Home » Singapore Cooking » Tea-smoked Fish Fillets Recipe

Tea-smoked Fish Fillets Recipe

Tea-smoked Fish Fillets Recipe

Tea-smoked Fish Fillets Recipe

Smoking food—especially duck or pork—over a mixture of tea leaves is a popular method of preparing and preserving food in the western Yunnan and Sichuan provinces of China. This excellent Singapore adaptation makes use of the abundant supply of local seafood.

Ingredients :

  • 600 g (11/4 lbs) seabass or other firm white fish fillet like snapper or garoupa
  • Fennel sprigs, to garnish (optional)
  • Pickled mustard cabbage (kiam chye)


  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) ice water
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) ginger juice (see note)
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Smoking Mix

  • 20 cloves
  • 5 star anise pods
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 3 cinnamon sticks (each 8 cm/ 3 in)
  • 5 tablespoons Chinese black tea leaves
  • 5 tablespoons uncooked rice

Method :

  1. Combine the Marinade ingredients in a bowl until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Drizzle the Marinade over the fish fillet and set aside for 3 hours. Then drain the fish, pat dry with paper towels and set aside.
  2. Heat a wok over low heat and add the Smoking Mix. Place the fish on a wire grill or round bamboo rack inside the wok at least 5 cm (2 in) above the Smoking Mix. Cover the wok and allow to smoke over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes until the fish takes on a light brown colour and is cooked through.
  3. Cut the fish into serving slices, garnish with fennel sprigs, if using, and serve either hot or cold with pickled mustard cabbage on the side.

Note : To make the ginger juice, grate 8 cm (4 in) young ginger to make 1/2 cup of grated ginger. Mix with 2 tablespoons water, then strain the mixture through a fine sieve, pressing with the back of a spoon, to obtain 1/4 cup (60 ml) of juice. If using a grill or charcoal fire, allow the charcoal to burn down to the red embers, then add the Smoking Mix, place the fish on the grill, cover and cook until done.

Serves 4
Preparation time : 20 mins + marination time
Cooking time : 15 mins


Source :
the food of Singapore
Simple Street Food Recipes from the Lion City
by David Wong & Djoko Wibisono
photos by Luca Invernizzi Tettoni
introduction by Lee Geok Boi


See also Singapore Cooking “Steamed Fish with Vinegar Soy Dressing Recipe”