Lower cholesterol, detoxify the body, aid digestion, lose weight, clear complexion and the list goes on. My maternal grandma 外婆 always told me about the goodness of eating Thunder Tea Rice. Lose weight is something that she always highlight to me. Haha..
That's when my parents working overseas to make a living, I was taken care by grandma since young. My grandma used to cook this often. This is how my knowledge of Thunder Tea Rice comes from.
My grandma has 12 childrens (5 sons and 7 daughters). All my uncle and aunts will gather at my grandma's house and cook this dish together. The last time was during my teenage time, should be somewhere around 13 years old I guess. And that was the last time. I suddenly miss my grandma so much. Sigh!
People don't make this at home anymore. Because they think this dish is too troublesome. Too much ingredients to buy, and youngsters don't really appreciate such traditional food as we do. Another reason why this dish is being slowly forgotten is probably due to the complexity of preparations. Modern people tends to measure the amount of ingredients purchased and prepared vs the amount of people gathered at home to enjoy this dish. Small families? It's just not worth the effort of preparing. That's sad.
Other than me, no one in my maternal grandma's family bother to learn this dish. No one.
During my trip back to our hometown (Ipoh / Kampar), I've got this ultimate traditional equipment to make the tea soup for this dish. When I saw it, I was like "Whoaaaa~!!! Precious~!!!". Mad happy! Hahaha... Well, this is inherit by my Father-In-Law's grandma. And since I'm the Daughter-In-Law, I'm now the owner of the 4th generation. I wonder if my future child will appreciate this thing if I were to pass it down next time.
- 8gm 'Luk Bou' Chinese Tea Leaves 六宝茶-茶叶
- 10gm Toasted Sesame 烤芝麻
- 100gm Toasted Peanut 烤花生
- 80gm Old Ginger, skin removed, cut into small piece 老姜, 消皮, 切小块
- 30gm Fried Anchovies 炸江鱼仔
- 50gm Thai Basil 九层塔
- 50gm Mint Leaves 香花菜 / 薄荷叶
- 50gm Manicai 树仔菜
- 30gm 'Fu Lit Sum' 苦列心 I don't know what is it called in English. (If you could find them)
The 7 Vegetables
- 300gm Choy Sum / Chye Sim 菜心
- 350gm Romaine Lettuce, aka You Mai 油麦
- 400gm Manicai 树仔菜
- 300gm Kai Lan 芥兰
- 200gm Thai Basil 九层塔
- 200gm Mint Leaves 香花菜
- 250gm French Beans 四季豆 + 15gm Dried Shrimps 虾米, but dried shrimps is optional.
- 200gm Black-Eyed Pea 眉豆 + 30gm Dried Shrimps 虾米
- 150gm Preserved Sweet White Radish 甜菜圃
- 80gm Dried Shrimps 虾米
- 1 block Pressed Tofu 豆腐干
- 250gm Toasted Peanut 烤花生, or more if you want.
- Soak black-eyed pea in water - This need to be soaked the night before.
- Rinse vegetables, separately. And cut them into small piece if needed. Set aside.
- Rinse preserved sweet radish and dried shrimps, separately. Drained. Set aside.
- Fry anchovies. Drain it on a kitchen towel, so that it could absorb excess oil. Set aside.
- Cube the tofu for later pan fry use.
First of all, cook a pot of white rice - good for about 5 to 6 person. But I'm sure you could feed about 7, or even more.
Now let's make the tea soup first. Usually people won't have the ultimate traditional equipment to make the tea soup anymore. So, please just use your food processor or blender if you don't have it.
The tea soup :
- Blend in the tea soup ingredient, adding in item by item in the order as follows : Luk Bou' Chinese Tea Leaves, Toasted Sesame, Toasted Peanut. Blend it coarsely first. And then, add in Old Ginger and Fried Anchovies. Give it another blend. And finally, add in Thai Basil, Mint Leaves, Manicai and 'Fu Lit Sum' (If you could find them). Blend them into a paste. Set aside for later use.
- Boil a kettle of water. Once it is boiled, pour it on the tea paste. Give it a good stir. And this is the hot tea soup! Do this only when all the rice, condiment and veggies are ready to eat. Otherwise, the soup will turned cold.
Someone did shared with me that there's a difference in color of the tea soup if you are making it in different ways. If the tea soup paste is prepared by grinding the ingredients traditionally in the Thunder Tea Rice pot, it will yield a darker brownish green color. If the tea soup paste is prepared in a modern way by using food processor or blender, it will yield brighter green color.
The condiment :
- For the toasted peanuts - I did it the night before because I know I won't have enough time for that. So, pan-fry raw peanuts under low heat, until the peanut skin turn slightly charred, check and try it. If peanut turned crunchy and fragrant, then you are there. Remove from pan, set aside to cool down abit. Rub and remove the peanut skin. Once the peanut is completely cooled, keep it in air-tight container for next day use.
- For the black-eyed pea - Soak the peas overnight. The next day, wash and drain the peas. In a saucepot, add in half tbsp oil, and dried shrimps, fry till fragrant, and add in the beans and a pinch of salt, fry for awhile. Add in 400ml (or more) water, bring to a boil. Reduce to low fire, let it slowly simmer until the beans are soft to eat and dry.
For the pressed tofu - Pan-fry diced tofu under medium low heat until golden brown. Set aside.
For the dried shrimps - Fry dried shrimps until fragrant and crispy (but not burnt), drained the excess oil using kitchen towel.
- For preserved sweet white radish - Heat up half tbsp oil, pan-fry Preserved Sweet White Radish until fragrant and dry. And maybe slightly charred. Dish up and set aside.
The 7 vegetables :
- For the French bean – In a pan, add half tbsp oil and dried shrimps, fry till fragrant. Add in diced French beans and a pinch of salt, fry until cooked.
- For Choy Sum, Romaine Lettuce, Manicai, Kai Lan – Cook them individually. In a pan, add half tbsp of oil, add in the vegetables, add a pinch of salt, fry until the veggies just wilted.
- For Mint leaves and Thai Basil – Combine both together. In a pan, add half tbsp of oil, add in the vegetables, add a pinch of salt, fry until the veggies just wilted.
The ingredient for tea soup. Manicai and 'Fu Lit Sum' supposed to be in the in the picture.
This is the particular 六宝茶 'Luk Bou' Chinese Tea Leaves meant for Thunder Tea Rice. Do not attempt to use other tea leaves like Tie Guan Yin 铁观音 or Pu Er 谱耳 or OoLong 乌龙 and other high quality tea leaves. Because these expensive tea leaves gives you bitter taste, whereby this cheap Chinese Tea Leaves 'Luk Bou' taste milder and did not gives bitter taste.
The 7 vegetables...
Keep grinding. This is alot of hard work here.. seriously!
This is the tea soup paste is ready to use. I know, modern people use food processor or blender instead. Save all such hard work doing such grinding work manually. It's tiring. But the "feel" of the entire cooking process is just different lah. It's simply nostalgic!
The Tea Soup and the Condiments. Done!
2. Pan fried pressed tofu.
3. Toasted peanut
4. Braised black-eyed pea with dried shrimps
5. Fried dried shrimps
6. Pan fried preserved sweet white radish
The 7 Vegetables. Done too!
2. Romaine Lettuce, aka You Mai
3. Choy Sum / Chye Sim
4. Kai Lan
5. French Bean with Dried Shrimps
6. Combination of Mint Leaves and Thai Basil
The 'master chef' is preparing the tea soup. She warned me not to post her photo online. LOL!
This is the final assembly. Scoop some white rice, and then topped with all the veggies and condiments.
Pour a bowl of tea soup, mix, and tuck in!
I can eat two bowls of this.. easily.
You call this messy! No. I call this characteristic! Wuahahahaha!
Ok, I know the appearance of this mixed rice dish might looks not appealing to some people. But I have to assure you that it wasn't that bad. Peanuts, radishes, dried shrimps and other condiments goes very well with the rice. The overall fragrance of the tea soup is simply indescribable!
You must try this AT LEAST once in your life!