While Char Kuey Teow can be found throughout Malaysia, the Penang version reigns supreme.
A great serving is flavoured not only with the freshest ingredients, but equally important is the elusive charred aroma from stir-frying the noodles over very high heat in a well-seasoned Chinese wok.
The mouthwatering aroma is the “wok hei” or breath of wok. A great Char Kuey Teow beckons from blocks away; the tempting aroma fills the air and lures diners in from afar.
Char Kuey Teow is one of the most requested recipes on Rasa Malaysia, so here it is at last, ready for you to make at home on a lazy Sunday.
- 30 g seeded dried red chilies, soak in water
- 2 fresh red chilies, seeded
- 3 small shallots or pearl onions, peeled and sliced
- 1 teaspoon oil
- Pinch of salt
Mix and blend the following ingredients well:
- 5 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 dashes pepper powder
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
- 12 shelled prawns, submerge in ice cold water with 2 tablespoons of sugar for 30 minutes
- 450 g fresh flat rice noodles, completely loosened and no clumps
- 450 g bloody cockles, extract the cockles by opening the shell
- 2 Chinese sausages (lap cheong), sliced diagonally
- 1 bunch fresh bean sprouts, rinsed with cold water and drained
- 4 large eggs
- 1 bunch Chinese chives, remove about 2.5 cm off the bottom and cut into 5 cm lengths
- Grind all the chilli paste ingredients in a mini food processor until fine. Heat up a wok with 1 teaspoon oil and stir-fry the chilli paste until aromatic. Dish out and set aside.
- Clean the wok thoroughly and heat over high flame until it starts to smoke. Put 2 tablespoons oil/lard into the wok, add half the chopped garlic and do a quick stir.
- Transfer six prawns from the water and half the sausage slices to the wok. Do a few quick stirs with a spatula until the prawns start to change colour and the aroma of the Chinese sausage comes out.
- Add half the bean sprouts to the wok and immediately follow with half the rice noodles.
- Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of the sauce to the wok and stir vigorously to blend well. Using the spatula, push the noodles to one side, and pour a little oil on the empty area and crack an egg on it. Break the egg yolk and stir to blend with the egg white. Flip the noodles, cover the egg, and wait for about 15 seconds.
- Add about 1/2 tablespoon of chilli paste (more for those who like it spicy) and some cockles into the wok.
- Continue to stir-fry and make sure the egg is cooked through. Add chives, do a couple of quick stirs, dish out and serve immediately.
- Repeat the same for a second serving of noodles.
- Take note of the proper sequence of the cooking process. This is how it is done by the hawkers in Penang.
- A great plate of authentic Penang Char Kuey Teow should be medium brown in colour. It should not be too dark with too much dark soy sauce.
This recipe first appeared in Rasa Malaysia
Low Bee Yinn is a food blogger and cookbook author.