31 July 2013

Sri Lankan Tea Smoked Trout Pate

So whilst in Sri Lanka I set myself a challenge- a challenge that seemed way easier when on holiday, free from doubt and enthused by a tour round a Sri Lankan tea plantation.
The challenge = to tea smoke my own trout!
This involves dry smoking the fish over a high heat in a sealed metal container to create smoke until the fish is delicately flavoured and flakes straight off the bone.
This challenge proved a LOT harder when I finally got round to it at home.
Firstly I'd neglected how I was going to construct this homemade DIY structure and secondly- the weather was doing me no favours and so I had to smoke the fish indoors- leaving the kitchen smelling of burnt tea for quite a few days after!
After a tour round one of the famous Sri Lankan tea plantations, I bought one of their strongest flavoured loose leaf tea blends.
Tea is a major export in Sri Lanka, with roughly 670 tea factories and weekly auctions held in the capital, Colombo.
UVA Halpawatte Tea Factory is situated in the hills of Ella surrounded by beautiful landscaped tea plantations where the tea pickers work every day to pick the fresh tea leaves.

Photos taken by my talented friend, Hannah Matthews

We also walked up to Lipton Seat- known to be Sir Thomas Lipton's (the creator of the Lipton tea brand)favourite look out post.

Whilst travelling the country, we also got to sample some of the other delicious Sri Lankan food. We mainly lived off a diet of curry for lunch and supper- which can be a little hard to handle! But the curries here are so different from the curries at home- they are not so rich and thick but instead consist of curried vegetables, delicious fried rice accompanied by dahl lentils and various pickles. 
One of the staple foods in Sri Lanka is the roti- a sort of flatbread, made fresh and usually filled with a spicy mix of meat, egg and vegetables. 

Here you can see the process of roti making

Having visited the tea factory, I came away knowing a lot more about the tea I drink:
The tea produced at this factory is defined by four qualities:

1. Colour
2. Flavour
3. Quality
4. Strength

They use four main processes to transform this pure tea including drying, grinding, adding oxygen and separating the tea into the different varieties. The strongest tea was produced by the finest grains and the bigger the loose leaf tea, the weaker and paler the cup of tea.
Unfortuntaly we weren't allowed to take any photos inside the actual factory rooms but I came away with a beautiful wooden box full of loose leaf tea.
And so I decided, what better way to use the tea than to infuse its deep flavours into a fish pate?!
I'd seen the Baker Brothers do a very rustic tea smoked trout recipe on their TV show and so decided to give it a go.

Mine was a bit more DIY!- I propped my grill stand up with cookie cutters!

To make your pate:


50g caster sugar
50g sea salt
50g soft brown sugar
150g rice
50g loose leaf tea
Drizzle of olive oil
2 rainbow trout
Salt and black pepper

100g creme fraiche
A good pinch of paprika
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Fresh chives, dill and parsley- finely chopped
1tbsp horseradish
Salt and pepper

Recipe source: http://scrapbook.channel4.com/bookmarkBar/514842b9e4b0f57ba738c122

To tea-smoke your trout:

Prepare the trout by washing them thoroughly and then lay them on a tray and rub over the caster sugar and salt- covering the whole fish. Then set aside for 30 minutes in order to firm up the flesh. 

In the meantime, construct your smoking apparatus. I used a big roasting tin that I lined with tin foil. Then measure out the brown sugar, rice and loose leaf tea and mix together in the bottom of the tin. 

Then prop up a wire rack for the fish to sit on. I used cookie cutters to ensure my wire rack was suspended over the tin!
Lay the fish on the wire rack and then use another roasting tin as a tight fitting lid.

Place directly over a high heat and once smoke starts to form, cook the fish for 6-8 minutes. Then turn the heat off, keep the lid on and allow the fish to sit until completely cooled. 

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mix together the creme fraiche, paprika, horseradish, lemon zest and juice and fresh herbs. Mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Once the fish has fully cooled, carefully peel away the skin and then flake away the flesh from the bones. Once you have removed all the flesh, discard the head, tail and bones and then carefully fold the flaked trout into the creme fraiche mixture. 

Chill the pate in the fridge over night and then serve with a squeeze of lemon.


  1. Thank you for sharing these photos! That does sound like a challenge to smoke your own trout!

    1. Thanks Ashley! It was a challenge but definitely worth it at the end!xxx

  2. Well done Katie! Looked a lot of effort with a fantastic result at the end! Yum yum

    Cocktails and Caroline

    1. thanks Caroline- I really enjoyed attempting something so different! zzz

  3. Such a lovely story to go with the recipe. That must have been such an amazing experience to learnt about the tea journey from the leaves to the pot.
    Massive well done to you gurl for smoking your own fish!
    I bet it tasted delishy-fishy!
    x x x

    {The Lobster & Me}

    1. it was yum:) and really nice to see the ladies at work- they work such long hours in the humid heat!xxx

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks Pamela!- I'm still saving up for a good camera so had to borrow these lovely photos from my friend Hannah- who's very talented!xxx

  5. What a beautiful post! That pâté looks divine...well done you for persisting, the payoff must have been well worth it!

    Cheers Em xxx

    1. Thanks Em- it was surprisingly light and I love the smoky taste!xxx

  6. I love your photos, its so different to places I've been to before, I love how the locals dressxx

    1. me too- it was completely different to anything I'd experienced. I'm so glad I had long enough there to fully immerse myself in their culture! xxx


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. It's really appreciated and lovely to hear some feedback. Katie x