Ingredients

  • ½ cup packed fermented tea leaves
  • 1 cup finely chopped green cabbage
  • 1 loosely packed cup mixed chopped coriander and scallion greens
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger (preferably young ginger)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • ¼ cup Chopped Roasted Peanuts
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Method

This salad, called niang ko in Shan language (and yam miang in Thai), is always served mixed together. Traditionally the Shan use fresh tea leaves, immerse them in hot water briefly, then squeeze them out thoroughly, discard any tough patches and leaf veins, and chop them finely. Most of us don’t have access to fresh tea leaves, so use either ½ cup packed fermented tea leaves, processing them as instructed above by repeated soakings, or about 1 cup loosely packed dried green tea leaves (these work very well, especially leaves with a good green color). Add the dried tea leaves to hot water, stir, and let soak until very softened, about 10 minutes; then drain, pick through the leaves, and discard any tough bits.

Squeeze out the tea leaves thoroughly, chop finely, and put in a medium bowl. Add about 1 cup finely chopped green cabbage, 1 loosely packed cup mixed chopped coriander and scallion greens, and 2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger (preferably young ginger). Mix together thoroughly and set aside.

Fry ¼ cup sliced garlic in 2 to 3 tablespoons peanut oil until golden. Set aside. Add ¼ cup Chopped Roasted Peanuts or whole unsalted roasted peanuts, and 2 to 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds; toss. If you started with dried or fresh tea leaves, add about 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, to give a sour note. Pour over the reserved garlic and oil. Mix and blend some more, add ½ teaspoon salt, mix again, taste and adjust if needed, and serve.

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