International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Char Kway Teow

Char kway teow stir fried rice noodles

(Malaysian Singaporean stir-fried rice noodles with shrimp)

Image Creative Commons by Leon Brocard

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Average: 4.1 (35 votes)

Char kway teow, which means "fried flat noodles," is a popular and cheap dish found in Malaysia and Singapore. Hearty and filling, it started out as a poor laborer's meal, but over time its popularity spread to all classes. Char kway teow was originally stir-fried in lard, which is how it got its reputation as fatty, unhealthy meal. But using vegetable oil makes the dish much less laden with saturated fat, while keeping its full punch of flavor.

Other spellings: chow kueh teow, char koay teow, char kuay teow.

3 to 4 servings

Ingredients

  • Oil -- 1/4 cup
  • Garlic, minced -- 2 or 3 cloves
  • Sambal oelek (chile paste) -- 1 to 2 tablespoons
  • Chinese sausages, sliced into rounds -- 1 or 2
  • Shrimp, peeled and deveined -- 1/2 pound
  • Fresh rice noodles -- 1 pound
  • Soy sauce -- 1/4 cup
  • Brown sugar -- 1 tablespoon
  • Eggs, beaten -- 2
  • Mung bean sprouts -- 1 cup
  • Scallions, chopped -- 3 to 4

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a wok or heavy-bottomed pot over high flame. Add the garlic and sambal oelek and stir fry for about 30 seconds. Add the Chinese sausage and shrimp and stir fry until the shrimp is almost cooked through.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and stir in the rice noodles, tossing them to heat through. Scrape the bottom of wok or pot frequently to minimize sticking. Then add the soy sauce and brown sugar and stir in to season the noodles.
  3. Scoop the noodles away from the center of the wok or pot and pour the beaten egg into the cleared space. Let the egg cook until just set, and then stir into the noodles.
  4. Add the sprouts and scallions and continue to cook, tossing frequently, until the sprouts are just cooked through. Adjust seasoning and serve.

Char Kway Teow Variations

  • Using dried rice noodles: If you can't locate fresh rice noodles, you can use dried rice noodles. Place 1/2 pound noodles in a large bowl and pour in boiling water to cover. Let set 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, drain and use in recipe as directed.
  • Soy sauce: Authentic recipes use a mixture of dark and light soy sauce to give a darker color to the finished dish. Use 3 tablespoons dark soy and 1 tablespoon light soy sauce.
  • Substitions: Use 3 or 5 minced hot chilies in place of the sambal oelek if you like. Use 1 or 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce instead of the sugar. If you can find Chinese chives, use them in place of the scallions.
  • Other possible additions: Chopped shallots (add these with the garlic); chopped chicken meat, squid, clams, cockles, crab meat or tofu (add these with the shrimp); shredded Chinese cabbage, bok choy, spinach or other greens (add these with the sprouts).

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