Chinese Tea Eggs

Friday, March 21, 2014

My husband doesn't often voice how much he misses his mother's Taiwanese cooking or ask for specific food to be prepared, so when he does, I am more than happy to fulfill his request.  This week he was asking for tea eggs.  These yummy eggs make a great snack and are very popular in most Chinese communities.  They are also known as marble eggs because the cracks in the eggs produce a marble-like effect after they are fully cooked.  Tea eggs are the traditional Chinese fast food and are found all over the place in Chinese communities, sold at street vendors and night markets.  In Taiwan, tea eggs are a fixture in convenient stores and you can always count on walking up to the counter of a seven-eleven and find warm tea-eggs waiting for you to eat on the go.  I just recently learned that in recent years Taiwan's version of tea eggs has branched out to other flavors including fruit flavors.  I may have to try making some raspberry or blueberry tea eggs some time soon (sounds intriguing to me).

The recipe I am sharing with you is one of the recipes that my mother-in-law handed down to me.  Most tea eggs are traditionally made with soy sauce (and I do have a recipe for that as well), but the recipe my husband and I prefer is made without it.  It is very easy to make and really only takes a few minutes of your time (however, you do need to stick around for a few hours while the eggs simmer). Some of the ingredients (star anise and five spice powder) I bought at my local asian market, though you might be able to find them in your grocery store's international isle.

Chinese Tea Eggs
  • 8 Eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Five Spice Powder
  • 1 Star Anise (or 1/2 teaspoon Star Anise Powder)
  • 2 Black tea bags


  1.  Start by filling a pot with enough water to cover all of your eggs and get the water boiling.  Once it has reached the boiling point, turn your heat down to low and allow the eggs to simmer for 4-5 minutes. Don't let the water boil too long, but do make sure that the water has reached a good rolling boil before turning the heat down. 

  2. Remove the pot from the stove, drain the water, and rinse with cool water.  Wait for the eggs to cool off before handling them.  (I used ice to help quicken the process up). 

  3. Crack the eggs with your fingers or the back of a spoon, being careful not to remove the shell completely.  Don't be afraid to really crack the eggs well though, the more they are cracked, the better the flavor and color of the eggs will be.  
  4. Once again make sure that the pot has enough water to cover the eggs and bring it to a boil again. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot.  Once the water has begun boiling, turn the heat back down and allow the eggs to simmer for at least 1 hour (I like to leave mine simmering for a good 1 1/2 - 2 hours).  The longer you let them simmer, the stronger the taste will be. 

  5. Once they are finished simmering, you can remove them from the water and allow them to cool. We like them best when they are still warm.  They store well in the fridge if you aren't planning on eating them right away.  Enjoy!

Creative K Kids

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