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

EatingWell Magazine, March/April 2018; updated December 2022


Recipe Summary

30 mins
30 mins

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


Instructions Checklist
  • 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.

  • 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 (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

1 1/3 cups
180 calories; protein 5.1g; carbohydrates 13.6g; dietary fiber 4.5g; sugars 2.7g; fat 12.6g; saturated fat 1.2g; vitamin a iu 433.8IU; vitamin c 29.1mg; folate 27.6mcg; calcium 39.7mg; iron 0.9mg; magnesium 29.4mg; potassium 333.3mg; sodium 341.4mg.

1 1/2 veg, 1/2 starch, 1/2 lean meat, 2 1/2 fat