Saturday, August 21, 2010

Lui Char (擂茶)


The traditional dish of the Hor Poh Hakkas, Lui Char Farn literally means "Ground Tea Rice";  the name derives from the way the soup was made. Traditionally, tea leaves and roasted peanuts were grounded together (in a special clay pot with a rough surface)  to form a paste -  with a wooden pestle made from guava tree branch. Then boiling water is poured into the peanut paste to steep before serving.   

Lui Char is in fact quite a healthy dish and consists of an assortment of  green vegetables, french beans, snake beans,  herbs like basil, dill and mint, bean curd, dried shrimps, preserved turnips (choy poh), etc served with fragrant garlic rice. 

I have no proper means of measurement for this recipe, as I always 'agak-agak' (guess) the proportion of the ingredients. 

My peanuts were not roasted until golden brown hence the light-coloured peanut/tea soup.  Besides I omitted the basil leaves as I couldn't find any at the market on that particular day.  

Peanut/Tea Soup: (serves 4)

500g roasted peanuts
1 cup of chinese tea 
a handful of basil (optional)
1500ml water (approx.)

  • Blend peanuts and chinese tea in a food processor into a fine paste.  Add more water if necessary. 
  • Boil water in a pot.  Add in the peanut/tea paste and stir well.  Set aside.

Side dishes:    

(Cut washed vegetables and beans finely)
french beans    
snake beans     
choy sum        
gai lan
firm tofu - diced finely
dried shrimps - chopped finely
chopped preserved turnip (choy poh)

a head of garlic - minced
1 cup oil

rice - washed and drained

  • Heat oil in a pan.  Fry garlic until lightly browned.  Transfer into a bowl.  Set aside.
  •  Put 2 tbsp of garlic oil in a frying pan and add in rice.  Stir fry for a minute.  Add salt.  Transfer into rice cooker.  When rice is cooked, stir in 2 tbsp of garlic oil and mixed well.
  • Lightly brown tofu.  Dish out and set aside.
  • Stir fry dried shrimps until aromatic.  Add in the cooked tofu and chopped dill.  Stir to combine.  Dish out.
  • Fry preserved turnip.  Dish out.
  • Using garlic oil, stir fry all the vegetables separately.  Season with a little salt.  [Caution:  It is better to under season than to over season because you can always add more salt later] 
  •  Bring the peanut/tea soup to the boil. 
  • To serve:  Spoon the rice into individual serving bowls.  Top with accompanying side dishes.  Ladle hot peanut/tea soup over this.

Lui Char Pot & Wooden Pestle which have been in my family for as long as I can remember.

1 comment:

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