Tea-smoked chicken breasts recipe

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serves: 2
Skill: easy
Cost: cheap
Prep: 10 min
Cooking: 30 min
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  • 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.

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