Sunday, February 9, 2020

Recipe: Keto Burmese Tea Leaf Salad

All my recipes so far have been desserts or snacks, so I thought I'd share my favorite dinner recipe, Burmese Tea Leaf salad. It's got a fantastic umami flavor from the tea leaves, fish sauce, and nuts, with a great combination of crunchy textures from the nuts, lettuce, and garlic.

I adapted this recipe from Burma Superstar, a great Burmese restaurant where I live. I've always loved their Tea Leaf salad, but it has dried lentils and tomatoes, which makes too high in carbs for anything other than a once-in-a-while cheat meal. 

The restaurant has a cookbook with the recipe, but when I tried to reproduce it, it didn't taste nearly as good as what I get at the restaurant. Fortunately, I discovered that when you order the salad to go, the put the ingredients separately in a box for you to mix together yourself. I got a box and weighed out the individual ingredients.

From there, over several tries, I made the following modifications: 

  • Removed the tomatoes and lentils to reduce carbs.
  • Increased the amount of nuts from 100 to 130 g to increase calories.
  • Changed the nut mix to ones I like better (I actually vary this based on my mood)
  • Replaced the sliced jalapeƱo with red pepper flakes for convenience.
  • Replaced garlic chips with fried minced garlic to reduce cost.
  • Use pre-seasoned fermented tea leaves for convenience.
  • Added flaky sea salt as a garnish to give an additional crunchy texture.

This recipe is extremely customizable. You can modify the seasonings or nut mix to whatever you like. I use whatever nuts I'm in the mood for and often swap out the red pepper and fish sauce for other spices. You can also tune the calories up or down by using more or less nuts.

A note on macros: A lot of tea leaf containers claim very high carb content (e.g. 16g per tbsp.). From testing my blood sugar, this is not correct. I only need an extra 0.5u of insulin when I eat this compared with my normal dinner (300g meat, 150g low-carb vegetable), which suggests the net carbs from the 85g of tea leaves can't be more than ~5 g). 

Hope you enjoy it!

- QD

Keto Burmese Tea Leaf Salad

Yield: 1
prep time: 5 Mcook time: total time: 5 M
A low-carb Burmese Tea Leaf Salad, adapted from the Burma Superstar recipe.


Nut Mix (traditional)
  • 100g peanuts, roasted & salted
  • 100g sunflower seeds, roasted & salted
  • 100g sesame seeds, , roasted & salted
  • 100g pumkin seeds, , roasted & salted
  • 40g fried garlic
Nut Mix (my favorite variation)
  • 200g mixed sprouted seeds (from Costco)
  • 100g macadamia nuts, chopped (from Costco)
  • 100g peanuts, roasted & salted
  • 40g fried garlic
  • 130g nut mix
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 100g hearts of romaine lettuce, chopped thin
  • 85g fermented tea leaves (I use a brand from my local supermarket, but you can also get this off Amazon)
  • 1/4 tsp. shrimp powder 
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. fish sauce
  • flaky sea salt to taste


How to cook Keto Burmese Tea Leaf Salad

  1. Mix together nuts and garlic. This can be done in a large batch and stored for use for multiple salads or other dishes.
  2. Combine all ingredients except for salt in  a medium bowl and let sit for 5-10 min.
  3. Add salt right and serve (if you add salt too early, it will dissolve and you won't get the crunchy texture).
Macros are heavily dependent on the type of nuts and tea leaves you use.
Created using The Recipes Generator

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