Tea-smoked mackerel with green mango salad

Tom Kime smokes mackerel to impart a fragrant spiced aroma - a great combo with his sour green mango salad
By Tom Kime
Tea-smoked mackerel with green mango salad
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 2 mackerel, about 240-300g each, gutted and cleaned
  • 2 tsp soft brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • 100 ml vegetable oil
  • plain flour, for dusting

For the dry smoking mixture

  • 100 g white thai rice
  • 50 g loose-leaf jasmine tea
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, roughly chopped
  • 2 cm square ginger, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 100 g dried coconut
  • 4 star anise, broken
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds, crushed

For the green mango salad

  • 3 unripe green mango, or 2 unripe green papayas
  • 2 small red chillies, chopped
  • 3 sprigs coriander, with a little of the root, separated
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp small dried prawns, (optional)
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, quartered (the less ripe the better)
  • 3 cm piece palm sugar
  • 2 tbsp blanched unsalted peanuts, toasted
  • 2 limes, juice only
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce

Tips and Suggestions

If you do not have a lid for your wok, use a large upturned metal bowl and seal the edges with a large length of crumpled foil.


1. For the smoked mackerel: cut the head off the fish and discard it. Using a sharp knife, cut 3 deep diagonal slits down to the bone on each side of the fish.

2. Mix the sugar, soy sauce, lime juice and some freshly ground black pepper in a shallow bowl, then add the fish. Rub the marinade into the cuts in the flesh. Set aside.

3. For the dry smoking mixture: line a large wok with two layers of foil. Mix all the ingredients for the smoking mixture together and place in the centre of the wok, then set a wire rack on top.

4. Place the mackerel on the rack and a lid on top. Start the heat on medium-high so that the smoking mix starts to caramelise. Smoke the fish for 8 minutes, turn once, then smoke on the other side for another 8 minutes. Remove the wok from the heat and allow to cool with the lid on, so that all the smoke is contained.

5. Pat the smoked fish dry with kitchen paper and set aside.

6. For the green mango salad: peel the green mango (or papaya), discarding the skin, then continue peeling the pale green flesh of the fruit in thin strips, working all the way down to the stone.

7. Stack the slices of mango into piles of 5-6 pieces and, with a sharp knife, slice the stacks into thin matchsticks. Place in a salad bowl.

8. Pound the chillies, coriander root and garlic in a large mortar. Add a pinch of salt and continue pounding to a smooth paste. Add the dried prawns and pound again until smooth.

9. Tip in the shallots, cherry tomatoes, palm sugar and peanuts, reserving a few of the nuts for garnish. Pound a little more to break everything down, then add the lime juice and fish sauce and mix well.

10. Add 2 tablespoons of the chopped green mango to the mortar and mix well, then pour the contents of the mortar into the bowl of mango. Tear up the coriander sprigs and add to the salad, then set aside.

11. Heat a wok or large frying pan. Add the vegetable oil and heat until a crumb dropped into the oil sizzles straightaway.

12. Dust the smoked mackerel with a little flour and carefully add the fish to the pan. Spoon the hot oil over the fish and cook for 2 minutes on each side so that the skin is crisp and golden brown. Carefully lift out the fish and drain on kitchen paper.

13. Serve the fish with the salad, drizzling a little of the salad dressing over the mackerel too. Crush the remaining peanuts and scatter them over the dish to finish.

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