Some of my favorite scenes in Cinder took place in the market, where Cinder has her fix-it shop. I imagined crowded shops, charmingly messy displays, and lots of passersby. If you’re doing market shopping, you definitely need to keep up your strength with some market snacking, like some kids in the book who were munching on tea eggs. These are a classic Chinese street food, lightly salty and delicately flavored with spices and citrus. The striking spiderwebby pattern is lovely and interesting.
Recipe from Inn at the Crossroads
- 6 eggs
- 3/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tea bags (black)
- 2 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tablespoon peppercorns
- 3 strips orange peel
Place the eggs in a medium pot and cover with water by 1 inch. Bring ta boil, then lower the heat and let simmer for 3 minutes. Remove the eggs (leaving the water in the pot) and let cool under cool water.
When cool enough to handle, gently crack the eggshells with the back of a teaspoon, being careful to keep the shell intact. The more you tap, the more intricate the marbled pattern will be.
Return eggs to the same pot with the boiling water and add in the soy sauce, sugar, tea bags, star anise, cinnamon stick, peppercorns and orange peel. Bring to a boil then immediate reduce to a very low simmer. Simmer for 40 minutes, then cover and let steep for a few hours minimum, ideally overnight.