About this recipe:My friends and I used to hang out at a tea house in Chinatown and we'd always order tea eggs. These are much more attractive with a crackle glaze and are a fun snack to serve when guests come over to visit.
In a large pot, arrange the eggs in a single layer. Add enough water to cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn off the heat, cover, and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain and cover the eggs completely with fresh cold water.
When the eggs are cool enough to handle, tap each one gently with the back of a teaspoon to make fine cracks on the surface of the shell. Try to keep the shells intact. Set them aside.
In the same saucepan, bring 750ml water to boil. Add the soya sauce, star anise, and tea bags. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
Carefully lower the eggs one by one into the tea mixture. If the eggs are not completely submerged, add more water. Cover and simmer for 2 hours.
Turn off the heat and let the eggs steep in the tea mixture overnight. Peel part of one egg to see if the crackle glaze is dark enough. If not, steep them for a few more hours.
Drain the eggs, peel them and serve whole, halved, or quartered.
Unpeeled eggs can be refrigerated in a covered container for up to 4 days.
Make the eggs in bulk and serve during Chinese New Year when guests come to visit.
If you are in a hurry (or just lazy), skip steps 1 and 2. The eggs won't be as pretty but they will be just as tasty.