Did you ever think that tea leaves could be consumed by eating instead of drinking? News flash: they absolutely can! Southeast Asia, specifically Burma, has amazing cuisine and some of the best tea in the world is grown there. A traditional dish caught our eye and we wanted to share it with you!
Lahpet Thoke (Lahpet means “green tea,” thoke means “salad”) was traditionally given as a peace offering in Burma between warring kingdoms back in the day. This addictive dish is made by fermenting the finest tea leaves and combining with all sorts of different ingredients, like crunchy peanuts, fresh cabbage, spicy green chiles, pungent garlic, dried shrimp, sesame seeds, and a plethora of other ingredients. Try your hand at fermenting green tea leaves and enjoy a boost of delicious energy!
Burmese Style Fermented Tea Leaves
Fermented Tea Leaves
3 ½ cups cold water
½ cup rice vinegar
1 cup dry green tea leaves (I use high-quality Japanese sencha)
50g scallion, sliced
30g cilantro, stemmed
6g ginger, peeled
2g galangal, grated
30g Maggi seasoning
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 small bird’s eye chile, not seeded (optional)
2.75 tbsp lime juice, fresh
1 Tbsp white sugar
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp peanut oil
- Combine water, rice vinegar in small pot and bring to a rolling boil. Add tea leaves and remove from heat. Let steep 10 minutes.
- Strain tea leaves and carefully remove any twigs and stems.
- Mash tea leaves in lukewarm water and rinse again in cold water.
- Combine tea leaves with cold water and let sit in refrigerator overnight.
- Strain tea leaves and thoroughly squeeze out any water using side towels.
- Combine tea leaves with all other ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.
- Transfer tea leaves to vacuum pouch and seal.
- Ferment in a cool, dark place 3-5 days. If this is your first time, try the leaves after 3 days to see if you like the flavor. As it continues to ferment the flavor mellows out and becomes deeper, richer, and funkier - like wine :)
You can serve fermented tea leaves with diced red bell pepper, celery, and a mizuna & frisee mix for the greens; sesame seeds, fried peanuts, roasted soynuts for crunch; grilled meyer lemon for tartness; and a sweet & salty fish sauce dressing to bring it all together.
Visit https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352618115000645#fig3 for some great history as well as a scientific study of the benefits of lahpet!