Bill Granger recipes: Our chef has developed a passion for home-smoking

Home-smoking gives staple dishes a real boost, says Bill Granger – and you don't need expensive equipment or exotic chips to do it

I like to pass myself off as a lazy cook. I really don't see the need to over-complicate things. I'm a strong believer that on days when you're too tired or busy to stand the heat, you should simply rustle up a delicious salad instead. So you can imagine my surprise when I started taking a liking to home-smoking.

I used to think of it as an activity for testosterone-charged, childless twenty-something men with plenty of time to indulge their foodie obsessions and search out the best wood chips for the job. Instead, I've discovered that it's actually just as easy as steaming, really.

OK, there are a couple more steps to the process, and I can vouch for the fact that if you forget to line your wok with foil, no amount of scouring will save it from the skip. But you really don't need to bother with fancy equipment or exotic wood chips, and there's a fun sense of magic to the proceedings that I can't help but love.

Bill's restaurant, Granger & Co, is at 175 Westbourne Grove, London W11, tel: 020 7229 9111, grangerandco.com

Tea-smoked chicken salad with green beans, cucumber and Sichuan dressing

This is inspired by one of my favourite Chinese salads, with poached chicken, cucumber and Sichuan pepper. The smoking of the chicken gives it more body than the original, making it feel more like a complete meal. On colder days, this aromatic chicken also works well shredded into a noodle broth.

Serves 4

3 tbsp sea salt 
2 star anise 
5 whole cloves 
75g soft brown sugar, plus 2 tbsp 
3 skinned chicken breasts 
75g white rice 
2 good-quality black tea bags 
1 large cucumber, cut into chunks 
Handful green beans, trimmed and blanched 
2 tbsp soy sauce 
2 tsp sesame oil 
½ tsp crushed chilli flakes 
½ tsp toasted Sichuan peppercorns, ground with a pestle and mortar 
½ tsp sea salt

Pound the salt, star anise and cloves using a pestle and mortar until the spices are roughly crushed. Combine into a bowl with 2 tbsp of the brown sugar.

Place the chicken breasts in a tray in which they fit in one layer and rub all over with the spiced salt-and-sugar mixture. Cover and leave to marinate for 2 hours out of the fridge. Rinse in cold water and pat dry with kitchen paper.

Line a large wok with tin foil. Add the raw rice, the 75g of sugar and the contents of the tea bags. Mix well.

Place a round wire rack (or steaming rack) inside the wok and sit the chicken on top. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook over a medium heat for 3 minutes until you start to see smoke.

Reduce the heat and cook for another 15 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove to a plate and leave to cool, then cover and chill until needed.

Shred the chicken into a large bowl and toss through the cucumber, green beans, soy sauce, sesame oil and chillies.

Combine the Sichuan peppercorns and salt and scatter over the salad, then serve.

Hot-smoked salmon with a beetroot and radish salad

I love the way that smoking tightens the flesh of the salmon and makes it sweet and aromatic. The result works really well with this earthy salad and Scandi dressing. Watermelon radishes seem to have been discovered by my local supermarket this year, but if yours doesn't stock it, you can use white radish instead.

  Hot-smoked salmon with a beetroot and radish salad Hot-smoked salmon with a beetroot and radish salad (Kristin Perers)
Serves 4

3 tbsp sea salt 
Handful dill, chopped 
75g soft brown sugar, plus 2 tbsp 
4 salmon fillets, about 150g each 
75g white rice 
Grated zest 1 orange 
1 tsp caraway seeds

For the beetroot and radish salad

1 beetroot, peeled and shaved with a mandolin 
1 watermelon radish, shaved with a mandolin 
3 radishes, shaved with a mandolin 
Squeeze of lemon 
Few dill sprigs, torn

For the dressing

5 tbsp buttermilk 
Squeeze of lemon 
1 tbsp chopped dill

Combine the sea salt, dill and 2 tbsp of sugar. Place the salmon in a tray and rub all over with this mixture. Cover and keep in the fridge for 2 hours.

For the salad, combine the beetroot and radish shavings in a bowl. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and season with salt. Toss through the dill and set aside.

For the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and season lightly with salt.

Rinse the salmon in cold water and pat dry with kitchen paper. Line a large wok with tin foil. Add the raw rice, the 75g of sugar, orange zest and caraway seeds. Mix well. Place a round wire rack (or steaming rack) inside the wok and sit the salmon on top. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook over a medium heat for 3 minutes until you start to see smoke. Reduce the heat and cook for another 6 to 8 minutes, until cooked to your liking. Serve the salmon with the salad and dressing.

Smoked-steak BLT

The trick with smoked steak is that once it's smoked, it still needs a couple of minutes in the pan to brown the outside. It would be a shame if you let this put you off, though, because it's a real winner.

  Bill's smoked-steak BLT is a real winner (Kristin Perers) Bill's smoked-steak BLT is a real winner (Kristin Perers)
Makes 4

3 tbsp sea salt 
2 tsp smoked paprika 
75g soft brown sugar, plus 2 tbsp 
350g sirloin steak 
75g white rice 
1 tbsp chopped thyme 
½ tsp dried oregano 
1 tbsp olive oil

To serve

8 slices brioche loaf, toasted or griddled 
8 grilled streaky bacon rashers 
2 beef tomatoes, sliced 
Mayonnaise 
1 soft round lettuce

Combine the salt, paprika and the 2 tbsp of sugar and use to cure the steak for 30 minutes. Rinse the steak and pat dry. Line a large wok with tin foil. Add the raw rice, the 75g of sugar, chopped thyme and oregano. Mix well. Place a round wire rack (or steaming rack) inside the wok and sit the steak on top. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook over a medium heat for 3 minutes until you start to see smoke. Reduce the heat and cook for another 3 minutes. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Fry the smoked steak for 1 minute on each side to brown it. Rest the steak for 2 minutes then slice thinly.

Take the sliced steak, brioche toasts, grilled bacon, tomato, mayonnaise and lettuce to the table and let people assemble their own sandwiches.

Food preparation: Marina Filippelli

Props merchandising: Rachel Jukes

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