Burmese tea leaf salad (lahpet thoke)
Lahpet Thoke is a unique and delicious Burmese salad featuring fermented tea leaves, an array of crunchy mix-ins, and a tangy dressing. This iconic dish is not only a taste adventure but also a celebration of textures and flavors. It is often served as an appetizer or a snack during gatherings and special occasions.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the fermented tea leaves, shredded cabbage, chopped tomatoes, roasted peanuts, fried split peas, toasted sesame seeds, fried garlic, and sliced green chilies (if using).
In a small bowl, prepare the dressing by whisking together the fish sauce (or soy sauce), lime juice, vegetable oil, sugar, and salt to taste.
Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss well to combine. Allow the salad to sit for about 10 minutes, so the flavors can meld together.
To serve, transfer the tea leaf salad to a serving platter or divide among individual plates.
If you don´t have them, substitute fried yellow split peas with fried broad beans or roasted soy beans.
Substitute the fried garlic for a handful of Burmese garlic chips.
You can serve Lahpet Thoke with additional lime wedges and extra fish sauce or soy sauce on the side, allowing diners to adjust the flavors according to their preferences.
For a spicier kick, you can add more sliced green chilies or a spoonful of chili oil.
For added texture, you can also include other crunchy elements, such as fried onion, roasted sunflower seeds, or crushed rice crackers.
To make your own fermented tea leaves, you'll need to soak, steam, and ferment the leaves with a little salt and garlic for several days. However, store-bought fermented tea leaves are a convenient and readily available option.
Food in Asia