Super Chef, Mother, now Italy dweller, previously raised in cultural Hong Kong shares her favorite Tea Egg Recipe and music that inspires her.
6-8 eggs (up to 12 if you wish)
2 tbsp black tea leaves (I use pu-er tea)
120 ml/ 1/2 cup soya sauce
2 star anise
2 pieces of dried orange peel (optional)
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp brown sugar
1. Put the eggs into a pot of cold water and boil for 10-12 minutes on a medium heat.
2. Drain the eggs, soak them in cold water, and gently tap on all sides of the eggs with the back of a spoon. You want to crack them gently, so be careful not to tap too hard. This technique will allow the tea mixture to create the marble effect on the eggs as well as flavouring them.
3. In a pot add 950 ml/ 4 cups of water and all the recipe ingredients, including the cracked eggs. Bring to a boil, turn the heat to low and leave to simmer for 2 hours. Leave to cool in the tea mixture. You can let them soak in the mixture overnight to get more intensity in the flavours if you wish.
YALI: What memories does this recipe incite for you?
MIMI: The aroma of tea eggs simmering in a big pot is perhaps my Asian 'madeleine de Proust' (being half french/ half chinese I can't have one favorite, it's always both worlds!). The star anis flavor captures my soul and takes me straight back to my childhood. I was born and grew up in Hong Kong, tea eggs were my favorite snacks. You could buy them in little street food stores where they sell herbal teas, dim-sums for takeaway, but my favorite were always these eggs. They look like a porcelain antique, and the taste is so satisfying. I make these regularly, and it warms my heart that my children love them as much as I do.
YALI: How do you see Chinese and Italian cultures merging in your own life?
MIMI: Italians and Chinese cultures share a very similar strong value in family, the tradition of gathering with all the relatives around a big table. The older generation plays an important role in the family life, something I cherish and respect. Food wise, pasta, raviolis, there are a lot of similarities even though the flavours are completely different. For Chinese new year, it is a tradition in China to make raviolis with your family. It's a sign of unity and love. I have developed a passion for pasta-making here in Italy, and i can see how special and celebratory it can be as a family activity. It's everything I love about life. Family and food. Perhaps this is why I feel so at home here in Italy.
YALI: If you could invite anyone in the world for a dinner party, who would you invite?
MIMI: Yul, his wife Doris Brynner, and Audrey Hepburn... that would have been so fun! They represent the old-world charm, wit and elegance I love. can you imagine the dinner conversations?
Listen to Mimi's Playlist on YALI Spotify and get cooking (or dancing)