Sunday, June 23, 2013

Home Smoked Trout

Yesterday I came upon some fresh trout at a third of their normal price and, of course, I had to buy them but I couldn't use all of them up at once.  It also seemed a waste to pop these beautiful fresh fish in the freezer - then I remembered a conversation I had a very long time ago with one of my daughter's friends.  Nick was always interested in food and went on to be part owner of one of the top cafe/eateries in Sydney, Single Origin.  Anyway, this particular day he was telling me about how to smoke your own fish at home in a wok using, as the smoking mixture, black tea, brown sugar and basmati rice.

I always thought that the process of smoking food would be incredibly complicated and time consuming, but no, it is really simple!   I have wanted to try it ever since then and it proved to very straightforward and quick - and we had beautiful smoked trout and poached eggs for breakfast.
Before smoking

This is a really easy way to make your own delicious smoked food.  As well as any kind of fish, you could use duck or chicken breast.  Experimenting with the smoking mixture is half the fun and I want to try adding to the tea mix some star anise and orange peel for the duck, and rosemary and thyme sprigs for the chicken - I'll let you know how it goes.

A wok
A cake trivet that fits snuggly just above the bottom of the wok
4 sheets of foil, to line the wok making sure you have some surplus at the top
A lid for the wok - I don't have one so I use a metal pizza tray
1/3 cup of basmati (or jasmine) rice, 1/3 cup black tea leaves, 1/3 cup brown sugar, mixed together - THIS IS THE SMOKING MIXTURE
After smoking

Line the wok with the foil
Put the mixed smoking mixture in the bottom of the wok and place the trivet over it
Lightly grease the top of the trivet (to stop the fish from sticking) and place the fish on top.
Have the lid ready, but don't put it on yet because you need to see when the mixture starts to smoke so you can time it.
Put the wok on a high heat - I use the wok burner of my barbecue and do it outside - just in case some of the smoke escapes.
As soon as the tea mixture starts to smoke seal the lid on the top with the foil and turn down heat to medium.
NOTE:  The smoke needs to circulate so don't have a lid that is too close to the fish.
Leave this smoking with the heat on for 10 minutes, then turn out the heat and leave for 5 minutes then remove the fish from the wok.  Don't leave the fish in the wok for any longer or the taste will deteriorate - think old bonfires!

NOTE: You can use any find of fish - whole or fillets.  If using fillets the thicker cuts are better.  Adjust the smoking time according to size, but always leave just for 5 minutes only after smoking.

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