Participating in Appetite for China’s Chinese New Year Virtual Potluck – Chinese Marbled Tea Eggs


For my third entry in the virtual potluck over at Appetite for China , I know I don’t want another meat dish. The Chinese Tea Eggs recipe appealed to me because the marbled effect looks so much prettier that the convenience store tea eggs I’m used to growing up in China. If I hadn’t read Diana’s post I would’ve never guessed how easy it was to create the “spiderweb” look for these healthy and delicious eggs!


Chinese Marbled Tea Eggs

recipe clipped directly from ; my notes/changes are marked in red below)

  • 6 to 8 eggs, any size
  • 2 tea bags of black tea (I used organic black tea leaves)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 2 pieces star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorn (optional) (I didn’t have any, so I used Sichuan pepper instead)
  • 2 to 3 strips dried mandarin peel (optional) (I omitted)
  1. Add enough water to a medium pot to cover the eggs. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer for 10 minutes, until the eggs are hard-boiled.
  2. Remove the eggs with a strainer and run under cold water until they are cool enough to handle. Tap the eggs with the back of a butter knife to crack them evenly all around, being careful not to peel off the shells. Return the eggs to the pot.
  3. In the same pot, add the tea bags, soy sauce, brown sugar, star anise, cinnamon, black peppercorns, and orange peel (if using). Add enough water to cover the eggs by an inch. Bring the liquid to a boil, then lower the heat to a bare simmer. Allow the eggs to simmer for 1 to 2 hours, longer for a more intense flavor and color.
  4. Remove from the heat and drain the eggs, saving a little of the liquid to serve with the eggs if you choose. You can either peel and serve the eggs immediately or store them in the fridge for up to 4 days in a tightly covered container. Serve as a snack as-is or as an addition to rice or noodles.

Updated February 19, 2013. Original recipe posted May 8, 2008 (the update is for the video instructions, wish I would’ve seen this before making them, but oh well, I know I’ll make this over and over again!)

My thoughts on this recipe:

  • It sure was a lot of fun to tap and crack the hard boiled eggs before simmering them and just watch the beautiful marble effect create itself after a couple of hours. Who would’ve thought!
  • The idea of adding a cinnamon stick was strange to me at first, because in the past, I’d think the only acceptable ingredient would be Luo Han Guo, which would add a nice sweet touch to the liquid. But I’m sold as soon as the liquid reached a boil and it smelled so good I almost helped myself to it! I bet if I had dried mandarin peel on hand it would be even more wonderful. Next time I eat mandarin oranges guess what I’ll be saving!
  • I followed the steps religiously and turned off the heat at the 2 hour mark but left the eggs submerged in the liquid for another 2 hours. Next time I’ll probably let it simmer for much longer as the eggs didn’t taste as salty as I expected them to be.
  • Maybe if I didn’t drain the liquid, but I got another use out of it: I blanched some Kombu and used the remaining liquid to cook it, that was my veggies for last night! After that though, I couldn’t possibly reuse the liquid because it’d turned slimey.

I love recipes where ingredients can be reused. I’m already planning for the next dish before the deadline of the virtual potluck. I’ve been having such a blast and I encourage anybody to participate! Don’t forget to check out Diana’s book “The Chinese Takeout Cookbook” on Amazon where this recipe can also be found.


One response »

  1. Pingback: Chinese New Year Virtual Potluck + Winners! | Appetite for China

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