Once again, the Daring Cooks choose a great project for us. Sarah from Simply Cooked was our November Daring Cooks’ hostess and she challenged us to create something truly unique in both taste and technique! We learned how to cook using tea with recipes from Tea Cookbook by Tonia George and The New Tea Book by Sara Perry.
I choose to make the Chinese Tea Eggs suggested, and Chicken Breasts with Tea and Lemon/Lime that I made up as I went along. I also tried using it in a stuffed pepper recipe but the other flavors were too strong so the tea just didn’t come through. The chicken worked wonderfully though and was moist and really delicious.
First I made the eggs following the recipe provided by Sarah here (with some great pictures):
Chinese Tea Eggs
Servings: 6 eggs
6 eggs (any size)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (6 gm) black tea leaves, or 4 tea bags
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (5 gm) Chinese five spice powder
1 tablespoon (5 ml) (3 gm) coarse grain salt
In a large enough pot to avoid overcrowding, cover the eggs with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer for twelve minutes.
Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and keep the cooking water.
With a spoon, tap the eggs all over until they are covered with small cracks. This can also be done by tapping and rolling the eggs very gently on the counter.
Return the eggs to the pan and add the tea leaves or bags, Chinese five spice powder, and salt. Cover the pan.
Heat gently and simmer, covered, for one hour.
Remove the pan from the heat and let the eggs cool down in the liquid for 30 minutes.
Remove the eggs from the liquid. Peel one egg to check how dark it is; the others can be returned to the liquid if you wish to have the web-like pattern darker. Allow the eggs to cool fully. (This is the part I should have paid more attention to as my eggs weren’t colored as much as I would have liked but as usual, my patience is sometimes lacking so I didn’t put them back. I have to admit I’m not a hard-cooked egg fan but the official taste tester aka husband who will try anything gave them the thumbs up.)
To serve, peel and slice the eggs in halves or quarters. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
Next I continued on using the boiled tea water to make the chicken:
Pot of Tea with Chinese Spice left from the eggs
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup sugar
4-6 chicken breasts
1/4-1/2 cup corn starch
1 tablespoon black tea
2 Tbs olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
Few fresh basil leaves
Add the salt and sugar to the tea/Chinese Spice mixture and marinate the chicken breasts (in the refrigerator) for 2 hours. If you are short on time you could double the salt and sugar and do 1 hour but I wanted the tea to have more time to infuse.
Remove the breasts from the tea brine and dry well with paper towels, then sprinkle well with the corn starch.
Heat the olive oil over high heat in a heavy pan (an iron skillet if you have one).
Add the chicken breasts, sprinkle with the tea and pepper and brown well.
Once they are well browned, turn down the heat to medium and add the lemon and lime cut in half turning them occasionally. The oils from the skins will infuse the olive oil adding a lot of flavor.
When the chicken is cooked to 165, remove it and set aside covering loosely with foil.
Remove the lemon/lime from the pan and carefully using a towel squeeze the juice into the pan and scrape up any browned bits. Add the butter and basil and stir until the sauce is smooth.
To serve, pour the sauce over the chicken.