Tea Eggs

Happy Chinese New Year! Aspiring Bakers‘ theme for this month is Auspicious Dishes for CNY hosted by Wen of Wen’s Delight (details here), and a search for suitable recipes turned up Tea Eggs. I was curious and concerned in equal measure, and pretty much had to try it!


  • 6 eggs
  • water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup brewed black tea
  • 2 star anise, broken into individual pieces
  • 1 cinnamon stick

You start off by just making regular hard boiled eggs. If you don’t have a favorite technique, might I suggest mine? Put all the eggs you want to boil in your pot then cover with enough water to have about a centimeter of water on top. Put over high heat and bring to a boil. Once the water’s really boiling well, turn off the stove and put a lid on the pot. Let rest for 12 minutes, then quickly fish the eggs out from the water, and cool them in ice water to prevent them cooking any more inside. I boiled a few extra along with the ones for the recipe to save for breakfast the next day.

For this recipe, you don’t need to get your eggs all the way cold, just cool enough to handle. Grab your cooled eggs one at a time and just bang them all over with a spoon to crack the shell. You don’t want to remove big chunks of shell, but you need some deep cracks for this to work.

If you haven’t already, make your half cup of tea.

The only cup of tea I've ever made, backed by my standard enormo-mug of water.

Reheat the water you boiled the eggs in and add the salt, soy sauce, star anise, cinnamon, and tea.

Once the water is boiling, add the eggs and reduce the heat to keep the water at a simmer. Simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally and adding more water if the eggs are no longer covered. Turn off the heat and let the eggs sit in the liquid until ready to eat. The longer you leave them, up to overnight, the stronger the flavor and color will be, but you can eat them straight after the simmering, which is what we did.

At least for me, the point was how they look, which depends entirely on your spoon-cracks. They create a kind of marble look as the tea mixture seeps in.

I had expected the eggs to get really unpleasantly rubbery, which they didn’t. They tasted salty, but with a flavor I can’t really describe. Not unpleasant, just…unusual. I’m glad I tried them out, so at least now I know!

They didn’t even kill my roommates!

No one could figure out anything it tasted like.

Yay for trying new things! Happy New Year!

Tea Eggs

From About.com.

  • 6 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups cold water, or as needed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup brewed black tea
  • 2 star anise, broken into individual pieces
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Place eggs in pot and cover with enough water to have a centimeter above the eggs. Place over high heat and bring to a full boil. Turn off the heat and quickly cover pot. Let sit 12 minutes, then remove eggs and run under cold water until cool enough to handle. Hit eggs all over with the back of a spoon to crack.

Bring the water back to a boil, adding the salt, soy sauce, tea, star anise, and cinnamon stick. Return the eggs to the water, then turn heat down to a simmer. Simmer 2 hours, then turn off heat. Leave eggs in water until ready to serve.

About sparecake

My name's Corinne, and I like cake, cookies, and chocolate! Also, non-c-things such as ponies, Star Trek, and biking. I write a food blog and a blog about life, wide open spaces, and museum work. Nice to meet you!
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