Celebrating Chinese New Year with Marbled Tea Eggs

Chinese New Year is a holiday that we haven't really celebrated much at our house before.  The culture behind it, however, was fascinating to my children, so I wanted to incorporate a few fun activities into our homeschool day so that they could learn more.

One thing I remember eating growing up was a "marbled" quail egg.  My neighbor was from Taiwan, and used to make them on special occasions for me.  After seeing that a similar version of regular chicken eggs was a dish eaten during Chinese New Year, I immediately wanted to recreate my experience with these odd but beautiful eggs!

I found a few recipes online, but most needed ingredients we did not stock in our pantry.  My local Walmart had soy sauce, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and black tea, however, so we did a more generic version for our experiment.

To make the eggs, we boil them as usual. (Note that our eggs are freshly gathered from our hens each morning.  Some are brown and others are white.)

Cool the eggs immediately by rinsing them in cold water, but SAVE the water in the pot for the tea we will be making.

After they have cooled, you will need to take the back of a spoon and "crack" the shells so that there are lots of tiny cracks in the surface, but not so that the shells actually break or fall off.

To prepare your tea, you may use (for 6 eggs): 1/2 cup soy sauce, 2 black tea bags, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 cinnamon stick.  Boil all of these ingredients with the eggs for about 3 minutes.  Turn down the heat to low, and simmer (with the lid on) for another 40 minutes.

After turning off the heat, keep the eggs in the tea for a minimum of 4-5 hours.  For better color, leave the eggs in overnight in the fridge.

Remove the shells very carefully from the eggs.  If you want the eggs to have bolder color, leave the membrane on the egg. (This will be difficult, but possible with fresh eggs.)  For eggs that are ready for eating, remove the membrane (the jelly-like covering on the egg).  The color won't be as bold, but the flavor will be just the same.

You will be left with a beautiful egg with a flavor I can't describe.  I'm not exactly wild about how they taste, but they are certainly a fun way to spend the afternoon.  The kids should have fun helping with this creative recipe!

Do you celebrate Chinese New Year or teach your kids about the holiday?


  1. I had heard about tea eggs but never really knew what they were.Thanks for the post! I will definitely have to try this with the kids.


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