Recipe, Lephet Thoke, USA Style

Lephet Thoke

4 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage (about 2/3 head)
2 T unsalted roasted peanuts
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
6 medium shrimp, shell on
2 garlic cloves + 2 T oil for frying
3 T sesame oil
2 T green tea leaves
1 tsp fish sauce
1 juicy lime
2 T cilantro, finely chopped
½ tomato, seeded and diced (optional)

Shell and de-vein the shrimp.

Fill a medium sized saucepan with water and bring it to a simmer. Poach the shrimp until just cooked through, which only takes a matter of minutes.

Remove them from their poaching liquid as soon as they are done cooking, cool, and refrigerate.

Clean the shrimp shells under running water. Dry them well.

Heat up the sesame oil in a small pan, and add in the shrimp shells along with the tea leaves. Let them infuse in the oil on moderate heat for 5-10 minutes, then turn off the heat and continue to let them infuse while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Slice the poached shrimps in half lengthwise.

Heat up the 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet, and fry the garlic until golden brown. Remove the garlic with a slotted spatula and set it on some paper towel to soak up some of the oil.

Combine the cabbage, peanuts, sesame seeds, shrimp, and tomato (if you are using) together in a bowl.

Drain the infusing oil of the shrimp shells and tea leaves, pressing hard on the solids, in order to extract all of the flavored oil.

Make the dressing by whisking together the infused oil, fish sauce, lime juice, some salt to taste, and the cilantro.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well.

Top the salad with the fried garlic.

Serves 2 as a main dish, 4 appetizer portions.

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