Hakka Style Ham Cha/ Lei Cha Recipe

In my opinion, Hakka version of “ham cha  (咸茶)” or “lei cha (雷茶)” is basically the Chinese version of bibimbap. One of the difference between the Chinese and Korean version is that it is eaten with a green herbs soup or green tea instead of the spicy gojuchang sauce. The Chinese version may not look as colourful as the Korean version, but it is still a very nutritious and delicious meal to have. It is also a good option to anyone that wants to have a meatless meal. 

“Lei Cha” literally translates into “thunder tea rice” in English, which refers to the loud noise made when pounding the ingredients. This dish was created by the Hakkas a.k.a the “guest family” after they were driven out from their home from Northern China by succession of wars, plague, droughts and famine. Being a nomadic, the food available becomes scare. Therefore, they created this dish using any available herbs and grains that they can get throughout their nomadic life to keep themselves healthy and energetic. 

As time passed, the Hakkas travelled and spread along this dish over to Malaysia, Taiwan and other places with large Hakka descendants. Local seasonal herbs and grains are adapted in making “lei cha” which differentiates themselves from other countries. 

Therefore, there isn’t any rules as to what types of vegetables that you must used, and this is my version of “lei cha”. Different types of fresh and preserved vegetables are used to create a different textures in this dish. The key to making good condiments to this rice is to cut up the vegetables to as fine as possible. Meanwhile, the cooking process is as easy as ABC.

To eat this dish, you will need to mix everything up like how you would be eating Korean bibimbap. You can eat it either with soup or without. 

Of course the most authentic way of eating it is with green soup (which will not be in my recipe). And if green soup is not your thing, you can eat it with oolong tea as the soup base just like how I did. Lastly, if you like to eat it dry, just omit the green soup or oolong tea.

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INGREDIENTS 
(Serves 4 – 6)

8 – 10 pcs snake beans/ long beans (长豆)
1 – 2 bunches choy sum (菜心)
1/2 bunch kai choy (芥菜)
1 – 2 bunches spinach
1 Chinese leek
1 – 2 pcs firm tofu (豆干, tau kwa)
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
1 cup rice bubbles
1 cup preserved sweet turnip (菜晡, chye poh)
6 – 8 cloves garlic

Cooking oil
Oolong tea

Cooked rice

1. Finely chop the garlic. Set aside.

2. Finely slice all the vegetables separately. 

3. Finely dice the firm tofu into 1cm cubes.

4. Wash the preserved turnip and thinly slice it.

5. Heat up the pan, stir fry the rice bubbles until golden brown over low heat. Remove and set aside.

*In the traditional recipe, it is usually served with crispy rice made from unmilled grains.

*I substitute it with the plain rice bubbles cereal that are usually available in the supermarket.


6. Heat up the pan with 1 tbsp of cooking oil, add in 1 tsp chopped garlic and stir fry until fragrant.

7. Add in the diced firm tofu and sliced leeks. Stir fry until the leeks have soften, season it with salt to taste. Remove and set aside.

8. Repeat steps 7 & 8 for all the vegetables except preserved sweet turnip.

9. Heat up the pan with 1 tbsp of cooking oil, add in the diced preserved sweet turnip and stir fry until it is fragrant. Remove and set aside.

10. To serve this dish, layer the bottom of the plate/ bowl with some cooked rice. Then top the rice with the assorted stir fry vegetables, toasted rice bubble and roasted peanut. Pour in the oolong tea and serve it immediately.

Hakka Style Ham Cha/ Lei Cha Recipe

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Credit: CoasterKitchen

All photos and recipes on CoasterKitchen are copyright protected. Please do not use the photos and recipes without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own words (instead of copy and paste) and link back to my blog. Thank you very much!

Ingredients

  • 8 – 10 pcs snake beans/ long beans (长豆)
  • 1 – 2 bunches choy sum (菜心)
  • 1/2 bunch kai choy (芥菜)
  • 1 – 2 bunches spinach
  • 1 Chinese leek
  • 1 – 2 pcs firm tofu (豆干, tau kwa)
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup rice bubbles
  • 1 cup preserved sweet turnip (菜晡, chye poh)
  • 6 – 8 cloves garlic
  • Cooking oil
  • Oolong tea
  • Cooked rice

Directions

  1. Finely chop the garlic. Set aside.
  2. Finely slice all the vegetables separately. 
  3. Finely dice the firm tofu into 1cm cubes.
  4. Wash the preserved turnip and thinly slice it.
  5. Heat up the pan, stir fry the rice bubbles until golden brown over low heat. Remove and set aside.
  6. Heat up the pan with 1 tbsp of cooking oil, add in 1 tsp chopped garlic and stir fry until fragrant.
  7. Add in the diced firm tofu and sliced leeks. Stir fry until the leeks have soften, season it with salt to taste. Remove and set aside.
  8. Repeat steps 7 & 8 for all the vegetables except preserved sweet turnip.
  9. Heat up the pan with 1 tbsp of cooking oil, add in the diced preserved sweet turnip and stir fry until it is fragrant. Remove and set aside.
  10. To serve this dish, layer the bottom of the plate/ bowl with some cooked rice. Then top the rice with the assorted stir fry vegetables, toasted rice bubble and roasted peanut. Pour in the oolong tea and serve it immediately.

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