Burma Superstar Tea Leaf Salad

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Burma Superstar’s Tea Leaf Salad And Tea Leaf Dressing

Burmese Super Food – Burmese Tea Leaf Salad – Buy Now!


1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds 1 Roma tomato, seeded and diced 1 small jalapeño, seeded and diced 2 tsp fish sauce or a few generous pinches of salt 1 lemon or lime, cut into wedges

1. Prepare the tea leaves one to two days in advance. Brew a pot of two tablespoons loose leaf green tea. Save the leaves and press out excess water. Transfer to a closed container and let sit at room temperature for one to two days.

2. If using whole, unseasoned laphet leaves, soak them for five minutes in cold water to extract some of the bitterness. Drain, squeezing the leaves to remove excess water. Taste the leaves. If they still taste bitter, repeat the step again.

3. Put the leaves in a food processor with the garlic and chili flakes and pulse a few times. Add the lemon juice and half of the oil, briefly pulse, and then, with the processor running, drizzle in the rest of the oil. If the leaves are not pre-seasoned, add one teaspoon of salt. You will have about half a cup of tea leaf dressing.

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  • To prepare dressing: Steep tea leaves in hot water for 3 minutes. Drain and press excess water out of the tea leaves . Let cool to room temperature.
  • Combine the tea leaves, fresh garlic and salt in a mini food processor pulse to combine. With the motor running, drizzle in 3 tablespoons oil and vinegar.
  • To assemble salad: Make a bed of cabbage on a round, rimmed serving platter or in a shallow bowl. Spoon the dressing into the center. Arrange piles of tomatoes, jalapeño , fried garlic, peanuts and split peas around the dressing. Drizzle oil, lime juice and fish sauce over the top and sprinkle with cilantro, shrimp powder and crushed red pepper. Mix tableside with 2 forks.



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Fully Fermented Vs Shortcut Tea Leaf Dressing

Compared to Burma Superstar’s, my homemade lacks a certain fermented funk that comes from the tea leaves resting in the dark for a long period of times. In their book, Desmond and Kate explain that there’s a bamboo shoot taste in fermented tea-leaves. Additionally, different grades of tea may be used and the dressing color reflects that. There’s a certain addictive quality to the dressing, too. I imagine that months of fermentation adds to that. Maybe some cooks add a touch of MSG or Asian mushroom seasoning granules, too.

Instructions for creating a tea-leaf dressing shortcut were simply to brew tea with the leaves, leave them to ferment for a couple days till they smelled like overripe fruit then whirl them up with seasonings and oil in a small processor. I did that using fancy tea that I regularly drink and found that the fermentation didn’t do much for my tea. I opted to skip that, saving about 2 days of waiting.

Though my homemade tea leaf salad dressing wasn’t as complex as Burma Superstar’s, it was darn good, once combined with all the goodies on the salad platter. So, if you’re not near a source for Burma Superstar’s tea leaf salad dressing, make your own!

Read Also: How To Make Salad In A Jar

What To Drink With Burmese Tea Leaf Salad

After spending all that time making the salad, serve it with flair. Kate is a wine pro who’s also written several books on food and wine, including Wine Style. I typically order beer at a Burmese restaurant but Kate offered this advice to expand my options:

I’m no longer intimidated by Burmese tea leaf salad because I now better understand it and can now make it myself. I hope you do too!

Crisp Crunchy Briny Options

Burma Superstar Fermented Tea Leaf Salad

Now you can have fun. You need a bed of crisp lettuce or cabbage. Add tomato for color, juiciness and umami. There are often fried lentils in Burmese tea leaf salad the crunchy yellow lentils are ubiquitous in the cuisine but unless you’re going to use lots of them and batch cook them, it’s an investment of time to make 1/4 cup for one recipe.

Given that, I’ve subbed store-bought roasted chickpeas and soynuts. When I recently asked Kate, she said to skip the legume if you want, and increase the peanuts and/or seeds. Naomi Duguid, in Burma, suggests the same workaround.

Toasted, roasted seeds are included for nuttiness and you can vary those too. I blended sunflower and pepitas for the version at the top. Some days I included sesame seeds. Other days, I skip them. The ground dried shrimp is simply processed in coffee grinder , but I’ve skipped it many times, opting to drizzle a little fish sauce or seasoning with a bit of extra salt.

You need some stuff atop the greens so at the least have tomato, fried garlic, and nuts. The dressing will bring it all together.

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Exploring The ‘secret’ Sauce

The purchased Burma Superstar tea-leaf dressing opened a door to explore laphet thoke foundations and to play a bit. There are traditional and vegan versions. Both are good and contain ingredients such as fermented tea leaf, garlic, ginger, plus layers of umami built in via dried mushroom, tomato, fish sauce and yeast extract.

Using the purchased dressing, I made tea leaf salad on and off for a week. I realized that it’s an elastic dish that looks complicate but is pretty easy. Like the Thai miang kham leafy salad bites, the most crucial thing is the dressing. You can somewhat improvise on the rest.

In the Burma Superstar cookbook, Desmond and Kate provided a formal recipe for the dressing using fermented tea-leaf from Burma. But on the opposite page, there was a shortcut hack involving loose leaf tea. I experimented with the technique to come up with this recipe for you to use. In the photo below, Burma Superstar’s dressing is at the top and my homemade is at the bottom.

Where To Buy Burmese Tea Leaf Salad Kits

If you want to take the easy way out and skip making your own saladbut why would you, its SO easyyou can buy DIY kits online. Burma Love Tea Leaf Salad Kits contain Laphit Fermented Tea Leaf dressing and crunchy toppings, including sesame seeds and peanuts.

You can also find similar kits and ingredients on Amazon:

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Burmese Tea Leaf Salad

By Asha Shivakumar

Around this time, a few years ago, was when I started enjoying green tea. An introduction to an actual green tea salad came way later, with a lot of resistance. I am not a salad lover, let alone a fermented green tea salad Thats a stretch.

If you visit San Francisco and you have some time to wait in line to grab a bite, do not miss Burma Superstar. The food is delicious, and the fermented green tea salad is outstanding. What I dont enjoy is the wait , and its even worse when you go there hungry. So, you know, I had to find a way to make one my favorite salad at home. I was inspired by the excellent salad I ate there, and just had to make my own version.

While this one differs from the original, Ive tried to keep a lot of the aspects intact. I heard that the green tea is shipped from Burma to here to produce this salad. The process to make this and the fermentation are integral parts of the salad. It take couple of days, but its worth the wait. I guarantee you.

Its nothing like Ive tasted before. This almost tastes like an Indian dish, a vegetarian bhel. The crunch, the fried garlic, the freshness, and the zing from the green tea dressing all work in unison.

Here goes a party in a plate. Try it out to see how fermented tea leaves tastes like.

  • 2 tbsp dried green tea leaves
  • ½ inch fresh ginger
  • 1-2 whole green chilly
  • 2 tbsp mango juice/pineapple juice/orange juice
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Cut the cabbage into thin strands. Wash and dry it very well.
  • Burma Superstar Fermented Tea Leaf Salad

    Fermented Tea Leaf Salad Recipe

    Weve been cooking our way through the new Burma Superstar cookbook lately. This week we decided to try out the Sesame Chicken recipe along with the Fermented Tea Leaf Salad. You can buy kits that include almost everything you need to make the salad at Bi-Rite, Whole Foods, The Berkeley Bowl, and Rainbow Grocery.

    Hopefully theyll eventually get the kits online so everyone outside of the Bay Area can take advantage as well. The salad is so delicious and makes the perfect light vegetarian lunch or dinner, or accompaniment to another recipe in the book. Such a great weeknight meal!

    You can find the recipe for this Sesame Chicken and more in the Burma Superstar cookbook here. Get the recipe for Shan Noodles here.

    Were giving away a copy of the Burma Superstar to FOUR of our readers. All you have to do is . If you are already an Insider, then youre automatically entered. Winners will be selected at random and well email you directly. This giveaway has ended, but keep an eye out for more giveaways via our email list.

    • 1Burma Superstar Fermented Tea Leaf Salad Kit
    • 1-2heads of hearts romaine lettuce,sliced thin
    • 1-2 tomatoes,diced

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    Tea Leaf Salad Recipe Eatingwell

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    Vegan Tea Leaf Salad Kit

    Product Details

    Satisfy your saladcravings! Make your own delicious Burmese Tea Leaf Salad at home with oureasy-to-use DIY kit. Its the first ever kit for making our famous BurmaSuperstar Tea Leaf Salad. Each box includes everything you need to re-createthe distinctive flavor, texture, and crunch. Just supply fresh salad greens anddiced tomatoes if youd like, and you can make enough for 4-6 salads

    Kit Contains:

    • Fermented Tea LeafDressing

    • Blend of Crunchy SplitYellow Peas, Toasted Sunflower Seeds, Fried Garlic Chips, Sesame Seeds, andRoasted Peanuts

    • Detailed Instructionsand Recipes

    Ingredients: Vegan Dressing: blanched fermented organic tea leaves , sunflower oil, garlic, green jalapeno, high yeast extract, sea salt, lime juice concentrate, ginger, dried mushrooms, dried tomato. Burmese Crunchy Mix: roasted peanuts , roasted sunflower seed kernels , sesame seeds, dehydrated garlic, yellow split peas, sunflower oil, water

    Contains: Peanuts

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    Burma Superstar Tea Leaf Salad

    This homemade vegan version of Burma Superstar’s famous Tea Leaf Salad is a delicious mix of greens, nuts, and seeds in a flavorful dressing.

    Burma Superstar is one of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco. One of their most famous dishes is Tea Leaf Salad which has been served since 1992.

    Once you try it, you’ll understand why everyone orders it. The salad comes out of the kitchen with the components separated on the plate, and then it’s tossed at the table.

    But you don’t have to travel to San Francisco to try it. Now you can make a copycat version of a Burmese Tea Leaf Salad at home using their ingredients.

    Servings As Part Of A Larger Meal

    Burma Superstar Fermented Tea Leaf Salad
  • To make the salad, place a bed of lettuce in the center of a large plate or platter. Spoon the tea leaf dressing into the center of the lettuce.
  • Around the lettuce, arrange separate piles of fried garlic, split peas, peanuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, tomato, and jalapeño. Sprinkle with shrimp powder and drizzle with fish sauce.
  • Before serving, squeeze 2 lemon wedges over the plate. Using 2 forks, mix the ingredients together until the tea leaves lightly coat the lettuce. Taste, adding more lemon or fish sauce at the table, if desired.
  • Soak the laphet for 5 minutes in cold water to extract some of the bitterness. Drain, squeezing the leaves to remove excess water. Taste the leaves. If they still taste extremely bitter, soak and drain again.
  • Put the leaves in a food processor with the garlic and chile flakes and pulse a few times. Add the lemon juice and half of the oil, briefly pulse, and then, with the processor running, drizzle in the rest of the oil. Add 1 teaspoon salt. You will have about 12 cup of tea leaf dressing.
  • Line a heatproof bowl with a strainer. Line a plate with paper towels.
  • In a wok or small saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat for a minute or two .
  • Add the garlic and gently stir into the oil. When bubbles start to form rapidly around the garlic, decrease the heat to low and cook, stirring often, until the garlic is an even golden color and nearly completely crisp, about 3 minutes.
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    How To Make Tea Leaf Salad An Incredibly Special Burmese Recipe

    Before you sit down to a Burmese meal, you should know that when you finish your food youll be a changed person.

    Flavors you previously loved will taste blander, other meals wont feel as exciting. You will wonder if you should buy a ticket to San Francisco just for another chance to experience it all over again.

    The flavors of a Burmese meal will haunt you in the best of ways, but none of them more than tea leaf salad, or laphet thoke. What makes tea leaf salad so special is the tea leaf , of course. Thats right, in Myanmar, they dont just drink their tea, they eat it too but first, they ferment it.

    Laphet is a lesser known ingredient in the U.S. and Burma Superstar is about to change that with the restaurants recently released cookbook, Burma Superstar: Addictive Recipes from the Crossroads of Southeast Asia.

    The book devotes pages to this beloved Burmese food and does a beautiful job of explaining its position in Myanmars culture. Tea shops around Yangon and Myanmar pour gallons of green tea and black tea every day. Yet half of the tea consumed in Myanmar is eaten, not drunk. Made by fermenting just-picked Assam leaves, laphet or what the Burmese call pickled tea is slightly bitter, deeply savory, and strangely addictive, the books section on Laphet begins.

    Laphet is still a little-known ingredient, but thanks to establishments like Burma Superstar you can .

    Reprinted with permission from

    Fried Garlic Chips And Garlic Oil

    • 1/2 cup canola oil
    • 1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh garlic

    Line a heatproof bowl with a strainer. Line a plate with paper towels.In a wok or small saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat for a minute or two . Add garlic and gently stir. When bubbles start to form rapidly around the garlic, decrease heat to low and cook, stirring often, until the garlic is an even golden color and nearly completely crisp, about three minutes. If the garlic starts to darken too quickly, remove it from the heat and let it continue to fry in the oil.

    Garlic and oil into the strainer. Lift the strainer up and shake off the excess oil. Scatter garlic onto the lined plate. The garlic should crisp up as it cools. The chips can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for month month. Refrigerate the oil up to six months.

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    Fried Yellow Split Peas

    • 1/3 cup yellow split peas
    • 1/2 cup canola oil
    • Pinch of salt

    Place peas in a bowl and cover one inch of water. Soak at least four hours or overnight. Drain split peas through a fine-mesh strainer, shaking off the excess water.

    Line a plate with paper towels. In a wok or small saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat for one minute. Add the split peas. Once the oil starts to bubble rapidly around the split peas, lower the heat slightly and continue to fry, stirring often, until they begin to crisp up and turn slightly darker, about five minutes.

    Drain well. Scatter the split peas on the lined plate and season with salt. The split peas should be crunchy, but not rock-hard, once cooled. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.

    Burma Tea Leaf Salad Recipes

    Burmese tea leaf salad at Burma Cafe
    1/4 to 1/2 cup fermented tea leaves
    1 tablespoon dry shrimp powder
    1 tablespoon peanut oil
    2 large julienne plum tomatoes
    1 cup very thinly sliced cabbage
    1 teaspoon fried garlic
    2 tablespoons roasted peanuts
    2 tablespoons fried dried peas
    2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
    2 to 3 teaspoons lime juice
    1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon minced bird’s-eye chili or other hot chili, like a serrano
    1 to 2 teaspoons fish sauce
    Cilantro leaves, sliced fried garlic and whole green chilies, for garnish


    • Combine all ingredients in large bowl, and mix well. Divide between two plates, and serve, with garnishes.

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