Burmese inspired salad

Given that the thermometer is still hitting 90 degrees fahrenheit in October, I thought I'd upload my "new" salad.  Last month, my husband and I took a road trip up and down the west coast.  We seemed to be constantly fleeing the wildfires.  Some of the highlights of the trip were camping in the beautiful National Parks, Portland's Rose Garden and eating at this interesting Portland Burmese restaurant called Top Burmese from which I got this Burmese inspired salad.

Top Burmese Tea Leaf Salad

Burmese food seems to be a combination of all the South East Asian Cuisines. We ordered a spicy tea leaf salad called "Shoo Share".  This salad's dressing is made with fermented tea leaves.  I was curious about the origins of this salad and the reason for the tea leaves.  I was asking our wonderful young waitress so many questions that she eventually called the owner to our table.

The owner told me that their salad was pretty authentic but in Burma, they used cabbage instead of lettuce.  She also said that tomatoes are expensive in Burma so only if you can afford it, you would add tomatoes and the crunchies!  It made me think how fortunate we are here in the USA where produce is abundant and inexpensive!

I LOVED all the crunchies, but did not really care for the fermented tea leaves dressing.  One reason is that I am sensitive to caffeine and the waitress did say this would be a caffeinated dressing.  I decided that I was going to adapt that dressing to something that had the same flavorful punch.  The dressing I made is robust and flavorful.  When I made it for one of my daughters, she couldn't believe the size of the salad.  It was huge...but we ate it all!  

With this salad, it is so tasty that you will eat a lot of greens!  It has plenty of plant protein.  However, you can always add a small portion of "meat" protein to make it a hearty meal.  I've made this salad with grilled shrimp and scallops and it was simply delicious. 

Shrimp salad with cilantro dressing

Tips for making Burmese inspired salad.

The first time I made this salad, I made all the crunchies / toppings except for the fried broad beans.  This was definitely labor intensive.  I realize that most of these crunchies are now readily available as snacks in Asian grocery stores, either in the Chinese section or the Indian section or Amazon.  A few years ago, I remember going to India and bringing back a suitcase-full of Indian snacks.  I decided to give some to our Indian friends and made it a point in letting them know that it was all the way from India.  They were very polite when accepting it, but later mentioned that if I needed more, I could purchase them from a store down the street!

Ethnic toppings for Burmese inspired salad

Easy salad toppings: Fried broad beans, Fried shallots, Fried green peas, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds.


I have found that you can add a lot of plant protein to this salad and it is not only very nutritious, but adds that wonderful crunch!  One of the things that I discovered was a high protein, low carb green gram or moong dal that is very nutritious.

Fried Moong Dal

Some other toppings that can be used are: Fried broad beans, fried fava beans, fried peas, fried onions, fried garlic, roasted nuts and all sorts of roasted seeds such as sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds etc. I recently found freeze-dried whole garlic cloves at Sprouts and they are delicious. 

Salad Dressing Ingredients

My salad dressing is more like a paste rather than a liquid dressing.  It is very nutritious and has no oil.  It is a combination of Indian and Thai flavors.  Depending on your palate, feel free to omit any ingredients to make it your own.  However, the FRESH lime juice is key.  My recipe also calls for fresh kaffir lime leaves and lemon grass.  This can be found in Asian grocery stores.  Eventhough these ingredients can be found in the pre-made Thai green curry paste, it does make the dressing more flavorful.   The paste is simple to make.  It does require a food processor or blender.  It is helpful to chop the herbs into small pieces before blending to get a smooth paste.     

If you like spicy, feel free to add chopped fresh green Thai chilies.  I have found that there is enough spiciness from the green curry paste and I just tend to add more of that for an extra punch!.    
Ingredients for Burmese inspired salad
Burmese inspired salad paste in blender

I like layering chopped lettuce at the bottom of a large salad bowl.  I then group the diced vegetables, seeds and toppings together on the top.  If adding seafood or meat, I like to place that along the edges of the salad bowl.  Toss the salad just before serving in order to keep the toppings crunchy.  

Burmese inspired salad with sauteed scallops

Burmese inspired salad with sauteed scallops

Tossed Burmese salad. Ready to eat!

Tossed Burmese salad. Toss just before eating to keep the toppings crunchy!

Burmese inspired salad


Michelle Sam
This spicy Burmese inspired salad replaces the fermented tea leaves paste with a cilantro, mint, lime paste and hints of kaffir lime and lemongrass.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine Burmese
Servings 4 people
Calories 10 kcal


  • Food processor or blender


  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro about 140 grams for 1 x
  • ¾-1 tsp Thai green curry paste
  • 1 3" stem of tender lemon grass
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1-2 lime. Juice from a fresh lime
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 bunch fresh mint about 70 grams for 1 x
  • 1 green thai chili (optional) for extra spiciness


  • Squeeze the juice from 1-2 limes.
  • Cut the cilantro so that the food processor / blender can handle it easily.
  • If using mint, remove the leaves from the stem.
  • Cut the kaffir lime leaves into thin strips so that the food processor can handle it easily.
  • Finely chop the lemon grass before blending as this may be sometimes a little tough to blend.
  • In a food processor / blender, add lime juice, cilantro, mint, kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, Thai curry paste and fish sauce and blend. DO NOT ADD THE CHILI.
  • If the paste is not spicy enough, you can add the chopped fresh chili or add additional green curry paste to taste.


Serving: 4peopleCalories: 10kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 274mgPotassium: 43mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 329IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 8mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Burmese salad
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was or if you have any questions or suggestions!
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