Jasmine Tea Smoked Chicken

I picked up a free range whole chicken from the shops.

This is the second whole chicken that I have faced in my entire life. I’m not sure why, but chicken just doesn’t feature highly in my diet.

I flicked through my current favourite tome of inspiration – Encyclopedia of Asian Food , and settled upon the Jasmine Tea smoked chicken

I did not have chinese rose wine. This is the first time I’ve heard of it. In fact, it’s not listed in the list of ingredients in the encyclopedia. Hmm.

Later exploration yielded the hungry excavator, whose dad makes grilled chicken wings using Chinese Rose Wine. The bottle contents looks clear, so it would not have helped with the colouring of the chook.

For 1 tablespoon chinese rose wine, I substituted ½ tablespoon of vodka, ½ tablespoon of rose water.

The chicken was prepared in the morning and left to marinate all day:
Chicken marinating

It didn’t look much different pre- and post- marinade. Perhaps you need to spike the skin a bit, or use something acidic in the marinade.

When I got home from work, I put it onto steam on my temperamental burner. On/off/on/off for 20 minutes.

I was also lacking brown sugar – so I used coconut sugar.

Here is the mixture for smoking the chook:
Smoking mixture

Then I smoked it for 20 minutes. A wonderful aroma of sweet tea and mild star anise (not as overpowering as from roasting a duck) filled the air and didn’t smoke out my kitchen. I also forgot to turn the burner to ‘low’ after the smoke escaped from under the lid (although it didn’t).

The juice ran out clear when tested, but the attachment point between the drumstick and the body was still a bit pink.

We carved off the breast meat, and put the bird on to smoke for another 10 minutes.

Jasmine tea smoked chook

Verdict?

The skin got most of the smoke/star anise flavour, with only a mild dose on the flesh. This was improved after I resmoked the bird, and part of it turned a slight yellow colour.

The smaller items – the chicken wings got the most intense hit of the smokey flavour, probably because the meat was thinner. I would try this recipe with a mass of chicken wings, although I am not sure how they would fit onto tiny little plate inside my stockpot.

Once I shredded the meat, it was delicious folded through a salad or in a sandwich. You picked up notes of sweet smokiness as you were eating.

Next time?

Use a dark soy sauce instead of a light one – this will help get you that colour on the chicken skin.

Try using eschalots or the white part of the spring onion as part of the ‘stuffing’.

Use the longer cooking times suggested. My bird was 1.2kg, but it still needed an extra stint in the smoker/steamer. I would probably smoke the chook outside – so I wouldn’t be so scared of smoking out my kitchen, and use a pot I didn’t care about so that it didn’t matter if the bottom got all blackened.

I was a bit disappointed that I ended up putting the remaining ‘cake’ of smoking mixture in the compost bin – what a waste of all that tea! Days later I realised that the Japanese genmaichai has little crispy nuggets of toasted rice in it – and perhaps I should’ve saved a tablespoon full of the smoking mixture to see what a ‘smoked jasmine tea with star anise and chicken extract’ tastes like brewed in a pot!

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