Today’s afternoon tea is rather special; it’s pickled tea leaf salad (laphet thote). Finding pickled tea leaf is not always easy. In my cookbook, I mentioned laphet can usually be purchased from a Myanmar (Burmese) supplier but now it’s available from Bayin; a social enterprise based in Ireland.
I received my precious jars of Pickled Tea Leaf and Nut & Bean Mix from Bayin who have kindly shipped it out to Australia. I immediately noticed the wonderful quality of the pickled tea leaves; whole leaves that have a distinctive flavour, slightly tart yet light and fresh. The bean and nut mix is morishly crunchy with a mix of cashew nuts, Bengal gram peas, butter beans, flat beans, peanuts and sesame seeds. Not only am I impressed with the quality of Bayin’s products but also their journey of how they came about in bringing Myanmar products to the West.
When you have great ingredients, it’s easy to rustle up a quick pickled tea leaf salad. If you really don’t have time, mixing the pickled tea leaf and nut & bean mix with a squeeze of lime juice will suffice. In Myanmar, we do love our pickled tea leaf salad and occasionally transform this snack into lunch when accompanied with rice.
I have paired the pickled tea leaf salad with Black tea from Arakai Estate (spring flush) which is grown in Queensland, Australia. The Taiwanese-style tea has a sweet, fresh aroma that reminds me of grass jelly drinks in Yangon (kyaukchaw). The rounded sweetness of the tea comes through and balances the salty, sour, umami of the pickled tea leaf salad. Perfect!
Pickled tea leaf salad
1 generous tablespoon of Bayin pickled tea leaf
a good handful of Bayin nut & bean mix
2 small tomatoes, chopped
handful of coriander, roughy chopped
handful of red/white cabbage, thinly sliced
red chilli (optional)
Pile all the ingredients individually on a plate, squeeze the lime and mix just prior to eating. Adjust proportions according to taste.