All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Gindara no aaru gurei sumooku / black cod smoked with Earl Grey tea

A great appetizer – the faint taste and aroma of Earl Grey tea spreads in your mouth as you munch. The flavor and scent of tea intensifies after a few days in the fridge.


1-2 fillets black cod (350 g in photo)

For marinade
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sake
1 tbsp mirin
3 green onions

For smoking
3 tbsp Earl Grey tea
3 tbsp sugar


Scale black cod if not already scaled (optional).


Cut green onions into 4-5 cm.


In a container, put soy sauce, sake, mirin, green onions and black cod, and marinate at least 24 hours.

Flip once or twice while marinating.


Line a deep frying pan, wok or pot with 2-3 layers of foil, and put Earl Grey tea and sugar.
Place a rack that fits above the tea and sugar without touching.
Heat up on medium to high heat.

When smoke starts to come up, place black cod on the rack, skin side down, and cover.

Reduce heat to medium low, and cook for 10-15 minutes.
Flip black cod, cover, and smoke another 15-20 minutes.

Remove from heat, and let cool.


Use a paper towel to absorb melted fat.
Keep refrigerated until serving.

  • The taste of Earl Grey becomes more noticeable after 1-2 days.
  • Green onions lighten the flavor but are optional for the marinade. If you do not add green onions, marinating 24 hours or slightly less is enough. Due to the high fat content (approx. 17-18%) of black cod, it takes quite a long time for the fish to absorb flavor.
  • If you use tea bags, it would take 8-9 bags to get the 3 tbsp of tea needed for smoking.
  • Tea does not need to be fresh. Used tea leaves (but dry them first), stale or forgotten tea in a cabinet should work fine. If uncertain, just use a little more.
  • If your fish is skinned, there is no need to flip it while smoking. But without flipping, the bottom side could turn quite dark.
  • Absorbing melted fat at the end helps to mitigate the fatty taste yet still allows the buttery texture to come through. If you skip this process, the fish tastes super rich, like pure butter.
  • Total smoking time is 25-30 minutes. The fish above was marinated for 26 hours and smoked for 27 minutes.
  • Keeps in the fridge for 1 week.

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