There use to be a Fried Kuey Teow stall not far from where I live. Lunch time are particularly busy period for the owner. Needless to say, business was very good for him and he developed a knack of managing his customer’s expectations. If you are a new customer, you would be introduced rather peculiar way of acknowledging your orders which is basically non eye-contact nor verbal confirmation of receipt of order.
The best part will be when you try to get one out of him, he would then give you this rather uncomfortable Jedi mind trick stare which naturally makes you feel quite embarrassed. I guess in his mundane work life, these are the simple pleasures he gets everyday. I always imagine him having this little chuckle from within, whenever he pulls off one of this little antics and it just never fails to crack me up.
I suppose everyone else would share this little thought of mine as it was always apparent that the other knowingly customers would always have this little grin on their face!
Anyway, so what is Char Kuey Teow you ask. Well, it is a very popular dish in Malaysia. Particularly popular amongst the Chinese Malaysian communities. The Muslim communities will have theirs the halal version called Kuey Teow Goreng. The noodles are made of rice cake strips and are usually cooked with the usual suspects of chinese sausages, prawns and a whole loads of goodies. The trick to a good plate of Char Kuey Teow is high heat from the wok and the use of pork lard. It gives the final dish a nice al-dante texture and a greasy glazed finish. Absolutely yummy!
- Chu Yau Cha (see preparation method below) – as much as you like. You can omit this if you like. But trust me it taste better
- 5 tbs Pork Oil (see preparation method below). You can substitute this with vegetable oil.
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp fish oil
- Handful of flat rice noodles, also known as kuey teow (try to get them fresh, if you happen to used the dried ones, make sure you soak them in hot water until their soft)
- 4-6 shelled prawns (chill in cold water mixed with sugar syrup for 15-20 minutes). This improves the texture of the prawns.
- Handful of beansprouts
- 2 Chinese sausage (known as lap cheong)
- 1 tbs Thick Caramel Sauce (No, it’s not sweet) – You should be able to find this in your local asian grocery store. If unable to locate, quote “Yuen Chun Longevity Brand Thick Caramel Sauce-750ml” to the sales assistant. They may give you a weird look, but it’s all about the experience isn’t it?
- Handful of Chinese Chives (you can use ordinary chives as well if you can’t find them)
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
- 2 eggs
- Heat a small a mount of pork oil in wok. Get it piping hot, then add in your rice noodles and allow them to brown just a little. When done, remove from wok and set aside.
- Heat more pork oil in a wok. Get it piping hot. You need to keep your wok constantly hot throughout the entire process, this is essential or your dish will end up soggy.
- Add in Chinese sausage and get it moderately crisp
- Add in prawns, garlic and Chu Yau Cha, chives, beansprouts
- Once the prawns are cooked, clear the area in the centre of your wok add in eggs, scramble them then mix with the rest of the ingredients.
- Next add in the rice noodles and give it a stir
- Finally add a little soya sauce and Thick Caramel Sauce to the dish. Give it one last stir and you’re ready to serve.
Bon appetit …
How to make pork oil and “Chu Yau Cha”
- Pork belly / pork draft (you want to get one with huge amount of fat on it. You’ll probably need to talk to your local butcher about this)
- 2 tsp of sesame oil
- Trim the fat from the pork belly. You can discard the skin (or reserve it to make crackling), the lean meat you can use for cooking.
- Cut the pork fat into tiny cubes approximately 1cm X 1 cm
- With a little sesame oil fry the pork cubes until goldn brown. Stir occassionally so they do not burn
- Seperate the oil and the browned fat
- The oil is then your pork oil whilst the brown fat is your Chu Yau Cha.
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