A few years back when my family and I visited Malaysia we stayed near the popular China Town. Malaysia has a rich culture and also is home to many others such as a large Chinese community. It was really interesting to get to learn so much about so many things at one time and that is why Malaysia will always be one of my favorite places to go. One day while we were about to board the metro I noticed a Chinese lady selling something that I had never seen. It was dark brown liquid filled with beautiful marbled eggs. Come to find out they were Chinese Tea eggs.
The liquid is a mixture of soy sauce, black tea and spices. The eggs are boiled, cracked and soaked in the mixture and when you peel them they are just gorgeous. Maybe you’re already thinking yuck tea eggs! Well, I had never had eggs myself for anything other than breakfast before moving to Saudi. And as you all have noticed on my blogs boiled eggs are served with the dishes here such as kabsa, and they go perfect together. Eggs are used a lot in Asian cooking as well. When we were in Indonesia I was quickly taught that they add a fried egg on top of almost everything and I loved it.
These tea eggs are perfect with some Chinese roasted chicken and rice. Over the years I have realized that you cannot write off a new food because you have never tried it. We miss lots of great opportunities in life that way. As they say you should at least try it once. If I had never tried anything at least once then this site probably would not even be here. Try the tea eggs, they are fabulous.
3 teaspoons black tea
1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1. In a saucepan add eggs and 1 teaspoon salt; cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and cool. When cool, tap eggs with the back of a spoon to crack shells (do not remove shells) and use a needle to poke several times to help marinade the inside.
2. Drain eggs ans soak in cold water. Meanwhile, make the tea mixture. In a small saucepan add enough water to cover eggs (about 3-4 cups), bring to a boil then reduce to simmer. Add tea, sugar, soy, cinnamon and anise and allow to steep for 10 minutes.
2. In a bowl add tea mixture, spices and carefully placed boiled eggs. Cover and allow to marinade for a few hours then over bowl and place in the refrigerator over night.
Yields: 2 servings
When I first started this blog it was a way to document my learning experiences as I attempted to make Saudi dishes for my new husband. Later it became a journal of life in Saudi and my experiences with food for others in my shoes and now that I am a mom, I see it as a way to document food history for Saudis children. As you all already know I am the only blogger writing about Saudi cuisine and without other online sources documenting this amazing food and as young people grow up making new dishes and not learning about the past a lot of history is being forgotten and looked over. I hope that this blog can change that in some way.
I am always asking, learning and looking around for tips, recipes and remedies from the past just for this site and for that very reason. Spices are a really big deal in Saudi and as much as I loved them before I came here I have since found many new ones. Spices are not only used in cooking here, but also as medicines long before pharmacies and doctors were around this is what families turned to, many still do.
When you think of tea of course you think of some sort of drink that has been made with actual tea leaves (I know I do) well here a tea can be just hot water steeped with spices. These kinds of drinks are cures for many sicknesses and the recipe I am posting today is one of these as well. Since I started making this very tea for sore throats I have not stopped. It is magical making your throat feel better almost immediately and pretty much curing it soon after. What’s the secret ingredient you ask well everything. The spices known throughout the country (and a few other Gulf ones) to be a sore throat cure are cloves, ginger, honey, lemon, myrrh, petroleum (vicks) and sage.
Here are some remedies used through the years:
1 lemon slice
Honey to taste
1. In a cup, add hot water, mint, lemon slice and cloves. Allow to steep for at least 5 minutes, remove cloves, then add honey to taste, stir and drink.
Yields: 1 cup
The first time I tried cardamom tea was seven years ago on the first day of my Arabic lesson at a Yemeni woman’s house whom I had found through the local mosque. This was also the first time that I had tried cardamom and the beginning of my love for the fragrant spice. Green cardamoms are popular throughout the Middle East and are even used as medical aides throughout Saudi Arabia. Cardamom is one of the most expensive spices in the world due to the fact that each individual fruit pod containing the seed spice must be harvested from its flower stalks by hand. I remember in the states it cost $20 for a bottle of cardamom at Wal-Mart (that would be sr75 wow) but thank goodness its much cheaper here.
4 cups water
2 teaspoons loose black tea (or 4 tea bags)
4 green cardamom pods
1. Using a mortar and pestle lightly crush the cardamom pods. Place loose tea in a heat proof tea pot and add water. Add the cardamom and bring water to boil.
2. Remove from heat and allow to steep for at least 5 minutes. Bring mixture to boil again, then strain and serve.