Tea-Smoked Wild Salmon

Spices to smoke the salmon

I have never made tea-smoked fish before and it was a fun experience. It is a must try if you love salmon.  The end result is a lovely mahogany colored fish with a smoky flavor.  I think that this would be a great recipe for camping as well. It can get pretty smoky if you do not ventilate the kitchen well. It is a dish that would pair well with your favorite salad or vegetables.I ended up serving it with roasted carrots and yams over a mixed green salad.

This was my third recipe from Oprah Winfrey’s new cookbook called Food, Health, and Happiness: 115 On-Point Recipes for Great Meals and a Better Life.

Tips: Keep the windows open for good ventilation. Or if you can, make it outdoors.

Tea-Smoked Wild Salmon

Prep Time: 4 hrs (including 2 hrs for marinade)
Cook Time: 30 mins
Yields: 4


  • Marinade: 1/3 cup soy sauce, 1 tbsp agave nectar, zest and juice of 1/2 orange, 1 clove garlic, gated on a microplance, 1 tsp minced or grated ginger, zest of 1 lime, juice of 2 limes, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, 1 1/2 lbs king salmon
  • For smoking the salmon (note: these ingredients are not eaten): 1/4 cup uncooked jasmine rice, 1/4 cup jasmine or black tea leaves, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, 6 whole star anise, 1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger sliced, 6 black peppercorns, 1 cinnamon stick crushed, extra virgin olive oil cooking spray
  • Garnishes: 1 tsp toasted sesame oil, 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts, 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, 1 tbsp sesame seeds


  1. To make the marinade: In a small bowl, whisk together all the marinade ingredients. Place the salmon in a large zip-top bag and pour the marinade over the fish. Secure the bag, place it in a bowl and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 1 to 2 hrs, turning the bag occasionally to make sure all parts of the salmon soak in the marinade.
  2. Remove the salmon from the marinade and discard the marinade and bag. Place the salmon on a plate and pat dry with paper towels. Put it back in the refrigerator for at least 1 hr or overnight. When you take it out, it should feel dry but slightly sticky-this will allow the fish to soak up as much of the smoke flavor as possible.
  3. To smoke the salmon: Line a wok or stovetop smoker with 2 squares of heavy-duty foil. In a small bowl, combine the rice, tea leaves, brown sugar, star anise, ginger, peppercorns, and cinnamon and spread the mixture on top of the foil. Fold the edges of the foil over the mixture to make a packet.
  4. Heat over medium-high heat until it starts to smoke. Put a wire rack or metal vegetable steamer over the smoking spices and place the salmon on top. Lightly coat with cooking spray and cover the wok with a lid.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and smoke for 20 minutes, or until the salmon is a beautiful mahogany color and just cooked through. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the fish. Serve drizzled with sesame oil and scattered with the scallions, cilantro, and black sesame seeds.

Additional Info

The Tea-Smoked Wild Salmon recipe is from Food, Health, and Happiness: 115 On-Point Recipes for Great Meals and a Better Life, published by Flatiron Books.

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