Food and art can live in the same realm, and this Chinese Tea Egg recipe is living proof.
Chinese marbled tea eggs are almost too pretty to eat. (Almost.) If they didn’t make such a great afternoon snack — with their subtle savory flavor and satisfyingly firm texture — we might be tempted to just admire them from afar.
For Chinese marbled tea eggs, you’ll want to hard boil eggs first, and after they cool off, use a back of a teaspoon to gently crack the eggshell all over. Keep the eggshell intact, but the more you crack, the more intricate the design of the marble will be. Make those crack pretty deep, as that is how the tea/soy mixture will seep into the egg.
Serves as many as you make—
3/4 cup soy sauce
2 star anise
2 tablespoons black tea (or 2 tea bags)
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorn (optional)
2 strips dried tangerine or mandarin orange peel (optional)
Gently place the eggs in a medium pot and fill with water to cover the eggs by 1-inch. Bring the pot to a boil, lower the heat and let simmer for 3 minutes.
Remove the eggs (leaving the water in the pot) and let cool under running cool water.
Using the back of the teaspoon, gently tap the eggshell to crack the shell all over. The more you tap, the more intricate the design. Do this with a delicate hand to keep the shell intact.
To the same pot with the boiling water, return the eggs and add in the remaining ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil and immediately turn the heat to low.
Simmer for 40 minutes, cover with lid and let eggs steep for a few hours to overnight. The longer you steep, the more flavorful and deeply marbled the tea eggs will be.
In the photos below, we steeped for 4-5 hours. We could have steeped them overnight.