Saturday, 23 November 2013


Tea smoked Salmon with Soy & Ginger glaze , Soba noodles , shitake mushrooms , Sugar-cane fed Golden oyster mushrooms , pea shoots , wakame shiro miso and toasted sesame seeds.

                        Flavour explosive is how to describe this asian noodle dish. Exploring the flavours of Japan as you go from smokey and saltiness in the cured tea smoked salmon to the sweet spicy soy and ginger glaze and the Unami flavour of the wakame seaweed white miso to the subtle sweet nutty flavours of the oyster mushrooms. I came across the technique of tea smoking or wok smoking about 10 years ago from an article I kept out of the cooking section of the weekend paper. I've seen variations since with different teas and barks and the original recipe had jasmine tea, I used plain green tea for this dish. Tea smoking in my opinion is the quick, practical, and not messy way to smoke food and can be done in a kitchen with hood extraction with just a stock pot or wok with a fitting lid and a wire rack on a stand or legs to fit midway in the pot or wok. The flavour is very close to a cold smoked products if the balance of curing time is right to the size of the product as this effects the overall saltiness and the smoking time as this process is hot smoking or direct smoking the product can become dry if over smoked. For a general rule a 150g portion (15mm thick) should cure between 2-3 hours and be smoked for 6 minutes with 3 of those with heat still on and the remaining 3 minutes with no heat source.
                      Curing the salmon was the starting point to this Japanese flavoured dish. After washing and cutting the fish in to serving size portions I rubbed the salmon in a 50/50 mix of sea salt and sugar and then placed the fish and the salt sugar mix in a ziplock bag in the fridge to cure for a couple of hours. Meanwhile I made start on the soba noodles which are Japanese noodles made of buckwheat flour and can be served hot or cold and have a chewy texture if cooked right. The noodles like pasta takes a bit of time, and a began by bringing together one part wheat flour to three parts buckwheat flour with water to form a dough. I then kneaded the dough for 5-10 minutes until smooth and then I wrapped the dough in clear film placing in a cool spot to rest for half an hour. Once rested the dough was rolled out using potato starch to 2 mm thick folded in two and cut with a sharp knife into 2 mm strips. The strips were then cooked in batches in a simmering stock of shitake mushroom, miso paste and ginger until just tender before being removed, drained and coated in some sesame oil and set aside for later. To make the glaze I reduced some soy sauce, mirin, sliced ginger and sesame oil until thick, the ginger was removed and the glaze was set aside. Next was to smoke the fish, I set up my smoking vessel over a bbq burner. I do my tea smoking outside and I have a portable hooded charcoal barbecue I use which has legs and can put on any heat source indoor or out. I then made a boat from foil and inside I put the smoking ingredients which consisted of jasmine rice, brown sugar, green tea, peppercorns and the zest of an orange before placing the boat at the bottom of the dry smoker. With the lid on tight I turned the heat on high and filled the vessel with smoke, during this time I rinsed the salmon under cold water removing all the salt brine and pat dry before placing on a rack. Once the smoker was full of smoke I placed the rack of fish in the smoker so it sat about 15 cm from the boat, I then smoked the salmon for 3minutes presentation side down before turning the heat off, flipping the fish and smoking with no heat for a further 3 minutes. The fish was then removed to plate. Just before plating I toasted some sesame seeds in a dry pan to bring out the oils in the seeds and pan fried some shitake and some of my own grown sugar cane fed golden oyster mushrooms in a little peanut oil which is light and used in asian stir-frying.  
                      To plate I made a brush stroke of the Soy and ginger glaze placing the salmon in the middle on a diagonal. The fish was flanked either side with the soba noodles and topped with the glaze, a squiggle of wakame seaweed white miso paste and toasted sesame seeds. The plate was then finished with the mushrooms and a garnish of fresh crunchy pea shoots.



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