You can do a lot more with tea than just make a morning cuppa. Heat them in a foil-lined pan to create a wonderfully fragrant smoke that infuses chicken with a delicate smoky aroma. In this recipe, first coat skinless chicken breasts with thyme, chillies and sugar, then gently smoke over a mixture of tea leaves, rice and brown sugar. The result is a pungent, hot coating not unlike jerk chicken with amazing soft and juicy meat.
- 2 chicken breasts, skinless
- For the coating:
- A little olive oil
- 1tbsp dried thyme
- 1tbsp black peppercorns, crushed in a pestle and mortar
- 1tsp dried chillies, crushed in a pestle and mortar
- 1tsp brown sugar
- ½tsp sea salt
- For the smoking mixture:
- Black tea leaves from 14-16 bags
- 4tbsp long-grain rice
- 2tbsp brown sugar
Put all the ingredients for the coating in a dish and roll the chicken breasts in it. Set aside in the fridge for a couple of hours.
When you’re ready to cook, carefully put the chicken breasts in a sieve or colander or steaming rack.
Line a large saucepan or wok with tin foil. Mix the ingredients for the the smoking mixture together and add to the bottom of the foil. Put the chicken (in the sieve/colander) on top of the pan and tightly cover with more tin foil.
Put the heat on the hob to the lowest possible setting and cook the chicken for 30 mins. After that time, remove the foil and leave the chicken to cool a little.
Once cool, carve the chicken on the diaganal into 0.5cm thick slices.
For the stir-fried noodles and vegetables, cook the noodles in a large pan of boiling water for 4-5 mins (or according to pack instructions). Drain and rinse under cold water and set aside.
Add the oil to a large frying pan or wok and stir-fry the sugar snaps and peppers for 4-5 mins until tender, then add the mushrooms.
Stir-fry for a further minute before adding 2 tbsp black bean sauce and 1 tbsp hot bean sauce and 1 tsp sugar. Stir, then return the noodles to the pan.
Top tip for making Tea-smoked chicken breasts
Serve with Japanese soba noodles, which are quite delicate and soft, cooked in boiling water for a couple of minute, then stir-fried with mushrooms, red pepper and sugar snap peas in a black bean sauce.