Smoky, slippery, fatty and rich, these hawker-style noodles are laced with soft clouds of egg. This recipe for Char Kway Teow is for one serve only, because you won’t get the same charred flavour from an overcrowded pan. Multiply as required for more servings. If you’re short on time, shop-bought sambal oelek is fine to use instead of the chilli paste.
This recipe is from cookbook Chinese-ish by Rosheen Kaul and Joanna Hu.
Ingredients (serves 1)
1/3 cup (80 ml) melted lard (see Notes) or vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
125 g (4½ oz) fresh thick rice noodles
25 g (1 oz) fresh thick egg noodles
½ Chinese sausage (see Notes), thinly sliced on the diagonal
4 slices fish cake (see Notes)
4 raw prawns (shrimp), peeled and deveined
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 handful bean sprouts, trimmed at both ends
30 g (1 oz) garlic chives, cut into thirds
5 dried Sichuan chillies (see Notes), soaked in water until soft, then drained
2 fresh red chillies
3 French or Asian shallots
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Pinch of salt
1½ teaspoons dark soy sauce
½ teaspoon kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
To make the chilli paste, blitz all of the ingredients together in a food processor to form a fine paste and set aside. You will need 1 tablespoon of this chilli paste (or sambal oelek, if using) for each portion of noodles. Store the remaining chilli paste in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
To make the sauce, whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat the lard or oil in a wok or frying pan over high heat until smoking. Add the garlic and fry until fragrant, 10–15 seconds, then add the rice noodles and egg noodles. Stir-fry over high heat for around 30 seconds, then add the Chinese sausage, fish cake and prawns. Continue to stir-fry over high heat until the sausage fat begins to render and the noodles are lightly charred, 2–3 minutes.
Add the sauce and 1 tablespoon of the chilli paste or sambal oelek (use more if you want more heat) and toss to coat.
Push the noodles to the side of the pan and add the beaten egg, bean sprouts and garlic chives. Fry for 30–40 seconds over high heat, until the chives begin to wilt.
Mix everything together, then transfer to a plate and serve immediately.
Lard is a flavoursome fat used in traditional Chinese cooking. You can buy it at most supermarkets and butchers. You could also use the fatty top layer that forms when making stock (see pages 51–53). Chinese sausage and fish cake are found in the fridge section of well-stocked Asian grocers. Dried Sichuan chillies are long, red, intensely-flavoured chillies, and they are available at most Asian grocers. If you can’t find them, use any other dried chillies.