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Tea Smoked Chicken

Recipe for 4



  1. Combine 10 cups water, soy sauce, the rice wine, some sea salt, the sesame oil, 1tbsp Sichuan peppercorns, the ginger, 1 cinnamon quill and 1 star anise in a large pan. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Let the liquor cool completely. Now add the chicken, breast side down and cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  2. Transfer the chicken from the liquor and place in a shallow heat-proof bowl that will fit inside a bamboo steamer. Place the bowl inside the steamer and cover. Put the remaining water into a wok and bring the boil and place the covered steamer in the wok and steam the chicken for 45 minutes, replenishing the water should it get low.
  3. Brush oil onto a metal rack.
  4. Turn off the heat and remove the chicken from the steamer and then place it on the rack. Drain any liquid from the chicken - check the cavity and combine this with any liquid remaining from the steaming in a bowl. Keep this flavoured liquor for serving with the finished chicken later.
  5. Combine the tea, rice, sugar, 1tbsp Sichuan peppercorns, orange peel, 1 cinnamon quill and 2 organic star anise in a large bowl. Line a large wok or pan with 2 to 3 layers of strong foil with a 8 cm overhang. Pout the tea mixture into the lined pan. Now place the chicken on its rack over the mixture, ideally 6cm over the tea mixture. You may want to open the window now or put on your extractor fan!
  6. Turn the heat onto high and the chicken will start smoking in 3 minutes. Cover the wok or pan with a lid and crimp over the foil to enclose the smoke as much as possible. Smoke for 15 - 20 minutes, then switch off heat and allow pan/wok to rest for 5 minutes, then carefully remove the lid - well away from your face. It should be getting brown now. If it's not dark brown, reheat the smoking mixture and smoke for another 5 - 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Carefully remove the lid and transfer to a plate. Cut into good portions and serve warm with any reserved cooking liquor.


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