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May 24, 2009

Tea (Recipe: "smoked" egg salad)

Please welcome Kim, who with this post joins The Perfect Pantry as guest blogger. Kim lives in Pasadena, California; she is the business manager for a local farmers market, and also the Friday cook for a nonprofit organization that gathers donated food from various locations, and makes and serves meals to the homeless. This is her first-ever blog post.

Teaeggs2

Guest post and photos by Kim in Pasadena, California

Many years ago, one of the rites of passage into womanhood was "going to tea" with my friends.

Back then, the really haute-couture department stores had their own tearooms for ladies to rest after a day's shopping. My mother would sometimes take me to tea so I would learn the proper way for a lady to act and dress.

Just about the time I came of age for tea parties, the Beatles, Rolling Stones and (for me) Jethro Tull swept me off to wilder places that were unencumbered by rules and roles. I couldn't really see going to tea in bell-bottoms and a tube top!

Though "going to tea" fell by the wayside, one of the things I look for wherever I live is a place to get good tea, and on one of my wanderings, I found Chado, a tearoom that serves full-service tea. They import their own teas, and their business is modeled on the look and feel of a Mariage Frères tea room. 

Teasmokedeggs3

For the birth of tea, we can thank Chinese Emperor Shen Nung, who had decreed that all water be boiled for safety before drinking.

One day, some stray tea leaves found their way into the emperor's pot of hot water. Rather than discard it, he gave it a try and discovered that tea just makes the whole world right. Because of a happy accident, a lowly leaf became the drink of the royals, and later the drink of everyone.

Cooking with tea is as old as drinking tea. Dried pungent oolong leaves can be used to stuff fish before steaming. Also, dried leaves, particularly when young and green, can add crunch and flavor in rubs to coat fish, meat or poultry, or crumbled to be used as a garnish.

Another way to cook with tea is to add the leaves to the fire source for smoking.

When storing tea, air is the enemy. There are containers with a special top that removes the air so the tea keeps fresh for quite sometime (years), but I've only been able to find one supplier. If the tea is expensive, keep it in its original tin, or buy special tea containers. This also applies to any tea that has the addition of flowers, spices, oils or fruits, including Earl Grey. In my pantry I always have brick tea or pu-erh tea, which needs no special care, will last forever, and is a good all-around tea.

Teasmokedeggsalad1

"Smoked" egg salad

Teas like Russian Caravan or Lapsang Souchong (pronounced laps-see-sung) can be brewed into a 'mother' and used as a marinade to impart a smoky flavor to eggs or fish. The marinade of Lapsang Souchong is one of the key ingredients for this smoked egg salad. Note: the eggs must marinate overnight, so start the day before you plan to make the egg salad. Serves 2-4.

Ingredients

6 eggs
4 cups of water
4 tsp of Lapsang Souchong
2-1/2 Tbsp homemade mayonnaise
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp chopped chives
Large pinch of bittersweet paprika
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Directions

In a pot of cold water, bring the eggs to the boil, and simmer (from start to finish this should take 20 minutes).

Put water on to boil for the tea. Just as the water starts to boil, turn off heat. If using loose tea, use 4 teaspoons to 2 cups of water. The goal here is to make a slightly strong mother. Brew the tea for 10 minutes, then remove the bags.

Once the eggs have cooled, peel them and put them in a container that will hold them comfortably. You want a container large enough that the eggs won't touch each other. Pour tea over eggs; add the remaining 2 cups of water if the eggs are not covered, then add a bit more water but not more than 1/4 cup. Put the container in the fridge overnight.

Chop eggs, and add the mayonnaise, garlic powder, chives, bittersweet paprika, and salt and pepper to taste.

If you wish, you can also add a 6-ounce can of salmon and a large pinch of coriander.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]


More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:

Apple-tea liqueur
Thai iced tea
Masalawali chai

Comments

Hi Kim,

I never forgot the smoked egg salad you commented about here, and I'm so glad to see the recipe now. I have some wonderful eggs which just call out for this preparation.

Lovely post!

Oh I would love to try egg salad this way. Wonderful!

What an interesting variation for egg salad. It sounds delicious to me. Not to mention, what a great first ever blog post!

I was just trying to imagine Ian Anderson at a tea party singing Aqualung! Ha ha
Thanks for a great first post.
Ted

Julia - I was so glad when Lydia invited me to do a post. I so wanted to share this recipe.

Dawn & Kalyn - one other thing I will do is add a can of salmon and about a 1/4 teaspoon of coriander.

Ted – Thick as a brick still remains as one of my favorite albums and thanks so much for the compliment.

Hello Kim, nice to have made your acquaintance. I loved all things smoked - so why not egg salad...yum!

I have never treated eggs in this manner, what an interesting technique!

Peter – I based the recipe on a sandwich called punjab that they make at Chado. I am not a fan of onions for this so changed it a bit. I was fascinated by the application of using tea to impart a flavor.

Natashya – If you want to wow people at a dinner party you could just barely crack the egg shell and then marinate them for the 8 hours. The eggs will look as if they are marbled and make a great presentation that you can later make into the egg salad. This BTW when soy sauce is added is the way the eggs are served as a street food in China.

Can I please just clarify - you marinate the UNshelled eggs? The recipe looks and sounds delicious and I am keen to try it. I just need to source a similar tea here in New Zealand.

Tea eggs (soaked with a cracked shell) are beautiful as well as tasty. You can do it with beet juice (with or without vinegar) too.

And many long years ago when I shared a house with 5 other people, we called Lapsang Souchong tea "lapdog shoeshine" (it was one of our favorites).

Howdy - beautiful pix, beautiful post, beautiful recipe. I grew up drinking tea with my parents at supper every night. I was the only kid, my 4 brothers & my sister always bugged our mom for soda, which we couldn't afford: They got store-brand Kool-Aid. I guess because I'm the youngest, I got the most Japanese heritage exposure because I was alone with mommy when they went off to school.

Anyways, I met Chinese tea & tea eggs while in college and liked both immmediately; though I admit Lapsang Souchong was an acquired taste. Now, it's my go-to in cold weather & I love all things smoky--ever try chipotle brownies? I used to adore Twinings "Russian Caravan" but it's hard to find & not as smoky as I remember.

Thanks for the egg salad recipe & your technique for tea eggs; I do the cracked shell approach. (Japanese people eat with their eyes first.) But I'll bet your way is more flavorful in the salad. And, I admire the sliced egg border: lovely.

Lynne – Twinings has Lapsang Souchong tea in bags just add 5 bags of the tea.

Sandra – I always say the name of the tea wrong and the correct pronunciation does indeed sound very much like lapdog shoeshine.

Jenna – If you don’t mind the price Mariage Freres makes the blend. My favorite tea from them is Marco Polo.

Thanks to the commenters who caught the omission in the recipe. Yes, peel the eggs! I've corrected in the recipe above.

I have to admit my lack of knowledge here - this is all new to me. I will have to find some of that tea, and try this... it looks delicious.

Merry – Twinnings does make lapsang souchong in tea bag (use 5) or you could try looking for the tea in Asian markets

Wow! it does look delicious

Wow! it does look delicious

Thanks for the recipe. I very much enjoy going to tea with my daughter at Chado in Pasadena when I visit.

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