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1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
3 whole star anise
2 sticks Chinese cassia or cinnamon
1 tea bag of any smokey tea such as lapsang soushong
5 chicken eggs
20 ice cubes
1. In a two-quart pot, add two cups of water and the soy sauce, sugar, cloves, fennel seeds, peppercorns, star anise, and the cinnamon sticks. Tear the tea bag open and add the tea leaves to the liquid. Bring this to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for fifteen minutes. Then strain and discard the solids.
2. In another small pot, put in the eggs, then two cups of cold water. Bring to just below the boiling point, reduce the heat, and simmer the eggs for ten minutes. Then take them out and discard the water. Use a pot holder and gently roll the eggs just until the eggs begin to crack. Do not break the membranes, just the shells, and do not peel the eggs.
3. Put the strained liquid into the pot with the eggs, and bring to the boil, reduce the heat somewhat, and simmer for eight minutes. Next, steam the eggs for twenty minutes. Peel the eggs, and serve.