This classic Burmese Tea Leaf Salad is a medley of delicious textures and flavors. It's soft, crunchy, colorful, tangy, and a little spicy. Discover this hidden gem from Myanmar cuisine.
The History of Burmese Tea Leaf Salad
Burmese Tea Leaf Salad, also known as "Laphet Thoke," holds a significant place in Myanmar's culinary heritage. Its origins trace back to the ancient Burmese tradition of fermenting tea leaves. In the 19th century, fermented tea leaves were considered a rare delicacy, enjoyed by royalty and the elite. Over time, this practice evolved, and the humble tea leaf found its way into salads, giving birth to the iconic Burmese Tea Leaf Salad.
While Lahpet Thoke is commonly enjoyed as a concluding course during meals today, its historical significance is captivating. In times gone by, lahpet held a meaningful role as an emblem of peace. It was shared and savored as a ceremonial gesture to resolve conflicts between rival kingdoms.
The practice of allowing each individual to personalize their salad toppings offers an intriguing perspective – a truly democratic approach to diffusing disputes. This method ensures that, in the end, everyone finds a degree of contentment.
Ingredients you will need
- Fermented tea leaves
- Fresh lettuce leaves
- Sliced tomato
- Crunchy peanuts
- Fried garlic
- Sesame seeds
- Split yellow peas, fried to a crispy texture
- Chili flakes for a spicy kick
- Lemon juice
- Coriander (cilantro)
It's difficult to source Fermented Tea Leaves in some parts of the world.
How to make Burmese Tea Leaf Salad
- Begin by soaking the fermented tea leaves to soften them.
- Then, squeeze out excess water and mix the leaves with tomato, lettuce, and crunchy peanuts.
- Add fried garlic, sesame seeds, and crispy split yellow peas for extra texture.
- Finish the salad with lemon juice, coriander, and chili flakes to enhance the overall taste profile.
Fermentation of Tea Leaves
At the heart of this dish lies the art of fermenting tea leaves. The leaves undergo a fermentation process that involves packing them tightly in bamboo containers. Salt is added to initiate fermentation, and the leaves are left to mature for several months. This process not only preserves the leaves but also imparts a distinct umami flavor that elevates the entire salad.
Health Benefits of Burmese Tea Leaf Salad
Burmese Tea Leaf Salad is a nutrient-packed dish with numerous health benefits.
- The fermented tea leaves are rich in antioxidants and probiotics, aiding digestion and promoting gut health.
- The salad is also a good source of vitamins and minerals from fresh vegetables, providing a well-rounded nutritional profile.
This dish can be served as a refreshing appetizer or even as a light meal on its own. Its unique combination of flavors and textures makes it an excellent side dish to main courses.
The crunch of peanuts, the zing of fermented tea leaves, and the tanginess of lemon juice create a harmonious experience that leaves a lasting impression.
More recipes to try
- Burmese Chickpea Tofu
- Khao Yum Rainbow Salad
- Carrot & Pineapple Salad
- Quinoa Tabbouleh
- Turmeric Sauerkraut
- Vegan Kimchi
Let us know what you think
Burmese Tea Leaf Salad is a culinary masterpiece that embodies the essence of Myanmar's food culture. Its history, meticulous preparation, and health benefits all contribute to the rising popularity of this authentic salad.
If you made this recipe and enjoyed it, or did anything differently – we would love to hear from you down below in the comments 👇
- Weighing scales
- Chopping board
- Chefs knife
- Mixing bowl
- Serving bowl
For the dressing
- 30 g Fermented tea leaves
- 10 ml Olive oil
- 1 Pinch Pink salt
For the salad
- 200 g Romaine lettuce
- 100 g Tomato - cherry cut in half
- 30 g Peanuts
- 30 g Crispy fava beans
- 10 g Crispy shallot
- 1 each Lime
- 1 teaspoon Chili flakes
To prepare the dressing
- Combine the tea leaves, fresh garlic and salt in a mini food processor; pulse to combine. With the motor running, drizzle in 3 tablespoons oil.
To assemble salad
- Make a bed of lettuce in a shallow bowl. Spoon the dressing into the center. Arrange piles of tomatoes, peanuts and split peas around the dressing.
- Drizzle oil, lime juice over the top, sprinkle with cilantro and crushed red pepper. Mix tableside with 2 forks.