Mud Pies and Bones: Writing and Art

from the Rocky Mountains

Lucy Simpson

Lucy Simpson
Monument, Colorado, United States
December 20
The Cleaner
I am a published poet and exhibited artist living in the shadow of the small, but lovely Mount Herman, a part of the majesty of the Rocky Mountains. I raise children, tend gardens, cook, write, clean, sculpt, read.....................................................................................


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APRIL 18, 2010 12:18AM

Tea-Smoked Eggs With Wolfberries and Nori

Rate: 3 Flag

A few weeks ago while I was in Portland at the Lan Su Gardens' tea house, I had the pleasure of trying their tea-smoked eggs.  The dish was a dazzling infusion of flavors.  Still it was far lovelier to look at than it was to eat.  The texture was decidedly mealy.   Everyone at the table agreed.  I decided to create my own soft-textured variety on my return to Seattle.

 Here follows my recipe for tea-smoked eggs with wolfberries and nori.

Tea-Smoked Eggs with Wolfberries and Nori


4 free-range large brown chicken eggs
4 star anise
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
6 cups water
1 tablespoon chicken fat (from stock)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon lychee black tea
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup dried wolfberries (also called goji berries)
1 sheet toasted nori seaweed
sesame oil to drizzle

Set eggs in pot with water, cover, and bring to a boil for two minutes.   Save the boiling water.  Remove eggs and run under cold water.  Let eggs sit.  Roll eggs to create cracks that will look pretty and allow flavor to penetrate into the eggs.

Bring reserved water to a boil.  Add star anise and salt to simmer for twenty minutes.  Mix in soy, chicken fat and sugar and heat until incorporated.  Set pot aside to cool for twenty minutes.    Add eggs to mixture and soak for an hour.

Soak wolfberries in hot water to rehydrate and cut nori seaweed into strips.

Remove eggs with a slotted spoon and coat eggs in sesame oil for flavor and to prevent sticking during smoking.. 

Line your wok with tin foil to make clean up easier.   Sprinkle in the tea leaves and the brown sugar.  Put in a bamboo steamer or a metal rack.  Arrange the eggs on the steamer.  Turn heat to medium and cover wok.  Wok should smoke, but not burn.  You may have to turn up the heat to acquire the necessary smokiness.  Smoke twenty minutes. 
Arrange eggs on a platter with nori and wolfberries.  The eggs had a wonderful smoky flavor, distinct from any egg I had ever eaten.  The lichee blossoms and black tea leant them a fruity flavor, while the anise gave them spiciness.  The golden centers were soft, but not gooey.  The whole experience was visually and texturally satisfying.

After Eating the Tea-Smoked Eggs

We ingested our little suns
with that hint of smoke
the scent of earth
the promise of wings

We slept in our beds
and things were born
and things died
and it was like 100 years

egg time – egg timer
and the sun rose again
and we repeated the ritual
of the egg

cracking the veneer
a parlor trick
played at the table
in every house

Lucy Simpson, 4/2010

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I have the sense I've had tea-smoked eggs before, but can't recall the occasion. I can taste these, though, Lucy, through your gifted writing.
This seems so exotic, I'm impressed with anyone who would try this at home. I love the poem, especially the first stanza about the egg - they are suns, of the earth, with the promise of wings. I'll be thinking about that every time I make eggs for breakfast.
Very impressive, Lucy, and an intersting improvisation. Must have been good to inspire your poem.