How to Hard Boil Eggs & Chinese Tea Eggs

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Last weekend we took our son to a Chinese New Year celebration in the International District. He was really excited about it, after discussing dancing dragons, fireworks and red envelopes all week long at pre-school.

We navigated the (lack of) parking, fought through the crowds and finally found a decent spot with a view. My husband hoisted our heavy 3 year-old onto his shoulders to enjoy the festivities. We waited, with anticipation, to see the parade start. No sooner than the dragon dancers entered the street did the pop-cap fireworks start — along with 3 year-old terror.

Let’s just say that our son wasn’t a big fan of the really, really, really loud, non-stop popping noise.

It became pretty clear that we were going to have to continue our celebration at home and what better way to celebrate than with a feast!

I wish I could tell you that I took pictures of everything we had to celebrate Chinese New Year but it was a rather grey (typical Seattle) Winter Day and we cooked on the later end of it so taking photos of everything became prohibitive.

Alas, at the very least, I made a point to photograph these gorgeous Chinese Marbled Tea Eggs! I was first introduced to Chinese Marbled Tea Eggs when I lived in New York City but can’t say that I have had them (or ever made them myself!) in the last decade.

The inspiration for the Tea Eggs came from Diana’s Virtual Potluck which she is hosting on Appetite for China to celebrate the launch of her new cookbook – The Chinese Take Out Cookbook.

When she emailed me and asked me to join in, I knew that I would be making the Tea Eggs to share. Not only are they ridiculously easy, but so unique, beautiful and really delicious. They are a perfect addition to a party or Chinese themed feast, made in advance, only 2 Points Plus each and pure protein. Plus, you can get really creative with the flavor profile that you infuse into the Eggs.


  • If you don’t have Szechuan peppercorns, just use double the amount of whole, black peppercorns.
  • Diana’s recipe calls for dried orange peel but I used fresh peel and was thrilled with the flavor.
  • If you are not a huge fan of Star Anise, only use one as the flavor is quite strong and intense.
  • You can substitute light brown sugar for the Coconut Palm Sugar.

Adapted From: Chinese Tea Eggs by Diana Kuan, Appetite for China

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How to Hard Boil Eggs & Chinese Marbled Tea Eggs
2 Points Plus Per Egg -- Serves 6
Serves: 6
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 black tea bags (I used Early Grey)
  • ½ cup low sodium Tamari (or Soy Sauce)
  • 1½ tablespoons coconut palm sugar
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns (see NOTES)
  • 3 to 4 pieces fresh orange peel
  1. Place eggs in a sauce pan in one layer. Add cold water to cover by about 2".
  2. Set pot on stovetop over a medium-low heat and bring to a boil (Do not do this over a high heat).
  3. Once water reaches a rolling boil, cover, remove from heat and set a timer for 12 minutes. Immediately drain eggs from hot water and run under cold water. I prefer to peel them immediately and store in the refrigerator. If making Chinese Tea Eggs, DO NOT peel and keep reading.
  1. After Step 3 above, instead of peeling the hard boiled eggs, grab a butter-knife and gently tap the eggs with the back of the knife to crack the shells.
  2. Place cracked-shell eggs back in the pot, cover with water by about 2" and add all ingredients listed above from tea bags to orange peel.
  3. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce light to a low simmer and simmer for 2 hours.
  4. Remove from heat, drain and allow to cool. Once cooled, remove shells and store in refrigerator.

 Disclosure: By participating in the Virtual Potluck, I will be receiving a copy of The Chinese Take-Out Cookbook.

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  1. says

    Beautiful marbling. Many kids are terrified of the loud fire crackers noises that can go on and on, my son was one of them, but it was not too many years later when I had to keep asking him to please lower the volumn of his radio.

    • EverydayMaven says

      They have such a unique flavor Lindsay – really different and fun for a change. Thanks about the photos – I was pretty excited about these pictures!

  2. says

    These are just so pretty! I have always wanted to make them. I do have to wonder how they taste though after being cooked twice (and for such a long period). I’m so particular about my hard-boiled eggs and at home will only eat them with golden yolks. Does the long cooking time make them dry and “sulfury”, or does the tea cancel that out?
    Heather @girlichef recently posted..Dark Chocolate-Dipped Apricots {#SundaySupper}My Profile

    • EverydayMaven says

      You might not like them then Heather because the yolks are “sulury” and not golden at all. I hear you though, when it comes to traditional hard-boiled eggs, I am nuts about the yolk. For these, I make concessions because there isn’t really any way around it.

  3. says

    Gorgeous looking eggs. I’ll have to try these – I make a batch of hard-boiled eggs every week, then store in the refrigerator to eat for breakfast. And we always drink Earl Grey tea for breakfast every morning, so I’ll have ready access to that (we brew loose tea, but I can figure out what to do 😉 Good stuff – thanks.
    john@kitchenriffs recently posted..Fennel and Tomato GratinMy Profile

  4. says

    What pretty eggs, Alyssa! The marbling is terrific. I can’t wait to try these – eggs are a favorite in our house. So cool you went to the ID for the New Year celebration, and totally understand your son’s reaction. I remember when my boys were little and crowds/loud noises were overwhelming (we never lasted through the Purim festivities and parades at our synagogue!).
    Hannah recently posted..Bay Leaf-Vanilla Pots de CrèmeMy Profile

    • EverydayMaven says

      That is funny Hannah, we were just talking about taking D to the Purim festival this weekend but decided to pass!

  5. says

    These eggs look wonderful! I confess I now have a craving for egg salad–I think that will be for lunch.
    Back to the eggs–how pretty and what a neat flavor combination, what with Earl Grey and star anise. I happen to have everything (including dried orange peel) so I’ll try them with my next batch of eggs.
    After the salad with the remainder of today’s eggs, of course.
    I could see my kids being freaked out by sudden loud noises at that age. This too shall pass, however!
    Then they become teens and force you to listen to endless classical music and Sousa marches. Well, mine do at least.
    kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts recently posted..Acorn Squash, Chick Pea and Chicken Faux-roccan StewMy Profile

    • EverydayMaven says

      The teen years seems so far away but I know I will blink and it will be here! It’s crazy how time flies when you have a child. Enjoy your lunch :)

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