Flavourful, contrasting textures with a hint of smokiness – that’s how Char Kuey Teow should best be described. One of the most popular street foods in Malaysia, Char Kuey Teow is flat rice noodles fried with a mixture of sauces, seafood and a hint of vegetables in just 5 minutes.
A delicious serving of Char Kuey Teow 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 that creates a “wok hei” or breath of wok in a well-seasoned Chinese wok.
A whiff of it evokes vivid images of a Char Kuey Teow master skillfully working his metal spatula and giant wok as he expertly flips the noodles in the air, mixing the noodles, seafood and vegetables into absolute perfection.
Hungry and itching to fry your own? Before you fire-up your wok, some quick tips on cooking your Char Kuey Teow:
- Have everything prepared in advance. Working on very high heat, you need to move quickly or you’ll end up with burnt Char Kuey Teow instead.
- Be gentle with the noodles as they break easily.
- As most of us don’t own large woks, it’s best to divide the ingredients in half and cook in batches.
- 12 prawns, peeled with tails left. To retain the crunchiness of the prawns, submerge it in ice cold water together with 2 tablespoons sugar for 30 minutes
- 400g fresh flat rice noodles, loosen it
- 400g cockles, removed from shell
- 1 fish cake, sliced
- 1 handful fresh bean sprouts
- 1 bunch Chinese chives, cut into 2-inch lengths
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
- 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 white pepper powder
- Heat the wok until it starts to smoke. Add 2 tablespoons oil and half portion of chopped garlic and stir fry quickly.
- Add 6 prawns and a few slices of fish cake. Stir quickly till the prawns start to change colour.
- Add the bean sprouts, followed by half portion of the flat noodles.
- Add in half the portion of sauce mix and stir vigorously to blend well. Push the noodles aside with a spatula to create a well in the center, crack an egg in and flip the noodles over to cover the egg.
- Add the cockles in and continue to stir fry till the egg is cooked through.
- Add chives, a few more quick stirs and its time to dish out.
- Serve immediately.