Last year at Easter, a friend of mine showed me brown, marbleized-looking, peeled, hard-boiled eggs. I had never seen anything like it. Turns out the eggs had been dyed, through an interesting process, in black tea. Tea eggs are very popular in China where they use not only tea in the recipe, but star anise, cinnamon and other exotic flavors. These unusual eggs are beautiful in contrast and taste.
The best part is that it’s an all-natural way of coloring Easter eggs.
Tea-dyed eggs are now becoming more popular in the United States. All sorts of delicious teas are being used to change the color and flavor of the eggs. The best part is that it’s an all-natural way of coloring Easter eggs.
SerendipiTea in Manhasset showcases hundreds of teas from around the world, including many blends they make themselves. They recently posted a cool article on their Facebook page from The Daily Tea, which talks about tea-dyed Easter eggs and gives several recipes.
Who would have known that sencha green tea will give you a bright-yellow egg, or that a blue egg could be created by mixing black cherry tea and crushed blueberries? For orange, try a combination of rooibis tea and turmeric. My favorite color Easter egg—pink—can be made from black cherry tea and beet juice.
Be careful with hibiscus tea. Oddly enough, it will turn your egg gray. Avoid herbal teas; they can change the taste of the egg.
Here is the recipe from my friend. It is for the traditional Chinese tea egg, which calls for black tea leaves and will give your egg a brown, marbleized color. Have fun and enjoy!
1 dozen medium or large eggs
½ cup black tea leaves
2 pieces stick cinnamon
4-6 pieces star anise
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon salt
½ tablespoon sugar
Cover eggs with cold water and bring to a boil slowly so shells do not break. When the water starts to boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook 15 minutes. Let eggs cool, then using a large spoon, crack the shell carefully all over. Do not peel. Place cracked eggs in a pot and add water to cover. Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Partially cover and cook for 2½ hours or longer on low heat. Drain, cool and leave at room temperature or refrigerate. When ready to serve, peel and cut into 6 wedges lengthwise.