Greens and Mushrooms with Fermented Tea Leaf

tea salad kit

Inspired by my Korean cooking course, I went seeking more fermented products, and came across something especially tasty from Burma: fermented tea leaf (laphet.) The beloved San Francisco restaurant Burma Superstar has started selling it in jars, as part of a salad kit with a nut mix. It tastes a little bit like pesto, except much more subtle and layered. I got just the jar and used it in this easy steamed vegetable recipe, which I served atop a baked potato.


Greens from three beets (about 4 cups)
2 cups various mushrooms
3 cloves garlic
splash of water
1 heaping tbsp fermented tea leaf


Chop up beet greens and mushrooms.
Heat up a pan. Add garlic cloves and heat them up for 30 seconds. Then, add mushrooms and beet greens. Splash some water in to prevent sticking.
Cook until beet greens wilt and the volume of the dish considerably decreases. Then, turn off the heat and mix in fermented tea leaf.

Serve on top of a baked potato or with rice.

Chickpea Pancakes with Korean Fermented Sauces

korean chickpea pancakes

This month I’m taking a wonderful online course in Korean temple cooking, offered by Tricycle and taught by the amazing Shin Kim from Banchan Story. In addition to some innovative recipes, we are learning quite a bit about the connections between temple cuisine and Buddhist traditions.

I’ve always loved Korean food–there was a lovely restaurant in Jerusalem that I used to frequent with my best friend from high school–and learning about temple cooking adds another layer of wonderfulness. In particular, the course introduced me to the use of fermented sauces, which are easily obtainable at any Asian grocery or at Whole Foods. This recipe is my adaptation of Shin’s pancake recipe: I make mine with besan (roasted chickpea flour) to add more nutritional value to the meal, and I serve it with a salad rather than with rice.

2 cups various mushrooms (I used king oyster, shiitake, and maiitake, because that’s what I had at home)
1 medium-size zucchini
2/3 cup water
2/3 cup besan flour or other chickpea flour
2 tbsp Korean fermented pepper sauce (Gochujang)
1 tbsp Korean fermented soybeans (Doenjang)

Chop mushrooms and zucchini into small cubes.
In a big bowl, pour water and mix into it the two fermented sauces. Whisk until smooth. Then, gradually add the besan flour until you get a thick pancake consistency.
Add the vegetables and mix until combined.
Heat up a no-stick pan. When very hot, pour in batter in spoonfuls, each pancake approximately 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter.
When the sides begin to crisp and you see bubbles, flip each pancake and briefly cook the other side.

Serve hot and crispy!