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Lahpet Thoke Tea Salad

Tea salad! This dish comes from Burma, where green tea is treated not only as a drink but as an ingredient for dinner. Like many fermented dishes, Lahpet is traditionally aged underground for a long period. We took a slightly quicker approach so that is somewhere between fermentation and pickling.

 Ingredients for the Lahpet:

1/2 Cup Pearl Gunpowder

1/2 Cup Shredded Cabbage

1/2 Cup Cilantro

Zest and Juice of 1 Lime

3-4 Cloves of Garlic

1 Tsp Salt

1 in Piece of Ginger, peeled

1 Green Chile

2 Scallions

1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil

For the Salad:
Chana Dal

Peanuts

Sliced Garlic

Cabbage

Tomatoes

Dried Shrimp

Toasted Sesame Seeds

Pick through the tea leaves, removing any twigs you find. While they may add flavor while drinking tea, you will not want to eat them. Heat up water to just before a boil. Pour over tea and let sit for 3 minutes.

Drain. Repeat at least two times, picking out any more twigs you find that may bob to the surface. On the last drain, press the tea really well into a strainer, squeezing out any water.

Place in a container with a partially open lid and let sit at least 12 hours or up to 3 days.

The next day, throw the tea leaves, garlic, ginger, scallions, chile, and cilantro into a food processor and chop until everything is minced into small pieces.

Mix in the cabbage, lime juice, lime zest, and salt. Place back in the container, this time closing tightly. Let sit in a cool, dry place for at least 3 days.

Finish off by adding the vegetable oil and stirring well. Taste and adjust for salt. When you taste the tea leaves on their own, they will be rather tangy and acidic. But think of it as salad dressing - once it is mixed with the raw vegetables and other fried items, it will bring a zingy balance.

Assemble the salad:

The day before you make the salad, soak the chana dal in water overnight. Let drain and dry completely. Fry until golden and the chana bob up to the surface. Remove, and let drain on a paper towel, sprinkling salt over the chana dal.

Repeat with garlic and peanuts, sprinkling with salt (we added a touch of chile powder as well). Be careful with the garlic and pull it out just as it gets color; if it browns to much, it will taste bitter.

Assemble the salad with the tea leaves, fried items, cabbage, tomatoes, toasted sesame seeds and dried shrimp either separately or in a layers in a large bowl.


 

 

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