Monday, March 5, 2012

Lephet (Fermented Burmese Tea Leaves)

When I began researching food for our Burmese feast, I was intrigued by recipes for Lephet Thoke, a fermented tea leaves salad. But when I began to delve into where to find these fermented tea leaves, I came up empty...and not just me. There are numerous discussion boards dedicated to fermented tea leaves and banned Burmese exports. Apparently there is an ingredient, or noxious chemical, that the tea leaves have when produced in Burma; that makes them un-importable into the United States. Okay, I can understand that.

Thankfully I found a recipe to approximate the fermented tea leaves at Absolutely Monica's blog. I changed a couple of things, but I think the flavors will be accurate nonetheless.

1 C unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1 C water
1/4 C green tea leaves, crushed
1/4 C sesame oil
1/4 C olive oil
1 T soy sauce
1 T fish sauce

Crush the tea leaves with a mortar and a pestle. In a medium pot, bring the vinegar and water to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, add the crushed tea leaves, and simmer for 30 minutes. Make sure the leaves don't burn, but the liquid may completely dissolve. Drain any remaining liquid. In a large mixing bowl, stir the leaves in with the remaining ingredients.

You'll see this tomorrow atop a traditional Burmese salad.

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