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Chinese Tea Eggs

As promised, here are the recipes from my chicken and egg bounty yesterday. I am still gobsmacked that I actually created those amazing looking eggs. Gob.Smacked. And I ate four of them before I could even get my camera out, they are that delicious. As you gently peel away the shell, it reveals the delicate marbling underneath. In China, these eggs are sold in tea houses as an accompaniment to drinking tea, but also in every convenience store on every street in China – bubbling away in a black tea broth next to the counter. 

I added some beautiful spotted quail eggs to the other eggs, just for interest, and to see how they would turn out. They look so delicate! The egg stall at the wet market sells chicken eggs, bantam eggs, duck eggs, goose eggs and quail eggs, fresh every day, a fantastic egg smorgasbord. 

Chinese Tea Eggs

from The Food of China – a Journey for Food Lovers, edited by Kay Halsey, published by Murdoch Books

  • 10 small eggs, or 1 dozen quail eggs, or both
  • 4 cups of water
  • 3 tablespoons black tea
  • 3 tablespoons shaoxing wine
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 slices ginger, smashed with the flat side of a cleaver
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Place eggs in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover them
  • Bring water to the boil, then reduce to low and simmer for 10 minutes until eggs are hard-boiled
  • Refresh the eggs in cold water, then drain
  • Lightly tap and roll the shells on a hard surface to crack them – this will later give the eggs their distinctive marbled pattern. Do not remove the shells
  • Place all other ingredients with 4 cups of water in a heavy saucepan and bring to the boil, then lower heat and simmer for twenty minutes
  • Add the cooked eggs and simmer for a further forty-five minutes
  • Serve the eggs hot or cold, as snacks with tea 

White Cooked Chicken with Soy and Ginger Dressing

Now for the chicken. Once you have poached a chicken this way, and eaten the silky soft meat that falls succulently off the bone, dressed with soy and ginger, you’ll never want to have chicken any other way. The fantastic sizzle as the hot oil scorches the dressing ingredients sends a wonderful ginger smell through the house. 

from Kylie Kwong, original here


  • 1.5kg fresh chicken
  • 6 litres cold water
  • 3 cups Shaoxing rice wine
  • 8 scallions, trimmed
  • 12 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 cup sliced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon salt
Soy and Ginger Dressing
  • 60ml soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup julienne spring onion, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon julienne ginger
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • For stock, combine ingredients in a 10-litre stockpot and bring to the boil
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes
  • Place chicken breast side down into stock and submerge for 14 minutes, ensuring stock doesn’t return to the boil
  • Remove pot from heat, replace lid, and stand for three hours (if mid-winter in a cold place, wrap pot in a bathtowel to keep the heat in)
  • Using tongs, carefully remove chicken from stock and place on a tray to drain
  • For dressing, carefully combine all ingredients except fr peanut oil in a heat-proof bowl
  • Heat vegetable oil in a saucepan until almost smoking, then pour over dressing ingredients and stir to combine
  • Using a cleaver, cut chicken into ieces and arrange on a platter
  • Drizzle dressing overchicken, garnish with extra spring onion

  • Robyn

    I just KNEW I should have popped in to your place today!!!!

  • Anonymous

    yummy, those are looking really good, and then the the chicken, mhmh! I know for sure what I'm gonna do when I get to SH: cook myself though your tempting recipies! Michaela

  • Fiona

    To Robyn – you know the kitchen is open anytime!

    To michaela – good plan! but you'll be too busy trying out all the fantastic restaurants 😉

  • Jennifer-The Adventuresome Kitchen

    Ok- wow- those eggs look amazing. I've never had a boiled egg like that before- I definitely need to try it! And the chicken- beautiful!

  • Veronica Gantley

    Gosh I wish I had a place to get eggs like that. These look almost to good to eat. The chicken looks wonderful. I will make these eggs, but with regular chicken eggs. Yum!

  • Chubby Chinese Girl

    I love tea eggs… my mom use to make these all the time =)

    The name of ur blog is awesome! Since I usually eat at home when I'm in shanghai, gonna ask you for suggestions next time I'm in town!

  • Bonnibella

    The tea eggs look so delicate like porcelain. I love egg this way, a great way to change up the egg recipes.

  • croquecamille

    Gorgeous photo of the eggs – makes me want to run out and buy a bunch of quail eggs right now! (Not going to happen, by the way, as it's after 9 and all the shops in my neighborhood are closed by now.) Thanks for the recipes!

  • sugared & spiced

    something that my dad used to do is the leave the eggs in the sauce/broth overnight, so that the flavors are further soaked up by the eggs. worth a try!

  • Robyn Brady

    HI Fiona, I've had to wait a year for the recipe, since we ate at the olde tea house at yu yuan!! Meanwhile a queue of at least 5 friends also waiting having heard. Thanks for this, there will be tea-boiled eggs all over the world soon!

    Love Robyn