Tea-Smoked Eggs with Caviar (Xunlong Yuzi Yanxun Dan)

  • Serves

    serves 4

These smoky, creamy-in-the-center eggs are topped with spoonfuls of caviar—a luxurious combination of flavors and textures. IN shanghai, this dish is prepared with Chinese duck eggs that containing a red yolk; they're unavailable in the U.S. Regular duck eggs make a fine substitute.


  • 4 duck eggs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 14 cup black tea leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. long-grain rice
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • Pinch of five-spice powder
  • 9 shiso leaves, 1 julienned
  • 4 tsp. caviar, such as sevruga or osetra


Step 1

Put the eggs into a small pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add salt, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, for 1 minute. Remove the pot from the heat and let sit, covered, to gently cook the eggs for 2 minutes. Immediately transfer eggs to a large bowl of ice water and let chill for 10 minutes. Drain. Gently crack and peel the eggs. Pat the eggs dry.

Step 2

Put the tea, rice, and 1⁄4 cup water into a small bowl and let soak for 3 minutes. Drain the tea mixture in a fine sieve, shaking out any excess water. Line a large flat-bottomed wok and its lid with heavy-duty aluminum foil, pressing the foil against the bottom. Spread the tea mixture in the bottom of the wok, sprinkle the flour, sugar, and five-spice powder over the top, and place a small metal heatproof rack over the mixture. Place the eggs on rack spaced 2" apart.

Step 3

Open your windows and turn on the exhaust fan. Heat the wok over high heat until the tea mixture begins to smoke, 2 1⁄2–3 minutes. Cover tightly with the lid and continue to smoke until eggs are tinged golden yellow, 5–6 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer eggs to a clean work surface. (Cool and discard the tea mixture.) Slice the eggs in half lengthwise and place each half atop a whole shiso leaf on a platter. Garnish the yolk of each egg with a dollop of caviar and a little of the julienned shiso leaf. Serve promptly.

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