The basic recipe for marbled eggs came from my friend's parents, who are excellent cooks. I use a smokey Lapsang Souchong tea for intriguing flavor, and added some smoked sea salt and a touch of sugar to the cooking liquid. I devised a dry dipping salt as an accompaniment; the idea was suggested by dipping blends in Madhur Jaffrey's World of the East book of vegetarian cooking. The salt is also tasty as a dip for chunks of raw vegetables such as cucumber or cauliflower or sprinkled over a green salad with a lemony dressing. —creamtea
or 3-4 teabags of loose black Lapsang Souchong tea, such as "Hu Kwa" from Mark T. Wendell
coarse, smoked sea salt
fine sea salt
1/2 rounded teaspoons
coarse, smoked sea salt
(or teabag) of Lapsang Souchong tea
South African Smoked Spice blend, if available, or 1 teaspoon of smoked Spanish paprika
black sesame seeds, toasted, OR one small piece cinnamon bark (optional)
Bring eggs and water to cover to a boil in a saucepan. When water boils, remove from heat, cover, and allow to rest 12 minutes.
While eggs are coming to the simmer, prepare a medium bowl of ice water.
Carefully remove eggs from hot water to bowl of ice water.
With the back of a spoon, carefully crack the shells. Do not remove the shells; you want to create a network of cracks. It's o.k. if some cracks "cave in" a little.
Rinse pan. Add 4 cups of cold water and next six ingredients (remove printed tags if using tea bags). Add eggs. Bring pan to simmer over low to medium heat and simmer about 20 minutes to 1/2 hour or longer. The longer they simmer, the richer the color. Prepare another bowl of ice water.
Plunge the eggs into the ice water and shell them. If they sit in the shells, the yolks will develop that unattractive grayish covering. Peel from top point on down. The liquid will have created a pretty marbleized pattern and having done its job, can now be discarded.
To make the spice blend: in a spice grinder or small food processor (or using elbow grease and a mortar and pestle) combine the final six ingredients. If using cinnamon, you only need a portion of a one-inch piece (strike it once in a mortar and pestle to break it up and use one or two of the pieces). Whir the grinder for a few seconds to combine. Empty into a pretty condiment bowl. Stir in the sesame seeds.
Serve the eggs, accompanied by the dipping salt, as an appetizer.