Char Kuay Teow
Recreating a famous Malaysian dishChris Tham Monday, 9 January 2023 at 2:00:00 pm AEDT 3 min read
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I bought my portable gas cooker and wok set last year, intending to cook the famous Malaysian dish Char Kuay Teow on it, but for various reasons never really got around to it. Well, finally decided to cook a batch in 2023. This dish takes a long time to prepare but only seconds to cook, so everything has to be ready before the gas is lighted up.
- The little things matter. Separate the rice noodles into individual strands, and remove tails from bean sprouts.
- Use the best ingredients. I used king prawns and premium lap cheong.
- I also sprinkled the prawns with a bit of cornflour and salt to make them slightly crispy. I like them this way.
- Ideally should use rendered pork lard to cook plus the “pork croutons” (chee yaw char) which are basically deep fried pork fat. I substituted with pork crackling bought from a Thai shop which I find acceptable (actually, I prefer them). If you want a halal version, you can eliminate this and the lap cheong.
- Do not overpower the wok, even if you have a commercial gas burner. Cook in small batches, and use way less noodles than you think you need. That way, you are guaranteed to get wok hei.
- Turn it up to 11. Use max heat for the entire cooking process. Do not be tempted to reduce the gas.
Recipe for Char Kuay Teow
- Cast iron wok and stirrer
- Gas cooker
I used a pre made sauce called Bang Bang Char Kuay Teow sauce but it is also possible to make your own.
Sauce (balance to taste):
- dark soy sauce
- light soy sauce
- oyster sauce
- kecap manis (or use sugar)
- Flat rice noodles - a handful per serve
- Chinese sausage (lap cheong) - 1 per serve, sliced
- Fish cake - about 4-5 thin slices per serve
- Fresh prawns, deshelled and cleaned - about 2-3 per serve
- garlic - about 1-2 cloves, cut into tiny pieces
- cooking oil - use your judgement, perhaps a few tablespoons
- chilli paste or sambal belachan - 1 tablespoon or according to taste
- pork “croutons” (chee yau char) - essentially deep fried tiny pork fat (I substituted with deep fried crispy pork crackling)
- fresh bean sprouts, with tails removed - about a handful
- garlic chives, cut into 1 inch pieces - about a handful
- Heat wok on gas cooker.
- Add frying oil.
- When oil is hot, add garlic, prawns, lap cheong, fish cake together more or less at the same time.
- When above is sufficiently cooked (slightly brown), typically only a few seconds, add noodles.
- Wait for noodles to get slightly brown, then add chilli paste.
- Create space at centre of wok by moving ingredients around wok. Break an egg and toss contents into centre “hole”. If required, add extra oil.
- Break the yolk and stir egg slightly - no need to batter or mix well. You don’t want scrambled egg.
- Before egg has hardened, fold the noodles and other ingredients on top of egg, and stir a few times to blend the egg with the other ingredients.
- Avoid over stirring or blending - this breaks the noodles too much and the dish is meant to look rustic.
- When the dish looks ready (use your judgement based on what you have eaten that you enjoyed) add sauce, stir a few times until sauce is blended in.
- Turn off heat, add bean sprouts and chives. The remaining heat will gradually cook these ingredients.
- Before the bean sprouts and chives have cooked completely, remove from wok and plate up.