Fermented Tea Leaf Garnish 4 Ways [Myanmar]

4 tea leaf

Homework?? Yayyy! Nerd alert – I was honestly excited when Chef gave us all a bag of fermented tea leaves to take home and make something yummy out of for a tasting this upcoming Wednesday. Looking into the origin of the ingredient, fermented tea leaves are a commonly used ingredient called lahpet in Myanmar. Tasting it on its own, the leaf is quite bitter. In Myanmar, lahpet is traditionally used to make lahpet thoke, a tea leaf cabbage salad, or ahlu lahpet, a snack dish where the lahpet is served in the center of a tray surrounded by crunchier elements to be mixed with and eaten all together.

After brainstorming several ideas, the one that stuck was turning the fermented tea leaf into a crispy garnish that can go over a bowl of congee, silken tofu, or the like! Continue reading to discover the four ways I’ve flavored the garnish. My favorite so far is the Parmesan Tea Leaf Garnish! I’ll be needing to make a second batch of that one to take to the restaurant since the first is already almost all gone…

Original Tea Leaf Garnish: Toss the fermented tea leaves with olive oil and kosher salt. Roast in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes until dry and crispy.

Parmesan Tea Leaf Garnish: Toss the fermented tea leaves with olive oil, grated Parmigiano Reggiano (the real stuff please!), and a pinch of kosher salt. Roast in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes until dry and crispy. Top with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

Elderflower, Cinnamon & Raspberry Tea Leaf Garnish: Toss the fermented tea leaves with an emulsion of olive oil, elderflower syrup, and ground cinnamon. Roast in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes until dry and crispy. When cooled, toss with lightly-crushed freeze dried raspberries.

Chili Sesame Tea Leaf Garnish: Toss the fermented tea leaves with chili sesame oil and kosher salt. Roast in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes until dry and crispy. When cooled, toss with roasted sesame seeds.

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