Salmon smoked in a bambook steamer with tea leaves, rice and sugar

A few weeks (months? time flies) ago thanks to The Twitters I was connected with the folks at one of my fave tea shops, David’s Tea. They sent over 3 different teas for me to do some experimenting in the kitchen with: Exotica, The Glow and Honeybush Lemon Ginger.

The obvious thing to make was some iced tea with some inclusions. Those will come, but with fall setting in I’m not really in the mood for iced tea. Then I remembered reading about a technique called tea-smoking. Tea-smoking is just what it sounds like – you smoke food using tea leaves. The tea leaves are combined with rice and usually sugar and you smoke away.

I’ve heard about this technique being used with fish and even chicken. Since I’m not much of a chicken fan I decided to smoke some salmon. I smoked salmon a few months ago using my wok with great results. I did a traditional smoke with wood chips. Knowing that my wood chip smoking worked I was totally pumped to try it with tea.

I wanted to do salmon with Asian flavours so I put together a simple marinade with a bit of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, honey and chili flakes and let it marinate for about an hour. My tea of choice in this case was the Honeybush Lemon Ginger because I thought that it mind lend a nice hint of citrus and ginger to the fish.

To smoke the fish I combined equal parts of the tea, brown rice and sugar. I lined my wok with aluminum foil and added my smoking mixture. Then I placed my bamboo steamer (loaded with the salmon) on top and started smoking. The mixture didn’t have any trouble smoking and burnt out quicker than expected. After about 10 minutes the salmon was cooked through.

For an extra blast of flavour I made a glaze of honey and ginger that I brushed on top of the finished dish.

Unlike wood-smoking, tea-smoking imparted a very subtle flavour to the fish. I definitely picked up on the grassiness of the tea leaves and also picked up a bit on the ginger (and not because it was in the glaze and the marinade). I think next time I’d play around with upping the amount of tea in the mixture to see how that works out.



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5 Responses to Tea-Smoked Salmon

  1. Michelle says:

    love that anyone can do this without a ton of equipment!

  2. Sarah says:

    Mmm this looks fantastic! And surprisingly simple to do as well. Great post!

  3. Franz says:

    I tried this out, but my salmon was not cooking out, so I had to leave more time, which turned out to be bad, as the final taste of smoke was way to strong. Any tips on that?

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