Marbled Tea Eggs
Serves 12-18 as part of a selection of hors d'oeuvres.
1 litre/2 pints/4 cups water
3 tablespoons tea leaves
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon five spice powder
Put eggs in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring slowly to the boil, stirring gently (this helps to centre the yolks). Simmer gently for 7 minutes. Cool eggs thoroughly in cold water. Lightly crack each egg shell by rolling on a hard surface. Shell should be cracked all over, but do not remove.
Bring 4 cups water to the boil. Add tea leaves, salt and five spice powder. Add cracked eggs. Simmer, covered, for approximately 30 minutes or until shells turn brown. Let eggs stand in covered pan for 30 minutes longer (overnight if possible). Drain, cool and shell. The whites of eggs will have a marbled pattern on them. Cut into quarters and serve with a dipping sauce.
Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)