There are days when I truly miss the traditional Chinese food in Malaysia. I’m not talking about typical Malaysian hawker food like Char Kuey Teow etc. There are a lot of Chinese dialects group in Malaysia such as Hokkien, Hakka, Cantonese and each of the dialect group has their own food specialty. One of such would be the Hakka Lui Cha which is a very healthy one bowl meal of vegetables. It’s not entirely vegetarian as there are usage of chicken stock/anchovies granules in the broth.
I have researched a couple of recipes online and with the ingredients that I think I can buy here locally, I came up with my own version of Lui Cha. I would say it is very close to what I have in Malaysia – particularly the soup, and I was very happy about it. I stored the uncooked soup paste for a couple of days, and I realise that after 1 or two days, when I use the paste and boil it with water to make the soup, it tasted even better.
There is a lot of work in prepping it especially chopping up the vegetables. However it’s very well worth the effort as I enjoyed it very much and feel healthy to have greens only meal.
Ingredients for Soup Base:
- parsley (3/4 cup)
- coriander (3/4 cup)
- basil (1 cup or slightly more if you like it strong)
- mint (1/2 cup)
- White sesame (3/4 cup)
- 2 packet of green tea leaves or powder
- Chicken/Anchovies granules
- Blend all ingredients except for chicken/anchovies granues in a blender. Add enough water so that it turns into paste like form in dark green color.
- Bring a pot of water to boil. Turn down the heat once it’s boiling so that the water is in medium heat instead of boiling.
- Add the paste into the water and slowly stir to dissolve it.
- Add enough chicken/anchovies granules and season with salt up to your liking of taste.
Notes: If the water is too hot, the paste will sink onto the bottom and separated with the water when you serve it. This is what happened to me during my first attempt as you can see from the picture. A few days later when I reuse the frozen paste, I decided to keep the boiling water temperature on a medium heat and I realized that my soup paste did not sink and the soup stays greener rather than turned yellowish.
Ingredients for Vegetable dishes:
- Toasted peanuts (use oven or just dry fry them on a hot pan with continue stirring to prevent burn)
- French beans (cut into little pieces, diagonally)
- Tofu/Bean curd (1-2 curd depending on size, cut into cubes form)
- Sweet fermented radish (1/2 packet. Wash and soak in water for 5 mins before using)
- Garlic (3-4 cloves, diced)
- Kai-Lan (cut into little pieces, almost dice)
- Choy-Sum (cut into little pieces, almost dice)
- Soya sauce
- Oyster sauce
- Cook rice in a rice cooker before you start cooking the vegetables.
- Stir fry the kailan with a pinch of garlic and oyster sauce. Set aside in a plate.
- Stir fry the choysum with a piece of garlic and soya sauce. Set aside in a plate.
- Pan fry the bean curd till brown and slightly crispy. Add a pinch of garlic and then french beans. Set aside in a plate.
- Stir fry the radish with a pinch of garlic. Set aside in a plate.
To serve, scoop a bowl of rice and flip it onto a service plate. Dish each of the vegetables around the rice and lastly add the peanuts. Dish the soup in a separate bowl. You may garnish the rice with white sesame seed as preferred.
Lui Cha Soup Base adapted from: