Food, food culture, food as culture and the cultures that grow our food

I love smoking: tea-smoked salmon and a dessert borscht fit for a foot massage

July 11, 2004


In 6 steps from upper left;
1. Line a wok with aluminium foil and place a handful of any sort of rice on the bottom.
2. Place a goodly amount of delicious loose tea on top of the rice. Earl Grey is the best choice. You are about to create a smoker in which the rice and the tea are the smoldering fuel.
3. Place some granulated sugar on top of the tea.
4. Set a slab of salmon in a bamboo steamer over the rice, tea and sugar heap (other fatty fish work well too). Dust the fish with sea salt, freshly ground pepper, lime zest and sprinkle with lime juice. Cover with the top part of the steamer.


5. Wrap the entire contraption in alu foil so that the smoke from the soon-to-be-smoldering rice and tea can only go through the bottom of the bamboo steamer and delicately smoke the fish.
6. Place the wok+steamer on a large flame and blast the hell out of it for a good *2-3 minutes. Turn the flame down almost as low as possible and wait until you smell the heady burning tea escaping from the smoker. Every now and again place your hand on top of the bamboo steamer - it should be hot hot hot. After 15-20 minutes open up the smoker and poke your finger through the fattest part of the flesh. It should be cooked or almost cooked.
Serve immediately.
*(Be careful not to smolder the tea too vigourously or you will get a bitter smokey flavour. Instead, just relax.)


Guest and composer Daniel Carney has come all the way from Baltimore and said that this tea-smoked salmon is the best thing he’s ever eaten ‘ceptin the last dinner you made me’. (Better count the silverware.) His t-shirt says, ‘I love the Korean alphabet!’ The dessert borscht (actually just hangop, lime zest, lime juice and a wee bit of the ‘ol white death - baroquely drizzled with beet caramel) is inspired by the chilled Polish summer fruit soups and as well the Polish summer borscht. One bite of borscht and Daniel exclaims, ‘Dang, I do believe this is the weirdest dessert ever to have crossed my lips!’

Orly is ecstatic with the dessert borscht and asks, ‘What, you want a foot massage?’

(not pictured, Orly’s husband and Waimes piano restorer, Gijs Wilderom)

debra at 16:14 | | post to


  1. I am grateful for the tea-smoked zalm recipe, looks excellent and so SIMPLE! You are the goddess of the kitchen hearth, will you please post and / or publish your most amazing lasagne, the best known to mankind or dog Tristan? I have never ever eaten anything like it before or since, which shows what a maestra you are and also what a sad state of culinary disrepute this planet is in. We need you, Debra-Lou. Nouris-nous!!!!

    Comment by kecia-lou — July 13, 2004 @ 14:33

  2. what a nice thing to say kecia-lou! I will certainly post my lasagne recipe as soon as I make it again - which will be in the next 3 months. I don’t have any pictures of the lasagne so I’ll have to make it again. I’ll make it when I get back from FR FR.

    A mushroom one!

    Comment by debra — July 13, 2004 @ 17:42

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