Chinese Tea Leaf Eggs

    11 hours

    One of my favourite dishes when I head back home; it combines hard-boiled eggs with the subtle flavour of anise and the deep brown hues of black tea and soy. The cracked patterns from the broken shells make these quite attractive! I eat these sliced in quarters and chilled as a side dish, starter or snack. Recipe courtesy of Mum.

    54 people made this

    Serves: 8 

    • 8 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 750ml water
    • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon black soy sauce
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons black tea leaves
    • 2 pods star anise
    • 1 (5cm) piece cinnamon stick
    • 1 tablespoon tangerine zest

    Prep:20min  ›  Cook:3hr  ›  Extra time:7hr40min  ›  Ready in:11hr 

    1. In a large saucepan, combine eggs and 1 teaspoon salt; cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and cool. When cool, tap eggs with the back of a spoon to crack shells (do not remove shells).
    2. In a large saucepan, combine 750ml water, soy sauce, black soy sauce, salt, tea leaves, star anise, cinnamon stick and tangerine zest. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 3 hours. Remove from heat, add eggs, and let steep for at least 8 hours.

    Chinese New Year

    Most of the dishes served during Chinese New Year are symbolic of something positive and hopeful.

    Chicken and fish, for example, symbolise happiness and prosperity - especially when served whole.
    Dishes made with oranges represent wealth and good fortune because they are China's most plentiful fruit.
    Noodles represent longevity: therefore, they should never be cut!
    Duck symbolises fidelity, while eggs signify fertility.
    Bean curd or tofu, however, is avoided because its white colour suggests death and misfortune.

    Recently viewed

    Reviews & ratings
    Average global rating:

    Reviews in English (28)


    Please note that the Chinese "dark/black" soy sauce is VERY different than the "light/regular" one. The dark soy has a sweeter flavor, while giving the color to the egg. It's not salty at all. So the "regular" soy sauce is actually the wrong one to use.  -  13 Apr 2007  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    I fudged a bit and only used water, soy, Wort. sauce and tea leaves. Make sure the cracks in the eggs break the thin membrane between the shell and the egg otherwise you won't get the marbling.  -  04 Feb 2003  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    This is one of those suprising recipes. You read it and think it just can't taste good, but it turns out remarkably well. I ommitted the black soy sauce since I don't know the difference. I let the eggs soak at least overnight in the refrigerator. I peel, slice lengthwise and place yolk side down on my most elegant glass platter. The appearance is of delicate marble eggs. Even kids love the taste. I call them 1000 year old eggs after the traditional Chinese dish...not the same at all, but they look antique!  -  26 Nov 2002  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)