
A slice of ginger.
Two or three star anise.
One stick cinnamon.
Two or three whole cloves.
One TBS sugar.
Pinch of salt.

Put eggs in a pot with barely enough water to cover, bring to a boil, then turn low and simmer for two or three minutes. Place the lid on the pot and let it stand for over ten minutes more; the residual heat will further cook the eggs.
Remove the eggs, and rinse in cold water till they can be handled.

Tap the eggs all over with the back of a spoon to crack the shells, and roll them around a bit without loosing any pieces. This will allow colour and flavour to penetrate, and yields a lovely patterning.

Place the eggs back in a pot, add the four cups or more of water plus the various other ingredients, and simmer for about four hours. Turn off heat, let it cool, then put it overnight in the refrigerator.

They can be eaten cold, but you could also gently warm them up first.


CHUEN JIT 春節

Tea eggs are quite common during the Spring Festival (note the clickable label underneath this post), as they can be eaten on the first day, when people do not cook, but they are also available throughout the year.


Please note that it is a good idea to keep an eye on the pot, and not go off to do something else in the meantime. Otherwise you might return to the kitchen to find a charred mess. Protein-rich substances, such as, for instance, eggs, smell rather frightful when burnt.
As I have discovered.


GLOSSARY

Eggs: 蛋 'daan'. Black tea: 紅茶 'hung chaa' (red tea); in Hong Kong cooks use Pu Erh (普洱茶 'pou nei chaa') or tuo cha (沱茶 'to chaa') instead for tea leaf egg. Soysauce: 豉油 'si yau'. Dried orange peel: 陳皮 'chan pei'. Ginger: 生薑 'saang geung' (fresh ginger). Star anise: 八角 'baat gok'. Cinnamon: 香桂 'heung gwai', 肉桂 'yiuk gwai'. Cloves: 丁香 'ding heung'. Sugar: 糖 'tong'. Salt: 鹽 'yim'.




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