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Tea Smoked Tilapia |

Tea Smoked Tilapia

  • Author: by Deanna Segrave-Daly, RD
  • Yield: 4 - 6 servings 1x


The basic tea bags in your pantry can deliver amazing flavors beyond the tea cup. Use black tea leaves to make this Chinese style smoked tilapia.


  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup black tea leaves (from 16 tea bags)
  • ½ cup uncooked jasmine or any long grain rice
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 pound tilapia filets
  • Lemon slices


  1. Mix vinegar, oil, ginger, pepper and salt in a large resealable bag. Add fish and marinate in refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  2. Line bottom of wok or large skillet with aluminum foil. Add tea, rice and sugar; mix together.
  3. Turn on the vent and open your kitchen windows! Heat over medium high for 7-8 minutes (until sugar starts to melt), stirring occasionally.
  4. Place fish in a steamer and place over tea mixture (or place fish onto a grid of chopsticks laid over tea/sugar/rice mixture.) Cover tightly and cover any exposed area between wok/skillet and steamer with damp kitchen towels. Reduce heat to low and smoke for 15-20 minutes, until fish flakes and is cooked through.


Method adapted from Min Tsai’s Tea Smoked Trout w. Thai Cucumber Tomato Salad