Tea-Smoked Cod

Tea-smoking is a very traditional Chinese method. Instead of using wood chips, we use tea, rice, brown sugar, prickly ash, and salt. The best part is that you don’t even need a smoker!

This is usually used for chicken but fish works just as well. One way to get a better smoke is to marinate the fish for at least 20 minutes, and then make sure to pat dry the fish.

If the fish is too wet it will just steam instead of smoking.

OF course you can always use whatever fish you prefer, however I like to use more meaty fish like halibut and salmon.

As for the tea to use, I highly recommend using a Chinese tea like jasmine or oolong. The type of tea you use will greatly affect the flavor. I find that jasmine gives it a nice sweet and mild flavor while oolong- being a black tea- is much more robust and stronger.

Also it’s important to use white rice. If you use jasmine rice then that’s even better as it will make the fish smell much better.

To see how to turn a regular pan into a smoker, click the linkĀ How to make a home-made smoker.


tea-smoked cod


  • your choice of tea (jasmine, oolong, green, etc) about 1 1/2 tsp
  • white rice, about 2-3 tablespoons
  • 2 tsp. prickly ash (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 whole cod, scored and marinated with salt + 2 tbsp. shaoxing wine for 20 minutes, then pat dry


  1. prepare the smoker and add in smoking ingredients as well as steamer. Turn on high heat and cover with lid until you start to see smoke.
  2. reduce heat to medium high and add in the cod. Smoke for 20-30 minutes or until cooked through.
  3. Once cooked, let stand covered for another 5-10 minutes to impart more smoky flavor.
  4. serve and enjoy!

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