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Recipe by

Chef Rebecca Peizer Culinary Institute of America

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Burmese Tea Leaf Salad with Popped Lentils

Servings: 4

Crispy, nutty popped lentils make for great snacks, are a delicious addition to granola, and are a tasty topping on salads, dips, and yogurt. Chef Rebecca Peizer from The Culinary Institute of America shows us how to use popped lentils in a wonderful Burmese Tea Leaf and Popped Lentil Salad.

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Recipe by

Chef Rebecca Peizer Culinary Institute of America

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    For the popped lentils:

    2 oz (57 mL) canola oil

    1 cup (250 mL) cooked whole green lentils, drained

    For the fermented tea leaves:

    4 cups (1 L) water, hot

    1/2 cup (125 mL) green tea leaves

    2 Tbsp (30 mL) ginger, minced

    1 Tbsp (15 mL) garlic, minced

    1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

    1 lime, juiced

    For the salad:

    2 Tbsp (30 mL) sesame seeds

    1 Tbsp (15 mL) peanut oil

    1/4 cup (60 mL) garlic, thinly sliced

    1 Tbsp (15 mL) fish sauce

    2 limes, juiced

    1 cup (250 mL) savoy cabbage, thinly sliced

    1/2 cup (125 mL) peanuts, roasted, rough chop

    1 cup (250 mL) tomatoes, diced

    2 green onion, thinly sliced

    1 Tbsp (15 mL) dry shrimp, soaked in hot water

    1 cup (250 mL) popped lentils

    1/2 cup (125 mL) fermented tea leaves

    1 Tbsp (15 mL) Thai bird chili, or Serrano, sliced thinly


  1. For the popped lentils: Heat a skillet on medium high heat with the oil and add the lentils.
  2. Swirl the pan around and toss the lentils in the oil.
  3. The lentils will start to sizzle and pop. When the lentils are crispy and the edges are dried drain on paper towels. This will take about 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
  5. To ferment the tea leaves: Pour 4 cups of hot water over the dried tea leaves, stir, and let soak about 10 minutes. Drain.
  6. Squeeze out any remaining liquid from the tea leaves.
  7. Repeat twice more, then add cold water and let stand for 1 hour.
  8. Drain, squeeze thoroughly to remove excess water
  9. Chop the leaves finely and mix together with 2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger, 1 tablespoon of garlic made into a paste with the ½ teaspoon salt, and the juice of 1 lime.
  10. Cover and allow it to ferment, untouched, for two days in a cool space.
  11. To make the salad: Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan until light golden brown. Remove and reserve.
  12. In the same pan, heat the peanut oil and add the garlic cloves, toasting until light brown. Remove and reserve the oil.
  13. Mix the reserved garlic oil with the fish sauce and the lime juice and set aside.
  14. Arrange all cabbage, peanuts, tomato, green onion, toasted garlic, shrimp, and popped lentils around a plate, unmixed.
  15. Place the tea leaf mixture, if using, in a pile in the center of the plate.
  16. Sprinkle the dish with the sesame seeds and the chili.
  17. Pour garlic oil dressing over the top of the salad.

Produced by The Culinary Institute of America as an industry service to Canadian Lentils.

Recipe & Photo Copyright: Culinary Institute of America.