I was walking home last night and the air was thick with the wonderful smell of barbecues. Oh, how I love those smokey notes, and especially in my food!
Barbecue wood chips, liquid smoke or bits of smoked bacon, whether you are grilling or not, there are plenty of tricks to infuse our favourite dishes with subtle smokiness.
But have you ever considered tea?
Lapsang Souchong is a unique black tea from the Fujian province in China, made of mountain-grown tea leaves and smoked over pine needles.
Traditionally, the leaves are smoke-dried over pinewood fires and this gives it a strong, smokey flavour, reminiscent of a campfire or a barbecue. Many people love this, though some are not very fond of it. It’s basically the tea-drinking equivalent of a peaty scotch or a cigar.
Open up a bag of this stuff, and you are immediately transported to a summer barbecue!
This tea is also perfect for whenever you want to add a hint of smoke to a dish. It makes a great rub for meat or and works well ground into burgers. Off the grill, you can add a few teaspoons to soups, braises, and dips like hummus and baba ghanoush.
You can also turn to this tea when you are cooking vegetarian dishes and want the savoury and umami qualities of meat without, obviously, using actual meat!
If you’d like to try using Lapsang Souchong in your own cooking adventures, we find it easiest and most effective to use a spice grinder to grind up about a half cup or so of the tea into a fine powder.
Store it in a recycled spice jar and use a teaspoon or two at a time. This powder keeps for about three months.
If you would like to know more about our recipes, please contact us!