Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"Drowning in Eggs"

That quote came in an email from my friend and fellow farmer, Emma Lincoln. She and her husband have a farm north of us called Lucky Duck Farm (www.kiyoshimino.com).

Emma brought us some delicious hard boiled eggs a few weeks back. They were all cracked looking and tea stained. They tasted spiced and were beautiful. She said it is a Japanese recipe.
So when I also was “drowning in eggs” I asked her for the recipe. Here it is…

For 6 eggs
Put the eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water.
Bring the water to a boil, turn of the heat, cover with a lid, and let sit for ten minutes.
Run the eggs under cold water, then tap all over with the back of a spoon to crackle the shell.
Rinse out the saucepan, put the eggs back in, and add:
- 2 tea bags (I used Oolong)
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 2 tsp salt
- 3-4 pieces of star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp whole peppercorns
- a little bit of dried orange peel or lemon peel
- water to cover the eggs

Then heat on low for 1-3 hours, turning the eggs periodically and adding water if the liquid gets too low.  The longer they cook, the more the flavor penetrates.

I tried it out, left them on low for four hours. I read my book “Future of Ice” by Miyazawa Kenji (1896-1933) while my eggs steeped.
What a beautiful book! I love his poetry as he talks so much about nature, using words that make me think. I like this simple one…

“A snatch of cloud
reflected on the wings
of a beetle nibbling parsley flowers
flies in the valley sky.”

Some are much deeper and you have to read each line slowly, savor each word, let them deepen in your head, then let them drift back up into consciousness, before you go on.

There is another longer poem I like about a cypress and how it changes from day to day. And an even longer one about a farm that he went to work on called “Koiwai Farm”. Apparently he worked on some farms when he was a young man.

So I checked my eggs and here’s how mine turned out.

Hm. Not much for pretty cracks showing, no decoration. Hm.

Ah ha! My eggs are brown to start with. Duh. So the tea dyed cracks didn’t show up on the outside like I wanted. I decided to steep them longer the next day...close to 8 hours total.
They turned out better, and on the inside they look like this…

Pretty cool looking!
And they taste pretty good. Not as good as Emma’s but I think that is because I had to substitute the oolong tea for all I had, which was china black. I’ll have to get some oolong and try it again. Yum!
I wonder about trying it with different recipes and colors. Maybe using beet juice to get pink lines. If you try it, let me know how they turn out!


  1. Nice Blog ! Thank you for your very nice articles. I look forward to visiting your site in the future! I like this very much.
    Methods of Modern Farming

  2. Wonder what an Easter basket full of these eggs would look like? Like you said, beets for pink, etc. What could be substituted for star anise? Not my favorite flavor.... If you make more, please let us see how they turned out. Great idea! And thanks to Emma too.

  3. If you wanted your recently line-stained eggs to not show so much of the white egg surface, could you then add a final step to soak them in an additional dunking of another tea colour/flavor (like a pale yellow), or even give them a light sprinkling/hand rub of some kind of spice like cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg or others? Just thinking of additional applications for variety.

  4. Oh Kris that looks so cool! Emma is such a great addition to our groups is she not? Great photos.