Char Kway Teow is the classic Malaysian street food dish with that big taste of smoky rice noodles.
I am a great fan of stir-fries, they are quick, easy and when cooked properly very healthy. When I was looking for an authentic recipe there were many to choose from and I settled on two to try.
I couldn’t make up my mind about which recipe to share so I have included both.
This recipe was featured in the UK on BBC Saturday Kitchen Live.
Saturday Kitchen Live is a cooking programme shown on the BBC every Saturday morning. The programme has been broadcast regularly since 2001 with different guest chefs each week.
I thoroughly enjoy Saturday kitchen and have tried many of their recipes over the years some of which I have included in my cookbook for you to try.
BBC Char Kway Teow
For the simple sambal
- 50 g/1¾oz dry chillies sliced lengthways and deseeded
- ½ onion chopped
- 4 garlic cloves chopped
- 1 thumb-sized piece ginger peeled
- 1 tbsp shrimp paste
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 tsp salt
For the noodles
- 450 g/1lb fresh wide rice noodles or 225g/8oz dried
- 2 Chinese cured sausage sliced diagonally
- 6 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp crushed garlic about 10 cloves
- 12 prawns peeled, head removed and deveined
- 4 ready-made Thai fish cakes sliced
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
- 10 fresh garlic chives cut into 5cm/2in pieces
- 2 large free-range eggs lightly beaten
- 200 g/7oz beansprouts
- banana leaf to serve (optional)
For the char kuay teow sauce
- 2½ tbsp light soy sauce
- 2½ tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp kecap manis
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- To make the simple sambal, begin by soaking the chilis in hot water for 30 minutes. Then drain and add to a food processor along with the onion, garlic, ginger and shrimp paste, and 250ml/9fl oz water. Blend into a smooth paste.
- Heat a splash of vegetable oil in a wok or pan over a medium heat. Add the paste to the pan and cook for 15–20 minutes until it thickens. Be cautious of splattering and consider using an oil splash guard. Stir the mixture occasionally.
- Add the lemon juice, coconut sugar and salt to the sambal and mix well. Continue cooking for a further 1–2 minutes then take off the heat and set aside.
- If you’re using dried noodles, begin by soaking the noodles in hot water for about 45 minutes until they are completely soft. Drain once they are ready.
- In the meantime, to make the char kuay teow sauce, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
- To make the noodles, place a wok over a medium-low heat and gently cook the Chinese sausage until the fats are released – this should take around 2 minutes. Remove the Chinese sausage from the wok and set aside, leaving behind the fat.
- Add 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil to the wok along with the garlic, prawns and fish cakes and fry until fragrant.
- Turn the heat up to high, then add the Shaoxing rice wine.
- Continue to move the ingredients around the wok and then add in the noodles. Fold them into the other ingredients and toss through 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil. Move everything into the middle of the wok and pour over the char kuay teow sauce, then add an extra 1 tbsp of oil.
- Now add the garlic chives. Mix in thoroughly but don’t break up the noodles.
- While the noodles are frying, push everything to the sides of the wok to make some space in the middle. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil with the slightly beaten egg. Stir for around for 10–15 seconds to break it up.
- Now gently mix the egg through everything and fold the beansprouts into the mixture. The key with char kuay teow is to ensure it isn’t dry – if it is, then add a bit of water.
- Top the noodles with 3 tablespoons of the simple sambal chilli paste and serve piping hot on a banana leaf, if using.
Other Recipes You Maybe Interested in …..
The second recipe for Char Kway Teow to try is from an Australian chef Nagi whose food choices seem very similar to my own.
Char Kway Teow
- 500 g fresh wide rice noodle
- 2 tbsp lard or vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil separated
- 10 small prawns/shrimp shelled and deveined
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 Chinese sausage / Lup Chong Sausage sliced thinly on the diagonal
- 5 cm piece of fried fish cake sliced thinly
- 20 stems garlic chives cut into 4 pieces
- 500 g bean sprouts
- 2 eggs whisked
- 5 tsp dark soy sauce
- 4 tsp light soy
- 2 tsp oyster sauce
- 4 tsp kecap manis / sweet soy sauce
- Mix Sauce together.
- Do not attempt to pull noodles apart while cold and hard – they break.
- Place whole packet in microwave, heat on high for 1 1/2 minutes – 2 minutes until warm and pliable, not hot, turning packet over as needed.
- Handle carefully and measure out 500g/1 lb noodles into a heatproof bowl. Separate noodles stuck together.
- If noodles become cold and brittle before cooking, cover with cling wrap and microwave for 30 seconds to make warm (not hot, just warm) to reduce breakage.
- Cook using Base Recipe (capable cooks) or Easier Method.
COOKING – BASE RECIPE:
- Heat lard and 1 tbsp oil in a wok or very large heavy based skillet over high heat. Swirl around the wok.
- When it starts smoking, add prawns. Cook for 30 seconds.
- Add garlic, stir for 10 seconds.
- Add noodles, then using both hands on the handle, toss 4 times until coated with oil (or gently fold using a spatula + wooden spoon, see video).
- Add Chinese sausage and fish cake, toss or gently fold 4 times.
- Add bean sprouts and garlic chives, toss or gently fold 6 times.
- Push everything to one side, add remaining 1 tbsp oil. Add egg and cook, moving it around until mostly set – about 1 minute. Use wooden spoon to chop it up roughly.
- Pour Sauce over noodles, then toss to disperse Sauce through the noodles. Pause between tosses to give the noodles a chance to caramelise on the edges.
- Serve immediately!
COOKING – EASIER METHOD:
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large non stick skillet over high heat.
- When heated, add shrimp and cook for 1 1/2 minutes until just cooked through, then remove into bowl
- Add Chinese sausage and fish cake, and cook for 1 minute until sausage is caramelised, then add to bowl.
- Add 1 tbsp oil then add egg and cook, pushing in the edges to make a thick omelette. Once set, chop it up roughly using a wooden spoon (see video), then add to bowl.
- Add bean sprouts and cook for about 1 minute until just starting to wilt, then add to bowl.
- Add lard. Once melted and starting to smoke, add garlic then immediately add noodles. Fold gently 4 times using a spatula + wooden spoon (see video) just to disperse oil through noodles.
- Tip all the other ingredients back in plus the chives. Fold gently twice, then pour all the Sauce over.
- Gently toss 4 to 6 times to disperse the sauce, pausing in between to allow the noodles to have a chance to caramelise on the edges a bit.
- Remove from stove and serve immediately.