One of my favorite traditional Chinese food is Herbal Tea Egg. We used to buy the herbs from traditional Chinese Herbal Shop where the shopkeeper mix all the varieties of spices together wrapped in paper.
Today, they are beautifully pre-packed and easily available from Chinese Supermarkets.
Cooking tea egg is a very simple process. I cook mine in a slow cooker on low for at least 8 hours or overnight. After at least four hours (or later), remember to take out the eggs and crack them (just gently tap twice on a chopping board) and return them to cook in the slow cooker. The spices will then sip inside the egg and create darkened lines giving the egg a marble-like pattern.
So the first step is to put in the herbs (some come loose or in a sachet).
Optional: I add in tea leaves (or two teabags) for extra flavor. Add in a tablespoon of black soy sauce (or a dash of salt).
Wash the eggs and put in the eggs and then add boiling water to just cover the eggs and leave them to cook in the slow cooker.
The longer the cooking time, the more tasty the eggs will be but generally cooking low on slow cooker require at least 8 hours for the herbs to get into the eggs and cracking at 4 hours (or a bit later is fine) but do not forget this step. Make sure the water does not dry up. If you are not in a hurry, my suggestion is to cook for 8 to 14 hours. If you are in a rush, you can cook in a pot or a multi-cooker (instead of a slow cooker) and you could have them cooked in a couple of hours.
When the eggs are done, remove them from the slow cooker.
Today, instead of wasting and throwing away the herbal soup, I used it to cook lentils mixed with brown rice.
I created this dish called Tea Egg Lentils to be eaten as a meal with the tea eggs.
1 cup of green lentils
1 cup of brown rice
Leftover soup after cooking herbal tea egg
Grated Orange/Lemon/Grapefruit skin or peels
A tablespoon of sesame oil
A tablespoon of dark soy sauce
A tablespoon of brown or raw sugar
4 cups of water (including the leftover herbal tea soup)
Wash the lentils and brown rice. Put all ingredients in the rice cooker and press cook. At the end of the cooking, taste and make sure the lentils are well cooked. If not, pour in more boiling water and stir the lentils/rice so they will not stick to the bottom of the rice cooker. Press cook further and you will enjoy a healthy meal.