I've always been intrigued by Chinese "tea-smoked" foods. But I'm too chicken to try any kind of smoking in my apartment. And I have no outdoor place to cook. So, I've been experimenting with creating the illusion of smoking. I've tried it with squab and pork "country ribs" so far.
First I make an infusion of Lapsang Souchong tea (which tastes like bacon to me), black cardamom, cinnamon stick, whole cloves, star anise, brown sugar, and ginger, in water and soy sauce, with a little fish sauce and Worcestershire. (Actually, I've used lots of other spices each time, including fenugreek seed, and dried chilies.) Simmer it a while. Strain out the solids.
Then I steam the meat over this liquid. In the case of the pork, I took the meat off the bones when it was done, added the bones back to the liquid, and cooked that down. Strained again, degreased, and added the chunks of pork back, along with some ketchap manis (sweet soy sauce), to simmer gently. For the squab, I reduced the cooking liquid, and used it as a glaze to finish the birds under the broiler.
The end effect I'm looking for is smoky, sweet, only a little bitter/tannic, and spicy. So far, it's been okay except not spicy enough. I've been surprised that the tannin is not more pronounced, since the tea infusion gets very concentrated. But I'm actually happy about that. What I would like to improve also is the viscosity; right now the sauce is very thin (and probably feels more so because of the tannin) even when I reduce it way down.
I haven't been measuring yet, so I can't tell EXACTLY how much of everything I've used. Any questions, comments, and especially suggestions would be welcome! :)