Marbled Tea Eggs

by Bri on February 4, 2008

Marbled Tea Eggs

A few weeks ago, I answered Pat’s plea for recipe testers for her new “Asian Grandmothers Cookbook“. Her recipes are generally quite meat focused, but I admire her commitment to honoring traditional Asian cooking. I was chomping at the bit to try out these wondrous marbled tea eggs. Her recipe was simple and easy to follow and infused the kitchen with the aroma of star anise.

Tea eggs are are a staple convenience and street food throughout China, Taiwan and Hong Kong with regional variations. I find it endlessly interesting to learn about fast food in other cultures. With the prevalence of burgers, chicken nuggets (what part is the nugget exactly?), and french fries in the US, we really got shafted in the convenience food department. Asia has many variations of noodle and rice bowls, often heaped with veggies; there’s wraps and gyros in Greece; and quesadillas, fresh mango with lime, and corn on the cob in Mexico. As long as you choose the vendor wisely, (to avoid tummy trouble) other cultures have infinitely more interesting and healthy street food than we do.

Different tea egg recipes call for white or black tea, but green tends to be too bitter. Some of the spices in Chinese Five Spice are common as well. The marbled effect comes from hard boiling the eggs first, then cracking them, and steeping them in the tea and spice concoction. Cynthe, my mother-in-law, pointed out that the marbling reminded her of spider webs, so maybe this could be an entertaining dish for a Halloween party. I think it would be fun to experiment for Easter as well.

Plus, not only do they look cool, they are quite delicious. I like hard boiled eggs, but they get boring by the second or third one (unless you turn them into deviled eggs, of course). But these already have tons of flavor infused into them. Great for a quick snack, chopped onto a salad, or whatever else strikes you. It was fun to make them and watch their progress, and I figure I’m banking some good karma. Who knows, I might put together a cookbook and need my very own recipe testers one day.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

cookiecrumb February 4, 2008 at 3:21 pm

Awww! Beautiful job.
I’ve always wanted to do that. Now, maybe I will.

bee February 4, 2008 at 3:50 pm

this is a real work of art.

JEP February 4, 2008 at 6:04 pm

How beautiful is that! These eggs look like china–just gorgeous!

Bri February 4, 2008 at 8:13 pm

Cookie – Hey, thanks. Super easy. Lot’s of possible variations. Quite dramatic.

Bee – Thanks! I was really pleased with how well they came out.

JEP – Thank you. It’s true, they look really really delicate and intricate.

manggy February 4, 2008 at 9:05 pm

Tester here!! :-D
They look so cool and elegant at the same time :)

Kristen February 4, 2008 at 9:59 pm

Lovely, Bri. I’m excited to try making these–

Bri February 4, 2008 at 10:04 pm

Manggy – Thanks! I thought so too. Really fun presentation in the right setting, I think.

Kristen – Thank you. I highly recommend them. Great way to spiff up some plain ol’ eggs.

steamy kitchen February 4, 2008 at 10:09 pm

beautiful! love marbled eggs – haven’t had one in a couple of years…

KamanKaman February 4, 2008 at 11:22 pm

I love teabag eggs! Those look awesome!

Christina February 5, 2008 at 6:04 am

They look lovely! And interesting to see the egg shell also.

Pat February 5, 2008 at 12:47 pm

Bri, your tea eggs are gorgeous! Thanks for testing the recipe for me. You’ve definitely earned some good karma, I’d be happy to reciprocate the favor when it’s your turn. I’ve posted the recipe here: http://theasiangrandmotherscookbook.wordpress.com/2008/02/05/marbled-tea-eggs/.

Marvin February 5, 2008 at 4:52 pm

I tested a few of Pat’s recipes too. It’s exciting to see what other recipes she has. This one looks like a winner.

Bri February 6, 2008 at 2:05 pm

Steamy – It was a new adventure for me, and one I would repeat.

KamanKaman – Thanks! It was a fun new discovery for me.

Christina – Thank you! I thought the shell was so intriguing, it had to be included in the photo. Pretty amazing what a little tea and spices can do to “mundane” eggs.

Pat – Thanks! I am so thrilled to be exposed to a new (traditional) easy dish, and yours was easy to follow. I’m so glad you put up the recipe. I linked to it in the body of my post too. Yay!

Marvin – I think it’s a winner too. I’m so glad others are testing them as well. Thanks for dropping by.

gigi February 6, 2008 at 2:20 pm

hi bri,

this is a stunning photo and what an intriguing idea. i love how you are pro-egg bri. they have gotten a bad rap for cholesterol but offer such satisfying and otherwise healthy sustenance i say two thumbs up!

i quite agree with you too about fast food in our culture vs. others. i can’t imagine having the option of running out for a shish kabob for lunch instead of poking through some drive thru. it is fascinating to see not only the dishes but also the lifestyles and the ways people eat around the world

i will have to try making these eggs – thanks for the post!

Bri February 6, 2008 at 2:39 pm

Gigi – Thanks so much! I really am pro-egg. They are a wonderful easily digested, quick, satisfying whole food. It seems that so-called “food science” was off in their hypothesis that dietary cholesterol has a huge impact on our body’s blood cholesterol levels. As with much of life, moderation is key. If you eat a couple every few days, it won’t kill you, and will be a great source of all kinds of goodness. Of course, we just can’t go overboard.

It’s so true that one part is the traditional foods people around the world eat, but another huge part is how and under what circumstances. It seems like the tide is starting to turn back to honoring those food traditions. I just hope the grassroots efforts can make a big enough impact on agribusiness.

Thanks again, Gigi for another thoughtful comment and continuation of the dialog I always hope I’m starting in my posts.

Rhi February 6, 2008 at 3:25 pm

These look stunning!

leila February 7, 2008 at 1:37 pm

now that i’d do this, but with red zinger tea they’d really look like eyeballs for halloween :)

and i’d volunteer to be a recipe tester for your cookbook!

Bri February 8, 2008 at 12:06 am

Rhi – Thanks!

Leila – That’s a fun idea. Any tea with hibiscus would be a great way to make them look bloodshot. I’ll have to remember that.

Thanks for your offer. I’ll remember that :)

Denni March 2, 2008 at 12:10 pm

That is a great photo–how long did you simmer/soak the eggs for (I’m just trying it out now and found that 1 hour isn’t long enough…)

I’ll be making quails eggs marbled with Lapsang Souchong tea for my sister’s wedding buffet :)

Leila: great idea to use hibiscus tea for an eyeball-effect! Did it work?

Bri March 2, 2008 at 3:12 pm

Denni – Thanks! I followed Pat’s recipe and simmered the cracked eggs for two hours and then let them sit for another three hours. The quail eggs sound wonderful. I’m not familiar with Lapsang Souchong tea, but I bet the tiny eggs will be be a hit at your sister’s wedding. Thanks for your comment.

nakiya March 28, 2011 at 6:45 am

that is very nice and easy to make

Cynthe April 29, 2011 at 9:42 am

Nakiya ~ Did you make them yourself or are you already familiar with the recipe?

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