Burmese Tea Leaf Salad

green tea leaf salad
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With the monsoons in full swing this year, I have been gorging on the Hot chocolate with spiced tea every couple of days. Over cups of hot chocolate shared with my sister, she shared with me a new recipe that she had found online for a Burmese tea leaf salad. The tea leaves are brewed, immersed in cold water then stored in an air tight container after squeezing all the water out for fermentation.

Cuisine: Burmese
Serves: 2 servings

Ingredients
  • ½ cup loose green tea leaves
  • 2 lemons
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, divided
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 tsp galangal
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp peanut oil, divided
  • Pea shoots (I used sprouts)
  • 6 cups chopped romaine lettuce or cabbage
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Moong dal
  • Roasted peanuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • Salt
Instructions
  1. For the Tea Leaves
  2. Sort through leaves and pick out any twigs or other unsavoury bits.
  3. Steep tea in hot water (not boiling) for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain and rinse.
  5. Soak tea leaves in cold water for 1 hour, then drain and rinse again.
  6. Squeeze out any excess liquid.
  7. In a small food processor, add tea leaves, juice of 1 lemon, 3 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon chopped jalapeno, 1 tablespoon fresh ginger (use an additional 1 tablespoon if you don’t have galangal), 1 teaspoon galangal, and generous pinch of salt. Add 1 tbsp sesame oil and 1 tbsp peanut oil. Pulse until you have the consistency of pesto.
  8. Store in an airtight glass container at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for two days. Yes, you have to plan ahead to enjoy this salad. But it’s worth it, soooooo worth it. Once fermented, store leftover tea leaves in the refrigerator.
  9. For the Salad
  10. Chop lettuce or cabbage and place in an even layer on the bottom of a large plate. Add a large scoop of the fermented tea leaves to the center of the plate.
  11. Fry the garlic – In a small pan, heat 2 tbsp peanut oil and chopped garlic on medium heat. DO NOT preheat the oil. The garlic burns easily, so be careful with your technique. Remove the garlic from the pan just as it starts to turn golden brown and drain on a paper towel. If the garlic tastes bitter, it’s burned.
  12. Place small piles of all the remaining ingredients on top of the lettuce.
  13. I like a lot of crunchy, savory bits like roasted peanuts, sesame seeds, and moong dal (or you can fry yellow split peas).
  14. Add chopped tomatoes, lemon wedges and a handful of pea shoots or sprouts. The finishing touch is fried garlic, it really tastes amazing on this dish.
  15. Squeeze lemon over the salad and toss just before serving.

Source: Cobi Kim

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