Thunder Tea Rice recipe
Over the past month, I made Thunder Tea Rice (Lei Char Fan) 3 times in an effort to get it just right. The culmination of that was the Thunder Tea Rice I made for Daniel's birthday 2 weeks ago. For those of you who may not know, Thunder Tea Rice is a traditional Hakka dish that consists of a litany of chopped and stir-fried ingredients served over a bed of steaming jasmine rice, and eaten with a healthy bowl of "minty" soup to boot. The soup is a lovely fresh green colour and has a special taste, because it is made with lots of mint & a bit of tea, hence the name Thunder Tea Rice!
Here is the recipe, and I do apologise for it being late. It's definitely a keeper and I say this quite happily because it's been a long while since I've had the presence of mind to experiment with cooking and the ability to actually execute a delicious meal for 10 people. So praise God! With JT, my helper's assistance, we pulled off a yummy meal that night!
French beans, chopped into 1cm pieces, 4 cups
* For the coriander, mint and basil, buy from the wet market as you need A LOT. Ask your veggie aunty for the whole mint sprig and pick off the leaves and discard the rest. For the coriander and basil, you can use the whole thing, i.e., stems as well as leaves
1. Chop and lightly stir fry in hot oil the french beans, asparagus, tau kwa, ikan billis and chye poh. Fry each ingredient separately, not all together, and then place them in their own separate bowls and set aside.
2. Place half the coriander, and all the mint, basil, all finely chopped, and the groundnuts, sesame seeds and tea powder in a food processor or grinder. Add 1 to 1.5 cups of water and blitz them all together until they are all finely ground and mixed together.
3. 30 minutes before serving, heat up 2 litres of water in a large pot. Add 1 cup of chicken stock. When boiling, throw in the spice paste that you created in the food processor. The water will turn a fantastic light green colour. Stir to make sure everything is mixed together, then cover and return to boil. **
4. Start preparing the bowls to be served. Heap rice into the bowls. Then on top of the rice, place little portions of the french beans, asparagus, tau kwa, spring onions, ikan billis and chye poh, as well as the remaining half of the coriander. *** Serve the rice bowls together with your steaming hot green mint soup. Enjoy!
** The longer you boil this minty soup, the more the fantastic green colour will fade to an ugly brown. So, that's why I recommend preparing the soup only 1/2 hour before you actually serve. Be careful not to overboil the soup. Once the mixture has returned to boil, let it simmer for a short while then turn it off and serve straight away.
If you want to half or quarter the recipe, just half or quarter the ingredients. For the soup though, even though the amount of water and chicken stock can be halfed or quartered, I still think that the more mint/coriander/basil, the better, so you may not want to stinge on those!