Char Koay Teow

Char Koay Teow is like the king of signature hawker dishes of Penang. Since my next trip to Penang is a long way off, I decided to make it myself. The trick is a hot wok, some fresh koay teow, bak eeu (pork fat), cockels and big shrimps and lots of taugeh (beansprouts).

Recipe (for 2)

  • 250-300g fresh koay teow (rice noodles shaped like tagliatelle)*
  • 1 tbp of minced garlic
  • 2 small pips of shallots, minced finely – about 1 tbp
  • 1 tbp of bak eeu (or pork fat, or use 1 rasher of bacon, diced)
  • 2 tbp of cooking oil (peanut oil preferred)
  • 6-10 large prawns peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 2 sprigs of garlic chives chopped
  • 1 tbp of chilli paste ‘chilli boh’ from local wet market or (use 1 tbp of chilli powder, mixed with a little warm water to make a paste) – can reduce if you don’t want it too spicy.
  • 1 1/2 tbp of dark soya sauce (thick one) like the Indonesian Kicap Manis Pekat (thick dark sweet soya sauce)
  • salt, light soya sauce to taste
  • a dash of white pepper
  • 1 beaten egg + a dash of soya sauce
  • 8 cockels boiled and picked out (optional)

Set the wok over high heat, and pour in the cooking oil with the bak eeu or bacon if using.  When hot, add in the garlic, shallots, shrimps, cockles, chilli paste and give it a stir til fragrant (about 1 min or so).

Add in the koay teow (noodles) and garlic chives, followed by the soya sauce, dark soya sauce,  salt and pepper to taste. Mix well the noodles and continue frying for about 1 minutes, push the noodles to the side of the wok, add a little more oil if your wok tends to stick, break in the beaten egg and scramble it .

Incorporate altogether and add in the beansprouts last. Fry for about another minute – dish out hot into 2 plates. Serve immediately!

(Normally we also add the chinese sausage ,sliced thinly and added at the stage with the garlic, shallots and all)

* if you are not able to find fresh koay teow, go to the asian grocers and you can find dried rice noodles (thai or vietnamese) , soften it by soaking in hot water for about 5 minutes or until soft.

+ if you wish to make it for more people say 4 people, do not fry all 4 persons portion at one time in the wok, max is for 2 persons portion, otherwise the char koay teow does not turn out nice. It has to be made plate by plate!

++ halal version, try using duck fat instead of pork fat or omit this part altogether.


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