Tea-Leaf Salad


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 of tea leaf salad, using readily available green tea, offers a quick alternative.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
30 mins
6 servings

Is Tea-Leaf Salad Good for You?

Tea-Leaf Salad is nutritious and healthy because of the variety of vegetables in the salad. Vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber. Eating more vegetables is one of the simplest and most effective things you can do to eat healthier. Adding nutrient-dense vegetables to your salad can help you meet the recommended amount of vegetable servings a day. Our Tea-Leaf Salad recipe includes green tea leaves, garlic, green cabbage, cherry tomatoes, peanuts and yellow split peas, all with numerous health benefits. Cruciferous vegetables like green cabbage are rich in potassium, folate and vitamin C.

How to Serve Tea-Leaf Salad

Mix the salad at the table so everyone can appreciate the diversity of ingredients—from crunchy to savory—that make it so special.

Additional reporting by Jan Valdez


Tea-Leaf Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons loose green tea leaves, such as sencha or Dragonwell

  • 2 cups very hot water (about 190 degrees 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

  • 1 ½ 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


  1. To 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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 (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.


Mini food processor


To prepare Fried Garlic & Fried Garlic Oil: Place a fine-mesh strainer over a heatproof bowl. Heat 1/3 cup canola oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and add 1/4 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 1/3 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 3/4 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.

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.

Made from salted fermented fish, fish sauce is a condiment found with other Asian ingredients at the supermarket. Thai Kitchen is a widely available brand that is lower in sodium.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

180 Calories
13g Fat
14g Carbs
5g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Serving Size 1 1/3 cups
Calories 180
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 5g 16%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 5g 10%
Total Fat 13g 16%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Vitamin A 434IU 9%
Vitamin C 29mg 32%
Folate 28mcg 7%
Sodium 341mg 15%
Calcium 40mg 3%
Iron 1mg 5%
Magnesium 29mg 7%
Potassium 333mg 7%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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