My mother, Betty, celebrated as many cultural festival days as she knew about…she did this before we had such enormous access to information via the world wide web. She attempted foods from other cultures often – and quite successfully…she had a knack and intuition about what went together to make a dish shine. We celebrated Bastille, St. Valentine, St. Patrick, Cinco de Mayo, all U.S. holidays (including cherry pie on Washington’s birthday) and at least a dozen family days with special menus from her. She loved Chinese foods and, if alive today, she’d be preparing something to celebrate China’s Spring Festival later this week.
The Spring Festival (Chinese Lunar New Year) of 2014 falls on January 31. The public holiday starts from January 31 to February 6. It is the Year of the Horse. This festival is considered the most important of the year. Below is the step-by-step process for making China’s famous marbled tea eggs…I just finished consuming my last one from the batch I prepared last week. The sweet scent and flavor from the star anise and cinnamon stick balance beautifully with the savory soy and Chinese black tea…the yin and yang are in sync.
Marbled Tea Egg Recipe (From Tea With Betty: A Tea Manual):
Makes 12 eggs.
PREP TIME: 20 minutes TOTAL TIME: 8 hours 20 minutes (includes soaking time)
12 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
3 tablespoons loose Chinese black tea or other black tea (Earl Grey or smoky Russian Caravan)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
Boil eggs 15 minutes over low heat. Cool in the cooking water. Drain the eggs and tap shells all over with the back of a spoon until each shell is covered with a web of cracks.
Return eggs to the pan, cover with cold water, add salt, soy sauce, star anise, cinnamon sticks, tea.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer very slowly for approximately 2 hours.
Remove from heat, let cool in the pan with the liquid, then cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
When ready to serve, remove eggs from liquid, peel, cut eggs crosswise, and serve.
They will be beautifully marbled looking.
Serve chilled, with small bowls of the cooking liquid and coarse salt or slice and serve on soft white bread with mayonnaise.
Making these marbled eggs is truly as easy as boiling water…the fragrance wafting through the house when they are slowly simmering is delightful. The end result is a healthy, beautiful product. Enjoy with a cup of green tea or an oolong.
Drink tea! It’s good for you 🙂