• Burmese Tea Leaf and Popped Lentil Salad


    Fermented Tea Leaves

    4 Portions

    • Ingredients
    • Water, hot
      4 cups
    • Green tea leaves
      ½ cup
    • Ginger, minced
      2 Tbsp.
    • Garlic, minced
      1 Tbsp.
    • Salt
      ½ tsp.
    • Lime, juice of
      1 each

    Popped Lentils

    • Ingredients
    • Canola oil
      2 oz.
    • Whole green lentils, cooked, drained
      1 cup


    • Ingredients
    • Sesame seeds
      2 Tbsp.
    • Peanut oil
      1 Tbsp.
    • Garlic, thinly sliced
      ¼ cup
    • Fish sauce
      1 Tbsp.
    • Limes, juice of
      2 each
    • Savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
      1 cup
    • Peanuts, roasted, rough chop
      ½ cup
    • Tomatoes, diced
      1 cup
    • Green onion, thinly sliced
      2 each
    • Dry shrimp, soaked in hot water
      1 Tbsp.
    • Popped lentils (see above)
      1 cup
    • Fermented tea leaves (optional: see above)
      ½ cup
    • Thai bird chili, or Serrano, sliced thinly
      1 Tbsp.


    To ferment the tea leaves

    1. Pour 4 cups of hot water over the dried tea leaves, stir, and let soak about 10 minutes. Drain.
    2. Squeeze out any remaining liquid from the tea leaves.
    3. Repeat twice more, then add cold water and let stand for 1 hour.
    4. Drain, squeeze thoroughly to remove excess water
    5. Chop the leaves finely and mix together with 2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger, 1 tablespoon of garlic made into a paste with the ½ teaspoon salt, and the juice of 1 lime.
    6. Cover and allow it to ferment, untouched, for two days in a cool space.

    To pop the lentils

    1. Heat a skillet on medium high heat with the oil and add the lentils.
    2. Swirl the pan around and toss the lentils in the oil.
    3. The lentils will start to sizzle and pop. When the lentils are crispy and the edges are dried drain on paper towels. This will take about 5 to 10 minutes.
    4. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

    To make the salad

    1. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan until light golden brown. Remove and reserve.
    2. In the same pan, heat the peanut oil and add the garlic cloves, toasting until light brown. Remove and reserve the oil.
    3. Mix the reserved garlic oil with the fish sauce and the lime juice and set aside.
    4. Arrange all cabbage, peanuts, tomato, green onion, toasted garlic, shrimp, and popped lentils around a plate, unmixed.
    5. Place the tea leaf mixture, if using, in a pile in the center of the plate.
    6. Sprinkle the dish with the sesame seeds and the chili.
    7. Pour garlic oil dressing over the top of the salad.