Saturday, 13 December 2008

Char Koay Teow

I love having friends over. It means we get to socialise without having to drag our two kids out! THIS has got to be the most popular reason for getting friends to come to our place.

CHAR KOAY TEOW! It means literally fried flat rice noodles and has got to be one of the most popular Malaysian hawker food. I was called that in school because my surname is "Koay" which can also mean kuih, Malay for cake. So there, food were named after us! :) It's no surprise then that we are passionate about our food. Our mates know that if they come over to our place, they get fed and tucked in bed. Yes?

I've been asked many a times for this recipe, so I'm going to make one up! I really don't know the metrics of this and that, cos sometimes its a pinch of this and a thumb size of that.
For this, you would really need a very well seasoned wok, preferably a cast-iron Chinese wok. This is inexpensive, lightweight, reasonably durable and has a very quick conduction time. Fancy titanium Scanpan or your Jamie Oliver ain't going to cut it. I got my favourite black wok from Gary's parents who used to be restauranteurs.

(Serves 4)

Chilli Paste

200g dried red chillies
8 red shallots (I use red onions because of the exorbitantly priced shallots here in Australia!)
4 cloves garlic


4 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp dark caramel soy or kecap manis
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
2 tbsp sugar

1 whole garlic minced
12 fresh prawns, peeled (tail left intact)
2 Lap Cheong (Chinese sausage), sliced diagonally
2 pieces fish cake, sliced
1kg flat rice noodles
4 eggs
1kg bean shoots
1 bunch chives, cut at 1 inch lengths

To make the sambal or chilli paste, remove seeds from dried chilli peppers and soak in hot water. Rinse and cut into large chunks. Put chilli, shallots and garlic in a food processor and blend until it forms a smooth paste.

Mix all ingredients to make the sauce.

The noodles MUST be made in single serves each time. So to make 4 plates of CKT, you need to repeat the following process 4 times. That means your guests will be eating at different times and they need to know that that's OK. It's a Malaysian hawker thing...EAT when your dish arrives and don't wait up for the rest!

Heat up a little oil in wok. Saute 1 tablespoon of garlic until fragrant. Add in lap cheong, prawns and fish cake. Spoon in chilli paste accordingly to the level of spiciness requested. Grab a handful of rice noodles and add into wok. Stir with the corner of the spatula in circular motions to avoid breaking up of the rice noodles. Make sure that the heat from the fire is adequate. Spoon in 2 1/2 tablespoons of the prepared sauce. Stir. Push the ingredients in the wok to one side and crack a whole egg onto the surface of the wok. Break the egg yolk a little. Cover the egg over with the rest of the ingredients in the wok. Add in bean shoots and chives. Stir and done! Dish out onto individual plates.

This entire process only takes about 3 minutes or so. You can do a little jiggle or a dance while cooking to entertain your friends. It's quick so make sure you have ALL your ingredients prepared and ready to go! I usually do a trial run for the first plate and call it the taste plate. This is just to check the spiciness and the saltiness of the chilli and sauce. As I've said I've never really measured everything accurately. It's a dash of this and that!

I think my mates must have been really REALLY deprived of Malaysian hawker if they think my CKT is oh so authentic without the cockles or see-harm and pork fat. Have you even tried the gourmet version with salted duck eggs? *salivates*

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Lins said...

i want CKT!!!!!!! I am so sure that when I come back from KL, I'll be homesick so I will depend on you, Gracie, to make me feel all homely again with your char kuay teow yang sungguh sedap dan enak. Hehehe.


p.s Your boys are so cute lah. cannot tahan.

Grace said...

LOL Lin, you'll be back in KL in no time!! When you return you'll be like uggghhh what kinda wannabe CKT is this?? But definitely would love to have you guys over. Lachie misses you and kai mah... X

maggie said...

finally the recipe is up!! but i think we still need your magic touch to taste the perfect CKT.. haha