Warm Tea-Smoked Trout


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • For



Appears in

Cooking at the Merchant House

By Shaun Hill

Published 2000

  • About

Smoking is essentially a controlled form of tainting food. Those with a taste for kippers and hot-smoked salmon may like to experiment with this method before investing in a home smoke box for their personalized smoked garlic (nice), bloaters (quite nice) or lamb (not nice at all), all of which can be bought at a premium price in fancy shops these days.

Hot tea smoking is easy and requires no special equipment. The technique bears a strong resemblance to steaming, with pressure from hot smoke cooking and flavouring the fish in just a few minutes. Differences in the tea used and the temperatures reached will affect the final flavour. With a little modification, this treatment also suits larger and more firmly textured fish. For example, monkfish cut into slices and brushed with grapefruit juice produces a fine result.


  • 4 medium trout
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon light sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons black China tea
  • 3 tablespoons uncooked rice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • salt and pepper


Fillet the fish or – better – have someone else fillet it. Brush the fillets with the lemon juice and sesame oil, then season with salt and pepper.

Line the bottom of a wok or other deep pan with a folded square of kitchen foil and put in the tea, rice and sugar.

Place the fish on a steamer, wire rack or trivet above the tea mixture. Seal with a tight fitting lid, or more foil.

Cook at a high heat for 5 minutes, then switch off the heat and leave the wok unopened for 20 minutes.

Serve with a salad dressed with a little sesame oil and lemon.