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Beautifully marbled runny tea egg recipe

Regular readers know that my wife and I are obsessed with cookbooks. We have far too many. And sadly, with the convenience of digital media, very often, my first resource when looking for recipes is Google and not my own cookbook library. That said, there are some books that simply inspire you to cook, to try the chefs’ ideas and techniques, and to attempt new things using their recipes as springboards. The two cookbooks that have been inspiring me the most recently have been Martin Benn’s Sepia and Andrew Wong’s A.Wong The Cookbook.

Until my wife brought home A. Wong The Cookbook, I have to admit I had never heard of Andrew Wong and his eponymous restaurant. But having read through his book, I’ve become a huge fan. I’ve tried several of his recipes, incorporating his ideas into my own dishes, with great success. One of the ideas Mr Wong writes about that excited me the most was his technique for preparing what looks like a traditional “tea egg” but one with a runny centre.

Tea eggs, for those not familiar, are hard-boiled eggs that are steeped in a combination of Chinese tea, soy and spices. Some like to peel the eggs before steeping. This creates a latte-hued egg with fuller flavour. Others like to crack the shells and dunk the eggs into the marinating liquid. This version results in a marbled egg but because the shell is intact, the flavours of the tea and soy are more subtle.

tea egg whole

Andrew Wong makes use of modern gastronomic tools to create one of the coolest things I’ve prepared in recent memory. His technique results in a firm exterior but super creamy and runny (but cooked) interior. It’s perfect if you want to create a self-saucing dish or simply want to impress friends.

For a recent dinner party, I tested the technique and served these eggs with seared Hokkaido scallops, Oscietra caviar, and a shio konbu dashi gelee (the gelee was something inspired by reading the Sepia cookbook). It was a great dish and a real crowd-pleaser. All of my guests loved cutting into the eggs and watching the yolks spill out over the dashi. The creaminess worked well with the dashi’s umaminess and the briny saltiness of the caviar.

tea egg runny

The technique is simple, but it requires time and patience. It also required a sous-vide machine (i.e. an immersion circulator). Fortunately, these devices are no longer prohibitively expensive. I would recommend, for home chefs, brands like Nomiku, Anova, or Sansaire.

Photo credit for the top picture in the post goes to the beautiful Florence Fong.

 

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