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Lephet Thoke (Burmese Fermented Tea Leaf Salad) #OurFamilyTable



Today the #OurFamilyTable is sharing summer salad recipes! Christie of A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures encouraged the bloggers: "The produce is starting to roll in! May is salad month, so let's share some hearty salads to chow down on this month."

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Lephet Thoke 
Burmese Fermented Tea Leaf Salad

When I began researching food for a 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. So I've learned to make my own and have made this salad many, many times. It's not specifically a summer salad. But it's one that my family enjoys all year long!

So, I have seen this spelled lephet, lahpet, and laphet. No clue which is correct. It's probably just a phoneticized version anyway.


"A thee ma, thayet; a thar ma, wet; a ywet ma, lahpet."
"Of all the fruit, the mango's the best; of all the meat, the pork's the best;
and of all the leaves, lahpet's the best."


For my salad, I typically diverge from what I read is traditional and use what I have. So, I often swap out romaine lettuce for arugula and peanuts for hazelnuts; I also add hard boiled eggs for more protein and to make it a complete meal.

But the first step is to ferment those tea leaves. This process takes about three days, so do it ahead of when you want to serve.

Ingredients

Fermented Tea Leaves

  • 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

Salad

  • organic greens
  • organic tomatoes, sliced into wedges
  • hard-boiled eggs, sliced into wedges
  • chopped nuts for garnish (peanuts are traditional, I used hazelnuts here)


Procedure

Fermented Tea Leaves
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. Cover and let stand for about three days. You can leave it as long as four; after that it starts to taste heavy and too sour.

Salad
Layer washed and dried arugula, tomato wedges, and hardboiled egg wedges on your serving plate. Spoon a heap of the fermented tea leaves in the center. When serving have the diners sprinkle nuts on their own salads to their liking.

Comments

  1. That's what I love about you Cam.....you never give up. Can't find an ingredient you want? Well, heck, just make it.

    ReplyDelete

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