Tea eggs are a classic Chinese recipe and make a beautiful accompaniment to noodles. Leave the prawns out and swap the fish sauce in the noodles for soy sauce for a vegetarian version of this dish.
¼ cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
½ bird's-eye chilli, finely sliced
2 rice vinegar tbsp
2 tsp golden caster sugar
200 g dried egg noodles
2 tbsp canola oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced
6 spring onions, shredded
100 g peeled north Atlantic prawns
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
1 star anise
1 tbsp golden caster sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 thick ginger slices
3 Tbsp Chinese black tea leaves
- To make the tea eggs, put all the ingredients except the eggs in a pan with 750ml water and bring to a boil. Turn down and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Bring a pan of water to a boil, add the eggs and simmer for 4 minutes. Drain and run under cold water until cool enough to handle. Carefully roll and tap them on the work surface to crack the shells so they look like crazy paving. Leave the shells on. Add these to the tea mixture and keep cooking for 1 hour (keep cooking for another hour if you want the colour to be darker). Cool in the tea. Scoop out and shell.
- Put the cucumber, chilli, rice vinegar and sugar in a bowl, then stir. Cook the noodles following the pack instructions, then drain. Heat the oil in a wok and add the garlic, stir for a minute and then add the spring onions and fry for 2 minutes. Add the prawns and bean sprouts and toss briefly, then add the fish sauce. Add the noodles, toss together and divide between 4 bowls. Put 2 eggs onto each pile of noodles, add some of the cucumber pickle and serve the rest on the side.