Myanmar’s pickled tealeaf salad is one of well-known foods among global communities. One of my American friends told that there is a famous Myanmar food restaurant in San- Francisco where pickled tealeaf salad is offered and there you can see a queue of people who come for this particular food, almost every day ( I will write another article about this in more detail). Good foods give memories to the dearest ones that I wish to share to my dearest readers how such delicious tealeaf salad is step by step processed from fresh tea leaves in the hands of tea producer farmers. Sincere thanks and gratitude towards all the friends from Shan State who had fulfill to all my questions and curiosity on pickled tealeaf processing, with much patience. A friend from Sri-Lanka also asked me to write this article in English, as almost all the foreigners visited Myanmar like Myanmar pickled tealeaf salad.
Following is the step by step process from raw green tea leaves to the pickled tealeaf salad;
1. Tea leaves tips are cut and collected by hands. There is a range for the size and standard of the green tea leaves to collect, depend on the product you’re going to produce.
1. Put the leaves in to the boiling water to become a little soft. In the large scale production factories, this step is done by steaming, using broilers. Than the steamed tea leaves are softening by using rollers and mixture. Then, put and press into the ground pit, made of rocky walls and floor.
2. When the leaves become soft enough, drain the boiled water and press and roll the leaves, so that the bitter taste get off from the leaves. In this step, most important thing is to remove all the water content, as much as possible, otherwise, easy to contaminate when preserved.
3. Than the rolled tea leaves are pressed into cloth bags and reserve about 2-3 months, so that remaining moisture are removed away slowly from the bag.( Directly pressed into ceramic pot is applicable , but not recommended, as remaining moisture can cause contamination and fungus infection may occurred. )
Note: Up to this step, the pickled tealeaf is not ready to eat, however, it can be called pickled tealeaf. To have a good taste, this raw pickled tealeaf has to be preserved with salt and oil. Usually, individual consumers wash the raw pickled tealeaf before preserve to serve. You can use warm water to wash the raw pickled tealeaf and squeeze out the water, so that bitter taste are less.
(c)Tea leaves Pickling
One month later, when the tea leaves are soft and dry, it is ready to make pickle tealeaf for serving. Traditionally, Myanmar people used to keep raw pickled tealeaf at home in an air-tight bottle, just as it is and preserve (pickle ) it for serving , only the needed amount as and when required. There is a variety of taste of pickled tealeaf preserving. It just depend on what you prefer. Now a days, you can get instant pickled tealeaf with different tast and brands , everywhere on the stall shelves.
(d)Different types ( taste ) of pickled tealeaf
If the raw pickled tealeaf is of soft tips, not necessarily to pound it. If it is a low quality matured leaves, consumers at home used to put it into the motor and pound it before pickling, to get softening.
1. Original tealeaf taste - ( tealeaf, oil, salt) (for consumers who want to eat original tealeaf taste)
Put salt and groundnut oil onto the raw pickled tealeaf ( pounded or original ), mixed it and it is ready to serve with the mixture of assorted peas and bean fries, garlic fries, roasted sesame and dried small prawns. You can mix every items in a bowl, or just put all items side by side in a plate and eat according to your preference by mixing items of your choice.
Some people prefer to eat only the pickled tealeaf tips without mixing with any other items. Some used to eat with fresh garlic and green chilli.
2. Garlic tealeaf taste- ( tealeaf, garlic, oil, salt) ( for those who like garlic taste)
Put tealeaf, salt, garlic into motor and pound slowly. Then remove the mixture and put it in a small bowl and pour oil onto it. It is ready to serve, just as it is or mixed with assorted fries as mention above. Some people prefer garlic tealeaf pickle, as garlic prevent from stomach upset (caused sometimes, by tealeaf pickle)
3. Hot and sour taste tealeaf pickle- ( tealeaf, garlic, green chilli, lime, oil, salt)
Pound raw pickled tealeaf with little salt. Remove it in a bowl. Pound green chilli and garlic to have smooth paste. Put the tealeaf in the motor and pound again to have a good mixture. Remove all into a bowl, put lime and oil. It is ready to serve, as it is, or with assorted fries as mentioned above.
4. Ginger tealeaf pickle- ( tealeaf, preserved sour ginger, oil, salt )
Pound raw pickled tealeaf with little salt. Put in a bowl and mix with preserved sour ginger and oil.
5. Djenkol bean tealeaf pickle- ( tealeaf, boiled djenkol bean, oil, salt)( for those who like djenkol bean)
Pound raw pickled tealeaf with little salt. Put in a bowl and mix with sliced thin djenkol bean and oil. Ready to serve with assorted fries
Preserving for Long time
If we prefer preserving for long time, tea leave should be sunk in the oil in air-tight bottle.
To conclude, we hope you will obtain some information about the basic concept of tea leave to a certain extend. We are welcome if you have some suggestions, questions or comments. Please reach to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for your interesting,