Chinese tea eggs

by Jenny Chandler

Tea-spiced boiled eggs

You may as well cook up at least half a dozen of these as they keep well in the fridge, steeping in their spiced tea, gaining flavour and marbling as they go. The smell of the simmering tea and spices is reason alone to have a go at these. 

For more boiled egg ideas, read the article that inspired this dish


6 eggs
2 tbsp black tea leaves (I love the smokiness of lapsang souchong)
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
1 strip of orange zest
5 tbsp soy sauce


Boil the eggs until they are just hard (about 7 mins). Once cool enough to handle under a cold tap, gently crack the shell all over with the back of a spoon—if you lose pieces of the shell the tea will colour the entire white instead of getting the desired marbled effect.

Place the eggs back in the pan and cover with boiling water and all the remaining ingredients. Simmer for at least 45 mins and then switch off the heat and leave the eggs to cool down with the tea.

Once cool, put the eggs into a container with their tea and leave in the fridge until ready to use—ideally overnight, to up the flavour and increase the marbled effect.

These are delicious just tucked into as a snack or you could use them (not orthodox at all, but damn good) in a south-east Asian gado gado salad.

ALTERNATIVE: For a simpler version, use 1 tbsp Chinese five spice powder instead of the whole spices.

Recipe: Jenny Chandler