Marketplace Tea Eggs | Cinder

This recipe comes from one of my favorite blogs full of recipes from A Song of Ice and Fire, Inn at the Crossroads, as part of breakfast in Meereen fit for a queen. However, with their stained, antiqued shells and their spooky, spiderwebby pattern, they’re also perfect for your Halloween table.

I also suggested these for our Fiction Kitchen episode on Cinder by Marissa Meyer, a book in The Lunar Chronicles series. Some of my favorite scenes in Cinder took place in the market, where Cinder has her fix-it shop. I imagined crowded shops, charmingly messy displays, and lots of passersby. If you’re doing market shopping, you definitely need to keep up your strength with some market snacking, like some kids in the book who were munching on tea eggs. These are a classic Chinese street food, lightly salty and delicately flavored with spices and citrus, and can be served as is or with a little soy sauce for dipping.

Illustration by Mira Pau

Tea Eggs

Recipe from Inn at the Crossroads

  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tea bags (black)
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 3 strips orange peel

Place the eggs in a medium pot and cover with water by 1 inch. Bring ta boil, then lower the heat and let simmer for 3 minutes. Remove the eggs (leaving the water in the pot) and let cool under cool water.

When cool enough to handle, gently crack the eggshells with the back of a teaspoon, being careful to keep the shell intact. The more you tap, the more intricate the marbled pattern will be.

Return eggs to the same pot with the boiling water and add in the soy sauce, sugar, tea bags, star anise, cinnamon stick, peppercorns and orange peel. Bring to a boil then immediate reduce to a very low simmer. Simmer for 40 minutes, then cover and let steep for a few hours minimum, ideally overnight.

The Morbid Homemaker’s Podcast suggests making these eggs with blueberry juice, then sprinkling with gray smoked salt – creepy!

Recipe for Fiction Kitchen Episode 17: CINDER in which Diana and Carrie discuss the classic Cinderella fairytale – with a futuristic, robotic, cyberpunk twist! – in the Marissa Meyer novel Cinder, first book in the Lunar Chronicles series.