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“Traditionally, the star of this famous Burmese salad, laphet, is made by fermenting just-picked tea leaves for several months underground. While laphet is starting to be imported, it is still hard to find. This version, using readily available green tea, offers a quick alternative. Mix the salad at the table so everyone can appreciate the diversity of ingredients—from crunchy to savory—that make it so special.”
2 tablespoons loose green tea leaves, such as sencha or Dragonwell
2 cups very hot water (about 190°F)
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons fried garlic oil (see Tips) or canola oil
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
4 cups shredded green cabbage
1½ cups roughly chopped cherry tomatoes
½ jalapeño or serrano chile, seeded and minced
¼ cup fried garlic (see Tips)
¼ cup coarsely chopped toasted peanuts
¼ cup fried yellow split peas (see Tips)
1 tablespoon fried garlic oil (see Tips) or canola oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons fish sauce (see Tips)
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons dried shrimp powder (optional; see Tips)
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1To prepare dressing: Steep tea leaves in hot water for 3 minutes. Drain and press excess water out of the tea leaves (you can drink the tea). Let cool to room temperature.
2Combine 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.
3To 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 (or serrano), 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 (if using) and crushed red pepper. Mix tableside with 2 forks.
Tips: To prepare Fried Garlic & Fried Garlic Oil: Place a fine-mesh strainer over a heatproof bowl. Heat ⅓ cup canola oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and add ¼ cup sliced garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Pour the garlic and oil through the strainer. Transfer the garlic to a paper-towel-lined plate. Reserve the oil to use on salads. Store fried garlic airtight in a cool dark place for up to 1 month; refrigerate the oil for up to 2 months.
To prepare Fried Yellow Split Peas: Soak ⅓ cup yellow split peas in water for at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours. Drain and pat dry. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a heatproof bowl. Heat ¾ cup canola oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the split peas and cook, stirring often, until they start to turn a deep mustard color, 4 to 6 minutes. Pour the split peas and oil through the strainer (discard the oil). Transfer the split peas to a paper-towel-lined plate. Store airtight at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
Made from salted fermented fish, fish sauce is a pungent, funky condiment found with other Asian ingredients at the supermarket. Thai Kitchen is a widely available brand that is lower in sodium.
To prepare Dried Shrimp Powder: Put 2 Tbsp. dried shrimp in a coffee grinder reserved for grinding spices. Pulse until ground to a fluffy powder. Store airtight at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months.