Marbled tea eggs – two versions (茶叶蛋)

Probably the best way to enjoy hard boiled eggs! Chinese tea eggs are packed with flavour and have a beautiful marble look. Recipe in two versions provided.

Probably the best way to enjoy hard boiled eggs! Chinese tea eggs are packed with flavour and have a beautiful marble look. Recipe in two versions provided.

More and more I realize that the memory of my happy childhood is mostly food related. Last week my culinary fan No. 3 in our Red House went for a school trip which reminded me of my own school outings. Then a particular food came to mind. It was Chinese tea egg (茶叶蛋), one of the most popular homemade snacks people would bring on a picnic or for a train journey. I cooked some straightaway, along with some quail eggs and peanuts that I happened to have in my kitchen.

Probably the best way to enjoy hard boiled eggs! Chinese tea eggs are packed with flavour and have a beautiful marble look. Recipe in two versions provided.

Like many dishes, families have their own recipes for tea eggs. But they all share the same principle: steeping hard boiled eggs in a liquid darkened and flavoured by tea, soy sauce and spices. To me it’s like giving (plain and dry) hard boiled eggs a makeover. Not only does the steeping process add a flavourful taste to the eggs, it also gives the eggs an interesting appearance. Normally the egg shells are cracked (but not peeled) before adding to the the flavoured liquid. This will lead to a marble-like pattern on the egg white when peeled. In addition, egg yolks become less dry than the ones found in normal hard boil eggs.

Probably the best way to enjoy hard boiled eggs! Chinese tea eggs are packed with flavour and have a beautiful marble look. Recipe in two versions provided.

In terms of tea, you are pretty free to choose whatever is available in your cupboard. My mum and dad use loose green tea or jasmine tea since they are the most common types in Chinese households. I discovered that black tea bags are a great choice too. They are darker, stronger, cheaper (in Europe) and they save your time: you don’t need to deal with tea leaves which become stuck to the eggs.

Probably the best way to enjoy hard boiled eggs! Chinese tea eggs are packed with flavour and have a beautiful marble look. Recipe in two versions provided.

I have two versions of tea eggs for you: comprehensive and simplified. The differences are as follow:

  1. Use individual spices of your choice VS using Chinese five-spice powder.
  2. Crack the egg shells VS peel the egg shells. If peeled, eggs can be steeped for a shorter time, but they will become brown all around instead of having a marble look.
  3. I add quail eggs and peanuts in the comprehensive version. This is purely my personal touch. Quail eggs are smaller hence the flavour will be stronger than that of hen eggs. Peanuts cooked this way are delicious as a snack (It’s common in China to braise peanuts with spices).

Probably the best way to enjoy hard boiled eggs! Chinese tea eggs are packed with flavour and have a beautiful marble look. Recipe in two versions provided.

Marbled tea eggs – two versions (茶叶蛋)
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Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Serving Size: 4-5 persons

Marbled tea eggs – two versions (茶叶蛋)

Probably the best way to enjoy hard boiled eggs! Chinese tea eggs are packed with flavour and have a beautiful marble look. Recipe in two versions provided.

Ingredients

    Comprehensive version
  • 6-8 hen eggs
  • 10 quail eggs (optional)
  • 1 handful peanuts (optional)
  • 2 bags black tea
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 star-anise
  • 1 small piece Chinese cinnamon (cassia cinnamon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn
  • 2 dried chilli
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1/2 tablespoon rock sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Simplified version
  • 8 hen eggs
  • 2 bags black tea
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon rock sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce

Instructions

  1. Put hen eggs (at room temperature) in a pot of cold water (enough to cover them). Bring water to a boil then reduce the heat. Leave to simmer for 3 mins. Add the quail eggs (at room temperature) into the water. Cook for another 3 mins.
  2. Drain the eggs. Cool them down under running water. When they are cool enough to touch, gently crack the egg shells all around using the back of a spoon (see note 1).
  3. Put eggs back into a clean pot. Add all the other ingredients and water enough to cover the eggs. Bring water to a boil then turn down the heat. Let it simmer for 10 mins (see note 2).
  4. Transfer everything into a glass or ceramic container. Leave to steep for at least 12 hours (see note 3). You may keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. If you prefer eating warm eggs, simply heat up the egg in the liquid.

Notes

Additional instructions for simplified version:

1. you may peel the entire egg shells before adding into the steeping liquid.

2.You can cook the steeping liquid while boiling the eggs. Then add peeled eggs into the mixture without further simmering.

3.The steeping time can be shorten by half if eggs are peeled.

https://redhousespice.com/tea-eggs/

If you like eggs, you might be interested in another recipe “Tomato and egg stir-fry” which is also a simple, down-to-earth dish.

Have a lovely day!

An enthusiastic cook with a Chinese palate and a global mindset.

Probably the best way to enjoy hard boiled eggs! Chinese tea eggs are packed with flavour and have a beautiful marble look. Recipe in two versions provided. Probably the best way to enjoy hard boiled eggs! Chinese tea eggs are packed with flavour and have a beautiful marble look. Recipe in two versions provided. Probably the best way to enjoy hard boiled eggs! Chinese tea eggs are packed with flavour and have a beautiful marble look. Recipe in two versions provided.

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