Friday, 30 October 2009

Traditional Hakka Dish


Both CL and me have Hakka background. My mum is a Hakka and his dad is a Hakka. Lei Cha the traditional Hakka dish is no stranger to us. Both our families cooked it since we were young. Especially during the 7th day of Chinese New Year, my granny will cook 7 different side dishes and invite all the neighbours, relatives and families over to eat it.

During my folks recent visit, Mum cooked Lei Cha for us as we miss it a lot.

Tea leaves, peanut, basil and sesame seeds are ground together into a paste using a pestle and mortar looking equipment instead of using a food processor. The paste is mix with hot water to serve as soup.
The mortar is actually a huge bowl with really rough surfaces on the inside and the pestle is a wooden stick made from a particular tree trunk. During grinding, tiny bits of tree trunk are mix in and that result a different soup taste from grinding the ingredient using a food processor.

I don't have the correct equipment therefore I decided to give the soup a miss. I don't think I will ever able to bring it into Melbourne as wood is not allow into Australia.

Back in Singapore, I love eating Lei Cha with puffed rice which we buy from Malaysia. The puff rice look just like rice bubbles. Grandpa's neighbour own a factory that makes it in Malacca. As we can't find puffed rice, Mum cooked garlic rice to go with the vegetable. Lots of garlic are mince, fried and mixed with raw rice before cooking.

As for side dishes, Mum cook

Choy Sum
Cabbage
Leek
String Beans
Bean Curd
Peanut
Dried Shrimp, Sweet Dried Radish and Basil

The way I eat it is scoop some garlic rice into my bowl, place a big spoonful of different vegetable plus bean curd and some dried shrimp, dried radish, basil and a handful of peanuts. MIX EVERYTHING together and it's ready to be dig in.



I cook it again last night and I spend 2 hours just washing and chopping up the vegetable. I know I'm slow. It's a very simple dish but too long preparation time required.

2 comments:

Lisalicious said...

Ooo I tasted lei cha before and it really takes awhile to like it though :) but very healthy!


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cltyw said...

you are not the 1st who say that.....do agree it does take more than a few mouthful to get use to the unique taste.