Pickled Tea Leaf Salad (Laphet Thoke)
Recipe by April Chou
Laphet Thoke or Pickled Tea Leaf Salad is served in Burma for any and all occasions: parties, weddings, funerals, and all religious ceremonies. We eat this dish as a snack, as part of a bigger meal with rice, or as dessert. It is also a common dish prepared for students during their exams to keep them awake at night.
(Note: this is a caffeinated dish.)
¼ cup fermented tea leaf*
¼ cup fried peanuts, broad beans and sesame*
½ cup red cabbage, very thinly sliced
½ cup green cabbage, very thinly sliced
2 large plum tomatoes, julienned
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
3 Tbs. lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 Tbs. sesame oil
1 Tsp. sea salt
1 minced bird’s eye chili
1 Tbs. dry shrimp powder (omit for vegetarian/vegan)
2 tsps. fish sauce (omit for vegetarian/vegan)
Green chilies, thinly sliced
Dry red chili flakes
• Combine all ingredients in a big bowl and mix well.
• For vegetarians/vegans, omit shrimp powder and fish sauce. Add more sea salt, as needed.
• Serve immediately to retain crispy texture of fried beans and crunchiness of shredded cabbages.
In Burma, making salads according to your own taste is paramount. The garnishes of green chilies, dry chili flakes, fish sauce, shrimp powder and lime wedges are your tools to adjust heat, umami, salty and sour tastes to your liking.
* You can try making your own pickled tea leaf but the texture will not be the same. Here are some local sources for pickled tea leaf and fried mixtures:
- Burma Love & Burma Superstar
- Myanmar Pyi Thar Grocery in Newark, CA
* You can also fry broadbeans, peanuts and sesame on your own using this recipe from the Myanmar Times.