Hakka Lei Cha / Thunder Tea Rice Recipe

Woohoo! I finally made my own thunder tea rice! Lol. I’m a big fan of this signature Hakka rice dish becauseย it has so many different types of vegetables in it. High fibre – yeah – but it’s that mix of textures, variety and wholesomeness that keep me coming back for it. For those who are new to this dish, ‘lei cha’ (ๆ“‚่Œถ) simply means ‘pounded tea’ but it’s also called ‘thunder tea rice’ because traditionally, the ingredients were pounded manually to make the tea soup and the sound of that action actually resembled thunder. Now you know ๐Ÿ˜‰ For those trying to watch your diet or need a detox after an indulging feast, this is a recipe not to be missed. I tweaked the flavour of my tea soup to be more nutty so it wouldn’t have that strong grassy taste that many wouldn’t appreciate. And I also added sesame seeds to give it more aroma. Enjoy this Thunder Tea Rice Recipe! ๐Ÿ™‚

Thunder Tea Rice Recipe

Thunder Tea Rice Recipe

Ingredients (serves 2-3)
100g chye sim (mustard leaves), finely chopped
100g China spinach, finely chopped
100g long beans, diced
100g cabbage, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped (divide into 4 portions)
100g ikan bilis (anchovies)
200g tau kwa (firm beancurd), diced
60g dried shrimps, soaked in water for 15 minutes & rinsed
olive oil
2 cups cooked brown rice or as needed
2 tbsp ground roasted peanuts

For the tea soup:
100g ground roasted peanuts
100g toasted white sesame seeds
100g basil leaves (Note: 300g basil yields 100g leaves)
1 tbsp Chinese tea leaves (I use tieguanyin)
150ml warm water or vegetable stock
salt to taste

1. With a food processor or blender, blitz all ingredients for the tea soup and season with salt to taste. Set aside.
2. Heat a little olive oil in pan and saute 1 portion of garlic till fragrant. Stir fry chye sim and set aside. Repeat with the spinach, long beans and cabbage separately.
3. Pan-fry the ikan bilis with a little oil till golden brown and crispy. Alternatively, you can also toast them in the oven with no oil. Do the same for the tau kwa and dried shrimps separately. Set aside.
4. To assemble the thunder tea rice, scoop some brown rice into a wide bowl and arrange the rest of the ingredients on top together with 1 tbsp of ground peanuts. Serve the tea soup separately or pour into the rice, mix thoroughly and enjoy.

Thunder Tea Rice Recipe

If you find the tea soup too thick for your liking, you can adjust it by diluting with hot water or homemade (either non-salted or low-sodium) vegetable broth. For vegetarians, just skip the anchovies and dried shrimps ๐Ÿ™‚ This is one of my best ways to eat vegetables. A very filling meal yet not heavy on the stomach. Bon appetit!


  • Grace says:

    Hi Geri!

    Thanks for visiting my blog! I’m a huge fan of Singaporean/Malaysian/Thai/Chinese/Korean food, and would like to follow your blog and read about your yummy adventures! I’m wondering how I can do that via wordpress since I don’t see a button for that. Can you help me figure out this blogging blip so I can follow you in turn?


    • Geri Tan says:

      Hello Grace! Thanks for stopping by my blog as well ๐Ÿ™‚ My blog is currently hosted on its own server and not via wordpress.com anymore so that’s why you don’t see the follow button. You can either subscribe to my blog via email (on right hand side column) or add my blog URL to your wordpress reader so you can receive feed of my posts. Alternatively, I have other social media platforms that you can choose from – Facebook and Twitter – so take your pick! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sammie says:

    Wow! Very nice Geri! I would never have thought of making my own Lei Cha Fan! hehe..

    • Geri Tan says:

      Hi Sammie, thanks for stopping by ๐Ÿ™‚ I didn’t expect myself to make it too, lol. But I’ve been having this outside all the time that I feel it’s probably more economical and even healthier (as I could control salt and oil amount) if I do it at home. And I did ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Linda says:

    Wow Geri! I’ve never seen anything like this before – it looks amazing! I think I’ll have to do some substituting when I give this one a try as I’m afraid I won’t be able to find some of these ingredients…but it sounds really really good!

    • Geri Tan says:

      Hi Linda! Feel free to substitute the ingredients. I did it too for one of the vegetables because traditionally sayur manis (aka star gooseberry or sweet leaf) is used but I couldn’t find it in time so I replaced that with mustard leaves. I think the tea soup that I made was quite authentic in taste but if you like it more nutty or aromatic, just adjust the amount of peanuts and/or sesame seeds that go into it. Hope you will like it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Normah says:

    Thanks for sharing your recipe. Saw a couple of this recipe online but this one looks manageable so high chance of me try cooking it for lunch over the weekend.

  • Normah says:

    Yes the dish is really yummy! I would love to attach a photo of the dish but dont see how i can do so.

Leave a Comment