This recipe is a reasonably authentic example of Chinese culinary tea. The egg is hard-boiled, then lightly cracked and soaked in a mixture containing tea which imparts the marbling effect.
I say “reasonably authentic” because the original recipe calls for Lapsang Souchong, which imparts a delicately smoky flavour, but as this was my first attempt at marbling eggs I opted for a basic black tea.
I was surprised and rather impressed with the results so I will try this again with different teas to see how it alters the flavour.
You can adapt this recipe for as few or as many eggs as you like: as long as they all fit comfortably in the boiling pan without bumping into each other too much, you could do a dozen or more at a time.
As I was doing this for just me, I used one egg but felt, after it was successful, that it was a bit of a waste of ingredients to do just one egg.
- 1 large egg
- 180 ml dark soy sauce
- 25g loose black tea. I used an English Breakfast blend, which is not very authentic but it was what I had in the cupboard and I didn’t want to use something expensive in case it went horribly wrong. It should be Lapsang Souchong to be properly authentic.
- 25g five-spice powder
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- water to cover, twice
- Put the eggs in a saucepan large enough for them to sit in a single layer, preferably with some room to move about.
Cover the eggs with cold water, put the lid on and bring to the boil over a high heat.
- Allow to boil for two minutes before removing from the heat and let them stand in the hot water for 10 minutes, cover
- Transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water and allow them to cool enough to handle – discard the water used so far.
- Tap the shells all over, gently, with the back of the spoon so that they are lightly cracked but the shell stays stuck to the egg.
- Put the soy sauce, tea, sugar and spice powder in the same saucepan, add water to the level needed to cover the eggs and bring to the boil.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and carefully add the cracked eggs. Make sure the eggs are completely covered by the liquid.
- Simmer for 10 minutes then remove from the heat and allow the eggs to stand in the liquid until cool enough to chill.
- The eggs should steep in the liquid for at least two hours, or up to two days.
- When ready to serve, remove from the liquid, peel and serve.
I was impatient to see whether it had worked, so used my egg after about 18 hours. A longer steeping time would almost certainly yield a more vibrant result.
I chopped my egg up and mashed it with a little cream cheese, some chopped cucumber and some fresh mint from my garden and served it on toast. It was absolutely delicious, and now I have a little confidence in my abilities, I will do this again.