Woohoo! I finally made my own thunder tea rice! Lol. I’m a big fan of this signature Hakka rice dish because 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’ (擂茶) 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 😉 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! 🙂
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
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.
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 🙂 This is one of my best ways to eat vegetables. A very filling meal yet not heavy on the stomach. Bon appetit!