Life’s a Feast: Tea-smoked trout


Most of the fish caught in our lakes and sea can be smoked. Whether they be blue cod and king fish from the sea, or rainbow trout and quinnat salmon from the lakes, all are great choices that can be used in this recipe. The tea, star anise and cinnamon that I’ve used infuse the trout with an aromatic smoky flavour. The best part — you do not need a smoker. Either use your BBQ by laying tin foil with wood chips on a roasting dish and pop fish on a tray above, or simply use a wok and a rack as per below. This fish was caught by my nine-year-old Oscar on Lake Wakatipu which made the eating that much more satisfying! Enjoy.



200g green beans
1 cup cooked podded edamame
(soya bean)
250g asparagus
4 radishes, sliced thinly
Good bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
Good handful of chives, sliced thinly

2 tablespoons rice wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon sweet Thai chilli
Salt and Pepper

2 tablespoons rice wine
1-2 trout (depending on size) or other whole lake fish, gutted and descaled
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Sea salt (non-iodised else can leave bitter flavour)
3-4 stalks rosemary
1-2 stalks of thyme
2 lemons
3 star anise whole
1 cinnamon quill
10 teabags (not herbal)
1/4 cup uncooked rice
Tin foil


1. Combine all the dressing ingredients and set aside till ready to use.

2. Blanch (cook in boiling water) the beans and asparagus separately until just tender, usually only about 1 minute maximum. Run under cold water immediately to stop the cooking process.

3. Meanwhile line a wok with 2-3 layers of tin foil. Combine the star anise, cinnamon, rice and tea leaves emptied from their bags and tip on top of foil.

4. Rub the brown sugar and sea salt on to the flesh inside the fish, then stuff with the rosemary and thyme and a few lemon slices.

5. Place a greased metal rack into the wok. Place the fish on top of the rack and turn your BBQ or stove on to a high heat and cover with a sealed lid. Smoke the fish for about 5-6 mins on this heat, then lower the heat. Turn the fish at this point and cook for a further 5-6 mins on a low heat. Turn the heat off and let the fish rest in the smoky wok for a further 5-6 mins.

6. While this is happening, thinly slice the beans lengthways and chop the asparagus diagonally into 3-4cm pieces. Combine all salad ingredients in a bowl. Add dressing just before serving.

7.Once the fish is ready, transfer salad alongside the fish on a long serving platter, sprinkle with some parsley and add some wedges of lemon and guests can help themselves to the fish and salad.