Chinese tea, spices like soy sauce and star anise, and cloves are used to flavor what are essentially hard-boiled eggs, known as “tea eggs.”
All over China, street vendors sell them for breakfast. We can walk a few blocks from our apartment and find a vendor at the neighborhood market. They go for about 16 cents (or 1 RMB) each.
The braising liquid’s color seeps into each egg’s cracks, giving them a cool marbled look when peeled.
- 12 eggs
- 4-5 cups of water (enough to submerge the eggs completely)
- 2 tbsp. of dry Chinese tea leaves of your choice
- 5 pcs. of star anise
- 6 cloves
- 12 whole black of peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp. of salt
- 2 tbsp. of dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. of light soy sauce
- Combine all the ingredients in a medium pot, cover, and boil over low to medium heat. When the water boils, turn off the heat and let it sit for 30 minutes to cool before adding the eggs. Separate the eggs one by one and crack the shells all over, but do not remove the shells. The finished eggs will have a marbling pattern because of this.
- Return the eggs to the saucepan and chill the fridge contents for the night. These steps enhance the flavor of the eggs with spices, tea, and soy.
- They’re particularly delicious when halved and lain flat in a bowl of noodle soup, as suggested.