Tea eggs are a traditional food commonly sold by street vendors throughout China. In China, there are many variations since each family makes their tea egg recipe a little bit differently, but they all contain black tea, soy sauce, and spices. I based my recipe on the ones I found online, but couldn’t resist the temptation to add some adaptogenic licorice and eleuthero roots! Feel free to play around with the recipe and create your own version of this delectable treat.
Marbled Tea Egg Recipe
- 6 eggs (organic, free-range and/or farm fresh; definitely from a place that gives their chickens lots of love)
- ¼ - ¾ cup organic soy sauce
- 1 organic cinnamon stick
- 2 Tbsp organic black tea leaves (I used English Breakfast, but you can use any black tea)
- 1 tsp organic black peppercorns
- 2 organic anise star pods
- 1 Tbsp organic eleuthero root
- 1 tsp organic licorice root
Place the eggs in a medium pot and cover completely with cold water, submerging the eggs by at least 1 inch of water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and allow the eggs to simmer for 3 minutes. Remove the eggs from the heat and rinse in cold water. Once they are cool enough to handle, gently crack the eggshells using the back of a teaspoon. The more you crack, the more intricate the design will be. Make sure to crack the entire perimeter of the egg while being careful not to break the shell completely off.
Return the cracked eggs to the pot, cover completely with water, and then add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 40 minutes to 3 hours. The longer they simmer, the more intense the flavor and color will be. Periodically, check on the eggs, turn them over, and add more water if necessary so that the eggs are always partially submerged.
Once they are finished simmering, remove your pot from the heat, cover with a lid, and place it in the refrigerator. Allow the eggs to steep overnight or longer in the marinade. The longer they marinate, the more savory the eggs will be.
Peeling the eggs is one of the most rewarding parts, as each one will have a unique web-like pattern. It feels like you are opening little gifts! Not only are the eggs themselves beautiful, but the tea-stained eggshells are gorgeous too.
P.S. The inside of the shells is beautiful too. Opening them is like unwrapping little gifts!