Tea Egg Poppers

I decided to make some tea eggs using quail eggs because, well, I love miniature food.

Raw eggs
Quail eggs are easy to find – back when I was a grad student, I would go to UC Davis meat lab and get a flat of 30 or so for $3 or $4. Now I just go to Ranch 99.

Cracked slightly
You start off by boiling the eggs whole (in clear water or the broth) until they’re somewhat solid enough to crack. Cracking will create the marbled look.

Once they’re cracked, simmer them in a broth of tea leaves (I like using black teas, like oolong), salt, star anise, cloves, coriander seeds (pretty much the solid versions of the ingredients in 5-spice powder), a bit of sugar. You can add soy sauce to make is really dark and murky. I like to add spicy peppers to the mixture too, but didn’t this time because there would be kids eating them. I like to simmer the eggs for a few hours and then let them sit and cool in the goop for another few hours.

Why we crack the egg
Wish I had a chicken egg here to show how tiny and cute quail eggs are, but maybe the star anise can provide a size reference.

For variation, you can use leftover broth from beef noodle soup or five spice beef and leave out the tea. Add more salt/pepper, etc to taste.