Reserve the peel from the mandarins you use in the dipping sauce and add a little to the smoking mixture.
Note Dried mandarin peel and Chinkiang vinegar are available from Chinese grocers. Disposable roasting pans are available from supermarkets and specialist barbecue shops. Alternatively, use two flameproof roasting pans of the same size and line each with several layers of foil.
When smoking inside, ensure your kitchen is well ventilated, with the extractor fan on high and any windows open, to avoid triggering smoke alarms.
A well-sealed vessel is essential for smoking. Use two baking trays of exactly the same size, and seal the join with long strips of foil, crimping the edges tightly.
If you are using regular baking trays to smoke, line the base and sides of each one with several layers of foil. This will make them easier to clean and minimise tainting.
Alternatively, disposable aluminium trays are available from supermarkets and specialist barbecue shops. Opt for the sturdier ones for ease of handling.
Be precise with your timing, including the amount of time you stand the smoking vessel before you uncover it. Any greater length of time could result in an acrid, unpleasant flavour. We suggest taking the trays outside when uncovering them.
Make sure your woodchips are dry and dense to begin with. Each variety imparts a different flavour, so try experimenting with different ones to find your favourite.
The recipes we've produced here all use a hot-smoking method, where a direct heat source is used. The other method used by some manufacturers of smoked products is cold smoking, where the smoke is created in a chamber separate from the product to be smoked. In this case, the lower the temperature while smoking for a longer period of time, the more smoke flavour will be imparted.
Kettle-style barbecues (such as those made by Weber) are excellent for smoking as you can use them outside and they have a small compact chamber. If you're using any other type of barbecue, check the manufacturer's instructions before building a fire base.