Tea-smoked Salmon

This tea-smoked salmon is the kind of dish that’s just begging for an occasion to show off. Cooked in this way, the salmon takes on a caramelised burnt sugar flavour that’s then enhanced by the sweet honey glaze. I’ve served this with simple sides like roast potatoes and a green salad. Alternatively, I’ve loaded the table with tortillas, fresh salsa, shredded lettuce and hot sauces and called it a ‘taco party’. Or you could serve it as part of an Asian-style banquet menu.

This is just one of the unexpected yet delightful recipes to be found in my latest cookbook, The Essential Wok Companion.


1 x 800g (1 lb 12 oz) skin-on salmon fillet, trimmed

finely chopped dill, to serve

lemon wedges, to serve


Quick pickled cucumber 

1 large Lebanese or Japanese cucumber, thinly sliced

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp white vinegar

½ tsp sea salt

1 tbsp finely chopped mint

1 tbsp finely chopped dill


Smoking mix

½ cup loose black tea

½ cup rice

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns

4 whole star anise


Honey glaze

¼ cup honey

2 tbsp Chinese light soy sauce

½ tsp dark soy sauce

  • Step 1

    For the quick pickled cucumber, combine the cucumber, sugar, vinegar and salt in a large bowl. Use your hands to rub the mixture into the cucumber slices, then set aside for 20–30 minutes. Squeeze and discard the liquid from the cucumbers. Mix the pickled cucumber slices with mint and dill, and set aside.

  • Step 2

    Place the salmon onto a piece of baking paper, skin-side down.

  • Step 3

    Line your wok with foil, letting some overhang. Then use a sheet of foil to create a shallow ‘bowl’ in the bottom of the wok. In a bowl, combine the ingredients for the smoking mix. Spread the mixture over the foil ‘bowl’ in the bottom of the wok. Set a round wire cake rack above the mixture. (You’ll need to fiddle around with this before you start cooking to make sure you have one that’s a suitable size. My cake rack is 28cm/11 inches in diameter and perfectly suitable for a 37cm/14½-inch wok). Then place the wok over high heat. Once the mixture starts to smoke, transfer the salmon (together with the baking paper underneath) onto the wire rack. Cover the wok tightly with a lid and use the excess foil to create an extra seal. Smoke the salmon for 10 minutes without lifting the lid.

  • Step 4

    For the honey glaze, place the ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes or until thickened slightly. Set aside for later. Preheat oven grill to high.

  • Step 5

    Use two flat spatulas to carefully lift the salmon off the baking paper and onto a baking tray lined with foil. Brush the salmon with the glaze. Place under the grill for 10–15 minutes or until the top turns a deep brown colour and the salmon is cooked through. Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with dill. Serve warm or cold with lemon wedges and quick pickled cucumber on the side.

  • Notes

    This recipe is featured in The Essential Wok Companion. In my latest book, I wanted to share a concise yet informative and practical yet inspiring guide to using a wok in your home kitchen. Rather than just recipes to follow, I would love this book to give you the technical tools and confidence to go your own way. I’m immensely proud of it and hope it will be of great value to you in your cooking endeavours. Order your copy today at cookdinehost.com.


    The size of your fillet will ultimately depend on what you can fit into your wok. I typically will order a ‘full side’ of salmon from my fishmonger (that means they literally take a whole fillet off one side). Then I measure up my piece when I get it back home and trim it down so that I get a nice centre piece. The offcuts of the salmon go into a freezer bag for a future dinner.

Marion's Kitchen is for everyone who finds joy in flavour and happiness in every bite. Marion's Kitchen is for everyone who finds joy in flavour and happiness in every bite.

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