Tea-smoked Szechuan Chicken

Tea-smoked chicken
Tea-smoked chicken

Tea-smoked Szechuan Chicken

Balance the flavours in our adaptation of this classic Chinese recipe by @Redhousespice by smoking it in some of our mellow Madhūka 'Space' Tea.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 8


For the dry rub

  • 1 tbsp Madhūka Powder
  • 1 tsp Sichuan pepper
  • 0.5 Star anise
  • 0.5 tsp Sesame seeds
  • 0.25 tsp Fennel seeds
  • 4 tsp Salt

For the chicken

  • 1 Free-range chicken
  • 1 Stalk scallion, cut in halves
  • 1 Thumb-sized ginger, sliced

For the brushing sauce

  • 1 tsp Light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp Honey

For smoking the chicken

For the dipping sauce (optional)

  • 1 Stalk scallion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Minced ginger
  • 0.5 tbsp Neutral oil
  • 2 tbsp Light soy sauce
  • 0.5 tbsp Black rice vinegar


  • Make the dry rub: Put all the dry rub ingredients (with the exception of the Madhūka Powder) into a cold pan. Toast over low heat. Stir around from time to time. Once the colour of the salt slightly darkens, transfer everything to a mortar. Leave to cool then grind with a pestle (You may also use a spice grinder). Add the Madhūka Powder and mix thoroughly.
  • Marinate the chicken: With kitchen paper, pat dry the chicken thoroughly. Sprinkle half of the dry rub all over the chicken. Use your hand to gently rub for better absorption. Add the scallions and ginger. Leave to marinate in the fridge for 4 hours or longer.
  • Steam the chicken: Put a steamer rack in a carbon steel or cast iron wok. Fill with water (lower than the rack). Once it starts to boil, place the chicken on top of the rack with the breast side facing upwards. Bring the water to a boil then turn down the heat to medium. Cover the wok with a lid (If the lid isn’t tight enough, place a WET towel/cloth around the rim). Leave to steam for 40-45 mins. After 25 mins of steaming, open the lid and check the water level to prevent drying out. Top up with hot water if necessary.
    Tea-smoked chicken
  • Season the chicken: Leave the chicken to cool for 5 mins or so. Mix light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce and honey until well combined. Brush it over the chicken.
    Tea-smoked chicken
  • Smoke the chicken: Lay a piece of kitchen foil in the wok (cleaned and dried). Put Madhūka Powder, Madhūka 'Space' tea leaves and rice on top. Mix well then cook over medium-high heat. As soon as you notice smoke, place in the steamer rack and chicken. Cover with the lid immediately (Cover the rim with a WET towel/cloth if the smoke leaks). Turn off the heat after 8-10 mins (the longer the smokier the taste is). When you uncover the wok, turn on the extractor or take the wok outside to release the smoke. Transfer the chicken to a chopping board/serving plate. Brush sesame oil all over. Rest for 10 mins then serve.
    Tea-smoked chicken
  • Serve the chicken: Option 1: Tear the chicken into small pieces with hands (or chop it with a cleaver). Serve on its own or sprinkle some of the remaining dry rub over. Option 2: Make a dipping sauce: Put scallions and ginger into a bowl. Heat up the oil then pour over. Add light soy sauce and black rice vinegar. Mix well.
    Tea-smoked chicken
  • And just for fun! Serve wrapped in lettuce leaves for the perfect dinner party appetiser!
    Tea-smoked chicken

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