Char Kway Teow

Char Kway Teow


  • 1 lb fresh flat rice noodles [Kway Teow noodles, also spelt Koay Teow] or dried flat rice noodles
  • 1/2 lb lard, finely diced [Substitute: 4 tbsp peanut oil]
  • 3 tbsp garlic, peeled, finely chopped
  • 1/2 lb medium-sized shrimp, shelled, de-veined, tails left intact if you wish
  • 1/2 lb squid, cleaned, cut into inch squares or thick rings
  • 1/2 cup fresh cockles*, shelled [Substitute: extra shrimp or squid]
  • 1 Lap Cheong [Chinese sweet sausage], cut diagonally into thin slices [optional]
  • 2 to 3 eggs
  • 4 cups fresh bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup fresh chives, cut into 1 inch lengths [Substitute: scallions]
  • 2 tbsp thick, dark soy sauce [choose a brand that has a high caramel content]
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce [regular soy sauce]
  • salt and white pepper
  • 2 tbsp water

        Ingredients for pan-roasted Chili Paste :

  • 3 tbsp lard [Substitute: peanut or vegetable oil]
  • 2 tbsp garlic, peeled, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp belacan, also spelt belachan or blacan [dried shrimp paste]
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups chili paste
  • salt and white pepper

       To Prepare pan-roasted Chili Paste :

  • Heat wok, add lard or oil, belacan, and stir-fry till belacan is quite roasted
  • Add garlic, stir-fry till light golden brown
  • Add chili paste and bring to a rapid boil
  • Add sugar, salt and white pepper to taste
  • Reduce heat to a gentle simmer, keep stirring 15-25 mins till the chili sauce reduces, oil starts to separate, and color of the chili paste changes to a dark, reddish brown - Be careful not to burn!
  • Immediately pour the pan-roasted chili paste into a small bowl and set aside. Use to your taste of hotness. Store any extra in an airtight container in the fridge

Variation : If fresh cockles are unavailable, substitute with sliced fish cakes or fish balls - or simply add more fresh shrimp and fresh squid.




     To Prepare Rice Noodles :

  • If using 'fresh' flat rice noodles: Gently separate the noodles. If they are too stuck together, do not force them apart. Soak the noodles in warm water for 1 to 2 mins, and using your fingers, gently separate the noodles. Be careful not to soak them too long - noodles should be 'al dente' or they will break up too much when stir frying. Drain thoroughly
  • If using packaged 'dried' flat rice noodles: To reconstitute, pour hot boiling water, enough to cover the dried noodles. Soak till just al dente. Use a chopstick or tongs to give it a stir to separate the noodles in the hot water. Drain the hot water from the noodles. Immediately place noodles under a cold tap and allow cold running water to 'cool off' the noodles. Drain well. It's vital for the noodles to be just 'al dente' - not soft so that it does not break up too much when stir-frying

       To stir fry Char Kway Teow :

  • In a small bowl, mix the thick, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce with 2 tbsp water This is your flavoring soy sauce mixture
  • Heat wok on high, add lard cubes, stir-fry and allow lard to melt to mostly oil
  • Remove lard oil into a small bowl
  • Heat wok, preferably a cast iron wok to smoking hot, add 4 tbsp of the lard oil [or peanut oil], stir-fry garlic a few seconds, add lap cheong [Chinese sausage] [optional] and stir-fry the lap cheong for about a min
  • Toss in fresh shrimp and squid, stir-fry till just turned opaque - do not overcook
  • Add noodles, sprinkle 3 to 4 tbsp of the soy sauce mixture all over the noodles, and salt and white pepper to taste
  • Gently stir-fry for 3-5 mins
  • Make a circular empty space in the middle of the wok, using your ladle to push the noodles up and all around the outer edges of the wok
  • Add 1-2 tsp lard or peanut oil, break 2 or 3 eggs [your preference], add a pinch of salt to the eggs
  • Roughly scramble the eggs, when it's done, push the eggs aside, add the fresh cockles, stir-fry a few seconds, then fold the noodles over and add 3 tbsp of the pan-roasted chili paste [or more according to your taste]
  • Stir-fry gently, allow noodles to get slightly charred in the hot wok, 5-8 mins
  • Finally add chives and bean sprouts, fold the noodles over, give it one good last stir-fry to mix well with the noodles
  • Turn off heat, dish onto individual serving plates, add a dash of white pepper and serve hot immediately

Cook's Note: The bean sprouts should be nice & crunchy when the Char Kway Teow is served. Therefore, it's very important to add the bean sprouts at the very last minute - as the bean sprouts will continue to cook & wilt after removal from heat.

For an authentic 'Char-red' Kway Teow i.e. for that 'charred taste', you have to maintain a very hot wok, preferably an cast-iron wok. Also, it is best to divide the ingredients and stir-fry the noodles in smaller or individual servings.





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