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Chinese Char Kuey Teow Recipe: How to Make the Perfect Stir-Fried Noodles

If you're a fan of Malaysian street food, then you've probably heard of Char Kuey Teow. This delicious noodle dish is a favourite among locals and tourists alike, and it's not hard to see why. With its bold flavours and contrasting textures, Char Kuey Teow is a dish that's hard to forget.

A wok sizzles as a chef stir-fries flat rice noodles with soy sauce, garlic, shrimp, and bean sprouts for a Chinese char kuey teow recipe

Char Kuey Teow is believed to have originated in Penang, Malaysia, and it's now a popular dish throughout Southeast Asia. Traditionally, the dish is made with flat rice noodles stir-fried over intense heat in a well-seasoned wok with ingredients like cockles, Chinese sausage, bean sprouts, and fish cake. However, there are many variations of the dish, and it's not uncommon to see other ingredients like shrimp, squid, or even chicken added to the mix.

If you're looking to recreate this delicious dish at home, you're in luck. With a few simple ingredients and some basic cooking techniques, you can make your own Char Kuey Teow that's just as tasty as the real thing. In this article, we'll take a closer look at the history and origin of Char Kuey Teow, the ingredients and substitutes you can use, and the step-by-step recipe for making this delicious dish. We'll also provide some nutritional information and answer some frequently asked questions.

Key Takeaways

  • Char Kuey Teow is a popular Malaysian street food dish made with flat rice noodles stir-fried with ingredients like cockles, Chinese sausage, and bean sprouts.
  • The dish originated in Penang, Malaysia, and has since become popular throughout Southeast Asia.
  • You can make your own Char Kuey Teow at home using a few simple ingredients and basic cooking techniques. Seafood like shrimp or squid can be added to the dish to enhance its flavour.

History and Origin

A bustling street market with vendors stir-frying rice noodles, bean sprouts, and seafood over a large wok, surrounded by colorful ingredients and aromatic spices

Char Kuey Teow is a popular Southeast Asian dish that has become a staple in Malaysian street food and Singaporean hawker food. The dish's history can be traced back to the Guangdong province in China, where it was originally known as "chao guo tiao."

Influence of Southeast Asia

The dish's recipe was influenced by the Teochew people, who are a distinct subgroup of the Han Chinese. The Teochew people migrated to Southeast Asia in the 19th century, bringing with them their culinary traditions. Over time, the dish evolved to include local ingredients and cooking techniques, resulting in the delicious and unique dish we know today.

Popularity in Malaysia and Singapore

Char Kuey Teow is particularly popular in Malaysia and Singapore, where it is a ubiquitous street food. The dish is made by stir-frying flat rice noodles with a variety of ingredients, including bean sprouts, Chinese sausage, fish cake, and eggs. Seafood such as prawns, cockles, and squid can also be added for an extra burst of flavour.

If you're looking to make Char Kuey Teow at home, consider using fresh seafood such as prawns or squid to add a touch of authenticity to your dish. The combination of fresh seafood and savoury noodles is sure to please your taste buds.

Ingredients and Substitutes

A table with ingredients: rice noodles, soy sauce, garlic, eggs, prawns, Chinese sausage, bean sprouts, chives, and chili paste

Main Ingredients

The main ingredients for Chinese Char Kuey Teow recipe are rice noodles, soy sauce, Chinese sausage, bean sprouts, egg, chives, garlic, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, shrimp, lard, cockles, fish cake, prawns and light soy sauce.

Seasonings and Sauces

The seasonings and sauces used in Char Kuey Teow recipe include soy sauce, oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, and light soy sauce. These sauces add a rich and savory flavor to the dish.

Vegetables and Add-Ons

Bean sprouts and Chinese chives are the most common vegetables used in Char Kuey Teow. However, you can also add other vegetables such as carrots, bell peppers, and cabbage to make the dish more nutritious. If you are looking for a vegetarian option, you can replace the meat with tofu or mushrooms.

Seafood is also a great option to add to Char Kuey Teow recipe. You can use prawns, squid, or crab meat to give the dish a delicious seafood flavor. However, if you are allergic to seafood or prefer not to use it, you can skip it and still enjoy the dish.

When cooking Char Kuey Teow, it is important to use fresh ingredients to get the best flavor. Also, if you cannot find Chinese sausage, you can replace it with bacon or ham. Finally, if you do not have access to cockles, you can use mussels or clams instead.

Overall, Chinese Char Kuey Teow is a delicious and flavorful dish that can be easily customized to suit your taste. By using the right ingredients and seasonings, you can create a perfect dish that will leave you craving for more.

Cooking Techniques

A wok sizzles over high heat, as a chef stir-fries rice noodles, shrimp, and bean sprouts, adding soy sauce and chili paste for a flavorful finish

Mastering Wok Hei

Wok hei is the essence of a good char kuey teow. It's the smoky, charred flavour that you get from cooking at high heat. To achieve wok hei, you need to use a wok that can handle high heat. Cast iron and carbon steel woks are great options. They heat up quickly and retain heat well, allowing you to cook your ingredients quickly and evenly.

To achieve wok hei, you need to preheat your wok until it's smoking hot. Add your oil and let it heat up until it's shimmering. Then, add your aromatics, such as garlic and shallots, and stir-fry them until they're fragrant. Next, add your proteins, such as shrimp or squid, and stir-fry them until they're cooked through. Finally, add your noodles and other ingredients, such as bean sprouts and chives, and stir-fry everything together until it's heated through and well-coated in sauce.

Stir-Frying Essentials

Stir-frying is the key to making a great char kuey teow. It's a quick and easy cooking technique that allows you to cook your ingredients at high heat, which helps to develop wok flavour. To stir-fry effectively, you need to have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start cooking. This means chopping your vegetables, slicing your meats, and soaking your noodles ahead of time.

When stir-frying, it's important to keep your ingredients moving in the wok. This helps to prevent them from sticking and burning. Use a spatula or a pair of tongs to toss your ingredients together and ensure that everything is evenly coated in sauce.

If you're using seafood in your char kuey teow, consider using fresh shrimp or squid. These ingredients cook quickly and pair well with the other flavours in the dish. Be sure to clean and devein your shrimp before cooking, and slice your squid into thin rings. Add your seafood towards the end of the cooking process to prevent overcooking.

Step-by-Step Recipe

Wok sizzling with garlic, shrimp, and flat rice noodles. A splash of soy sauce and chili paste added, then tossed with bean sprouts and chives

Preparing the Ingredients

Before you start cooking your delicious Char Kuey Teow, you need to prepare all the ingredients. Here's a list of what you will need:

  • 300g of fresh kuey teow noodles
  • 200g of prawns (you can also use squid or clams)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Chinese sausages, sliced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli paste (optional)
  • 1 handful of bean sprouts
  • 1 handful of chives, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons of cooking oil

Once you have all the ingredients ready, you can start cooking.

The Cooking Process

  1. Heat up the wok on high heat and add the cooking oil. Once the oil is hot, add the minced garlic and stir-fry until fragrant.

  2. Add the sliced Chinese sausages and stir-fry for a minute until they release their aroma.

  3. Add the prawns (or other seafood of your choice) and stir-fry until they turn pink and are cooked through.

  4. Push the ingredients to the side of the wok and add the eggs. Scramble the eggs until they are cooked and then mix them with the other ingredients.

  5. Add the kuey teow noodles and stir-fry for a minute until they are evenly coated with the ingredients.

  6. Add the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar and chilli paste (if using) and stir-fry for another minute until the noodles are evenly coated with the sauces.

  7. Add the bean sprouts and chives and stir-fry for another minute until they are cooked.

  8. Serve hot and enjoy your delicious Char Kuey Teow!

Remember, you can always add or substitute ingredients to suit your taste. If you love seafood, you can add some squid or clams to your Char Kuey Teow. Just make sure to clean and prepare them before adding them to the wok.

Nutritional Information

A table displaying nutritional values for Chinese char kuey teow ingredients

If you are someone who wants to keep track of their calorie intake, then you may be interested in the nutritional information of the Char Kuey Teow dish.

The dish is generally high in calories, with an average serving containing around 700-800 calories. However, this can vary depending on the ingredients used and the portion size.

In terms of nutrition, Char Kuey Teow contains a good amount of carbohydrates, protein and fat. However, it is not a significant source of vitamins or minerals.

If you are looking to make the dish healthier, you can consider using seafood instead of meat. Seafood such as prawns or fish can be used as a substitute for Chinese sausage or other meats. This can help reduce the fat content of the dish while still providing a good source of protein.

Overall, Char Kuey Teow can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet, but it is important to be mindful of portion sizes and the ingredients used.

Frequently Asked Questions

A sizzling wok with smoking hot oil, filled with stir-frying ingredients like flat rice noodles, Chinese sausage, shrimp, bean sprouts, and chives

What are the key ingredients for making Char Kway Teow at home?

The essential ingredients for making Char Kway Teow at home are flat rice noodles, eggs, bean sprouts, Chinese sausage, fish cake, and dark soy sauce. Some recipes also include prawns, cockles, and lap cheong (Chinese sausage).

How do you achieve the authentic smoky flavour in Char Kway Teow?

The authentic smoky flavour in Char Kway Teow is achieved by stir-frying the noodles over high heat in a well-seasoned wok. The wok should be heated until it is smoking hot before adding the ingredients.

Can you suggest a simple Char Kway Teow recipe for beginners?

For a simple Char Kway Teow recipe, you can try stir-frying the noodles with eggs, bean sprouts, and Chinese sausage. You can also add prawns or cockles for an extra flavour boost.

Is there a vegetarian version of Char Kway Teow, and how is it made?

Yes, there is a vegetarian version of Char Kway Teow. Instead of meat and seafood, you can use tofu, mushrooms, and vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and snow peas. You can also add vegetarian oyster sauce for a savoury flavour.

What makes Penang Char Kway Teow distinct from the regular version?

Penang Char Kway Teow is distinct from the regular version because it is typically spicier and has a stronger flavour. It also includes additional ingredients like Chinese chives, pork lard, and sometimes even mantis prawns.

How do Char Kway Teow and Pad Thai differ in terms of ingredients and taste?

Char Kway Teow and Pad Thai differ in terms of ingredients and taste. While both dishes use rice noodles as the base, Pad Thai typically includes tamarind paste, peanuts, and lime juice for a sweet and sour flavour. Char Kway Teow, on the other hand, has a smoky and savoury flavour from the stir-frying process and the use of dark soy sauce.

If you are a seafood lover, you can add prawns, cockles or squid to your Char Kway Teow recipe. These seafood options will give your dish a rich and delicious flavour.