Matcha-smoked chicken with mango rice salad

Matcha-smoked chicken with mango rice salad



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This unusual recipe uses a double dose of matcha to infuse tender chicken breasts with a delicious tangy, zesty flavour. First they’re brined in a mixture of matcha, honey, salt and peppercorns to plump up the meat and permeate it with all that aromatic flavour. Next, they’re smoked over a mixture of sugar, rice and matcha, cooking the meat while perfuming it with the addictive tang of salty smoke, enriched with delicate, emerald matcha. If you don’t have a home smoker, you could use a large lidded wok with a rack placed inside – the important thing is to nestle the aromatic mixture of rice, sugar and tea in the bottom, where it can ‘catch’ and start to perfume the meat.

Once you’ve tried home smoking meat and fish, you may find it quite addictive, and you can experiment with a whole range of woods and teas for flavour. Matcha is delicate but wonderfully fragrant, and adds a subtly bitter note to the chicken that stops it from cloying. All smoked food is very rich, though, so this chicken is great served with a fruity, zingy salad of ripe mango, crunchy green beans, nutty brown rice and a tangy dressing of lime juice, ginger and rice vinegar with a little honey. It’s healthy and refreshing but fragrant and unusual from the tea-infused smoke, and looks beautiful on the plate, too.

Incidentally, if you don’t want to branch out into home-smoking, you can brine the chicken breasts in the same mixture for just 1 hour before griddling, pan-frying or roasting them – the salad will still be delicious and the meat will benefit from the added moisture and flavour given by brining.

Mix the boiling water, sea salt, 1 tbsp of the matcha, the honey and peppercorns in a bowl and whisk until everything has dissolved. Leave to cool completely
Put the chicken breasts in a shallow non-reactive dish and pierce each a few times with a sharp knife. Pour over the brine and put the dish in the fridge for 3 hours
Remove the chicken from the brine and discard the brine. Rinse the chicken breasts briefly then place them on a plate and refrigerate, uncovered, for 4–8 hours (no longer, or they’ll become too salty)
Prepare a smoker by placing the rice, sugar and remaining matcha in the bottom of the tray. Turn the heat on
When wisps of smoke start to appear, place the chicken breasts on a rack in the middle, cover and smoke for around 35 minutes over a medium-low heat. Check they are cooked by cutting into the centre – the juices should run clear and there should be no pink meat
For the salad, cook the brown rice in a large pan of boiling water for around 25 minutes, or until just al dente. Drain and leave to cool
Cook the green beans in boiling water for 3 minutes, then rinse under cool water. Drain and leave to cool
Peel the mangoes and cut the flesh away from the stone. Cut it into thin slices and put in a large bowl. Add the mint, coriander, chillies, green beans and brown rice. Toss together
Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Taste and check the seasoning – you may want a little more vinegar, lime juice or honey. Toss with the rice mixture
Divide the rice salad between four plates or bowls. Slice the smoked chicken breasts and serve piled on top of the mango rice salad. Garnish with extra coriander leaves and lime wedges
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