Thunder Tea Rice recipe

Posted by spots (Singapore, Singapore) on 31 August 2007 in Food & Cuisine and Portfolio.

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
Asparagus, chopped into slightly less than 1cm pieces, 4 cups
Tau Kwa, chopped into small cubes, 4 cups
Spring onions, finely-chopped, 4 cups
Ikan billis, 3 cups
Chye poh, 3 cups
Coriander, finely-chopped 4 cups *
Mint leaves, finely-chopped 3 cups *
Basil, finely-chopped 1 cup *
Roasted groundnuts, de-shelled & skins removed 1/2 a chinese rice bowl
Sesame seeds 1/2 a chinese rice bowl
1 cup chicken stock
2tb black tea powder (BOH)

* 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.
*** Ikan billis and chye poh are a bit too salty for my taste, so I tend to give each person less of these, and I heap up on the other stuff, especially the spring onions and the coriander, which will give the dish a fantastic fragrance.

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!

HubbaHubba from Singapore

It was indeed yummy.
And credits to Hubba for the photo!

31 Aug 2007 5:18am

tyan from Singapore, Singapore

thanks for sharing!Lots of work!Will have to wait for an 'auspicious' day when the kids are good,sleep early and i still have a reasonable amt of adrenaline left to push through this,lol.Thanks,its really detailed and dummy proof!The pic looks good enough for recipe books!

31 Aug 2007 5:19pm

Fong from Singapore


Thanks for sharing the recipe and I love reading your blog. You may wish to know that the name of this dish is certainly not "Thunder Tea Rice" (as in 雷茶). It should have been "擂茶" meaning to grind (擂) the tea leaves and other ingredients together to form a paste.

4 Sep 2007 5:22am

spots from Singapore

Oh my!!! Thanks for that insight!! :) How come most stalls sell it as "Thunder tea Rice" then? Maybe it's a play on Chinese words?

4 Sep 2007 2:58pm

Fong from Singapore

I am equally puzzled too. Well, is either a mistake (that is perpetuated by other stalls) or really a play on words to capture attention.

5 Sep 2007 12:37am

Braxis from Malaysia

Curently i am searching the recipe of " thunder rice". I am missing this food deu to i can not find it in Penang. I love this food after i 've tried it last year while i visited to KL.
Thank you very much for share it out :)

5 Feb 2009 5:18am

Iazzy from Singapore

The tea would change to brown because of the Boh Tea, rite? So, can the black tea be substitute to green tea instead?

5 Mar 2009 7:49am

Cheng from Singapore

Why did you choose to use black BOH tea instead of green tea?
Thanks for posting

4 Jun 2009 3:18am

xinli from Singapore

thanks for sharing, i think 擂茶 is the correct and it is important becauseevery chinese word have its own meaning without the 'Hands' it will really become "thunder" which have a very different meaning to it.

Why green tea? i think we are talking about the Japanese green tea powder form. if we use the Boh Tea, the taste will turn bitter. Boh Tea is not really meant to eating, so green tea powder will make much more sense...

anyway, 擂茶 is very nice, i have been looking around for this, so thanks for sharing... i will try it...

29 Jan 2010 3:30pm

Robert from United States

Anyone know the recipe from Thunder Tea for their Basil Chicken w. Egg?

26 Apr 2010 1:24am

Tam from Singapore

Thanks for sharing the recipe, I tried but it does not turn out in bright green instead a v dark green. How to improve it?

27 Oct 2013 2:31pm

Nikon D50
1/60 second
57 mm (35mm equiv.)


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