Tea eggs probably sound foreign to many westerners, but it is a Chinese specialty. They are served as appetizers or can be eaten as a snack, very much like it’s sibling the deviled egg.
Don’t let the colour fool you. These aren’t brown eggs, just eggs that have been bathing in a hot tub of strong tea, soy sauce and a spice mix of star anise, cinnamon and clove. If you want to go crazy, you can add other types of spices to modify the flavours too like orange peel, peppercorns, bay leaf and fennel seeds.
The eggs marinate long enough so that the flavours of the tea seep into the egg and the egg whites become a light brown. You can either crack a hole in each boiled egg or remove the shell altogether before simmering it in the marinade. You can even get a beautiful marbleized look too by cracking the egg shell firmly, but gently enough to keep it intact (you can use a spoon to assist with this). Either method, when you’re done allow the eggs to simmer in a vat of your strong tea flavoured concoction. As with most marination processes, keeping it in the spiced liquid longer will allow the flavours infuse more heavily into the eggs. Many even keep it in the concoction overnight!
The potential of having greyish edges of an otherwise golden yolk is due to overcooking. To avoid this, I would suggest making medium boiled eggs instead of hard boiled eggs before simmering it in the tea marinade. However, if at first you don’t succeed, don’t let that spoil the fun for you. The eggs have a savory, subtle tea taste to it which makes it great to snack on – perfectly cooked or not.