How to Make Marbled Quail's Eggs

Hard-boiled quail's eggs reboiled in smoky China tea assume a pretty marbled effect. Dip them into a fragrant spicy salt and hand them round with drinks, or serve them as a starter. Szechuan peppercorns can be bought from oriental food shops.


  • 12 quail's eggs
  • 600ml/1 pint/2 1/2 cups strong lapsang
  • souchong tea
  • 15ml/1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 15ml/1 tbsp dry sherry
  • 2 whole star anise
  • curly endive, ground Szechuan
  • peppercorns and sea salt, to serve


  1. Image titled Make Marbled Quail's Eggs Step 1
    Place the quail's eggs in a saucepan of cold water and bring to the boil. Time them for 2 minutes from the moment when the water comes to the boil.
  2. Image titled Make Marbled Quail's Eggs Step 2
    Transfer the eggs from the pan to a colander and run them under cold water to cool. Tap the shells all over so they are crazed, but do not peel the eggs.
  3. Image titled Make Marbled Quail's Eggs Step 3
    In a large saucepan, bring the tea to the boil, then add the soy sauce, sherry and star anise. Add the eggs and boil again for about 15 minutes, partially covered, so the liquid does not boil dry.
  4. Image titled Make Marbled Quail's Eggs Step 4
    Remove the eggs from the pan. When they are cool, peel and arrange on a small platter lined with curly endive.
  5. Image titled Make Marbled Quail's Eggs Step 5
    Mix the ground Szechuan peppercorns with an equal quantity of of salt and place the mixture in a small dish to serve with the eggs.


  • Szechuan peppercorns are dried reddish brown berries from a shrub native to Szechuan. They are not so hot as the true peppercorn, but have a numbing effect and a distinctive aroma. They are roasted, ground, and the husks discarded before use.

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Categories: Eggs and Dairy