How to make Malaysian Street Food, Char Kuey Teow in your Wok!

If you love Asian food, Char Kuey Teow, a famous and very popular Malaysian street food is heavenly. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll crave it and dream about it.  Its heady aroma, spicy complex flavors and textures are downright addictive. It doesn’t matter how many times you eat it, you’ll want MORE, it’s that good.

My mom used to make Char Kuey Teow on special occasions and it became one of my family’s all time favorite dishes. Today is one of those special occasions because it would have been my mom’s 90th and I wouldn’t be teaching wok cooking if it weren’t for her!

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I didn’t make the Char Kuey Teow in this post, I was acting as sous chef for my sister so I could watch, take photos, shoot videos and learn all the secrets to share with you!  It’s a lot of work but with 3 sisters prepping, it’s not as intimidating, so invite your family and friends to lessen the load, it’s always much more fun cooking together.

If you follow these tips, you’ll get a better chance of success! It’s the same approach I teach in wok cooking…

1. use good, fresh ingredients
2. use a well seasoned, lightweight cast iron wok for better wok hei (high heat) Otherwise, a cast iron skillet but definitely NOT nonstick because it can’t withstand high heat required to make this dish!
3. high heat is ESSENTIAL, preferably gas not electric…
– so the noodles don’t stick and get all goopy
– to get that wonderful umami flavor when soy sauce hits the heat
4. Make small batches, the smaller the better the results. In Penang, they make enough for only one person at a time and it’s perfect every time!

Visit Char Kuey Teow Pork Jerky for tips and substitutions which are all part of being a Wok Star and my mom would have approved, she used to do that too and no one was the wiser. Make Char Kuey Teow your memory anchor for good times and I would love to hear how your dish turns out?

Char Kuey Teow was a perfect fit for this month’s Let’s Lunch theme for a summer dish from our childhood memories.  Whenever I eat this dish, all my childhood memories start flooding back, like my family at the beach or at a picnic and having a fantastic time.  But my best and favorite memory is of cooking with my sisters and mom, giggling and having a blast!

Let’s Lunch is a monthly virtual gathering of foodies from all over the world and take turns hosting with a theme. Anyone can join, just use #letslunch on twitter and someone will reach out to you or leave a comment below. Check out other Let’s Lunchers’ posts, they’re always an interesting read…

Betty Ann‘s Suam Na Mais (Corn Soup with Shrimp and Spinach) at Asian in America

Eleanor‘s Mom’s Malaysian Char Kuey Teow at Wok Star

Grace‘s Mung Bean Popsicles at HapaMama

Karen‘s Watermelon Salt Water Taffy at GeoFooding

Linda‘s Auntie Number One’s Fresh Peach Ice-Cream at Spicebox Travels

Lisa‘s Aunty Myrna’s Cabbage Rolls at Monday Morning Cooking Club

1. Prep of Kuey Teow ingredients, top left to right: blanched rappini (sub for choy sum), 4 eggs, bean sprouts, ready fried shrimp, scallions, chopped garlic, diced red chilies, dried chili flakes,

1. Prep of Kuey Teow ingredients, top left to right: blanched rappini (sub for choy sum), 4 eggs, bean sprouts, ready fried shrimp, scallions, chopped garlic, diced red chilies, dried chili flakes. If you can get Chinese pork sausage, slice thin and fry on medium heat to render the fat and soften the pork.

2. Lightly cook wide and thin dried rice noodles, should be al dente.  Dry well with dish towels. But best is to use fresh noodles.

2. Lightly cook wide and thin dried rice noodles, should be al dente. Dry well with dish towels. Best is to use fresh rice noodles, just separate each strand so it doesn’t goop up.

3. Lightly stir fry bean sprouts, scallions and rappini.

3. Lightly stir fry bean sprouts, scallions and rappini (typically choy sum but you can omit and will be fine) Notice nice patina of my sister’s cast iron wok, same as mine. She had a gas stove and I got her to use the smaller burner which focuses heat at base of her wok and resulted in much better heat distribution.

4. Lightly stir fry shrimp with garlic.

4. Lightly stir fry shrimp with garlic and chilies.

5. Fry chilies and garlic, then add in one portion of rice noodles.

5. Fry chilies and garlic, then add in one portion of rice noodles.

6. Add in bean sprouts, shrimp to noodles and combine. This is when you taste and add your dark soy and little salt so it's not too dark. Test for spiciness. Push your noodles to one side and fry some chilies in wok first before recombining.

6. Add in 1/2 of bean sprouts and shrimp to noodles and combine. This is when you taste and add your dark soy and little salt so it’s not too dark. Test for spiciness. Push your noodles to one side and fry more chilies in wok first before recombining noodles.

7. Push noodles to one side and add drop 2 eggs into wok, cover the eggs with noodles to cook them a bit. Then frantically start stir frying everything so the eggs get to cook through into yummy chunks and coat the noodles.

7. Push noodles to one side and drop 2 eggs (1 egg per person) into wok, cover the eggs with noodles to cook them a bit. Then frantically start stir frying everything so the eggs get to cook through into yummy chunks and coat the noodles.  Do the whole process with the other portion and cook it fresh to eat immediately.

Ta Da! Mom would be proud of my sister's masterpiece!

Ta Da! Mom would be proud of my sister’s masterpiece!

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8 Responses to How to make Malaysian Street Food, Char Kuey Teow in your Wok!
  1. Samyak
    August 22, 2014 | 1:19 am

    I love your photos, especially the family shots! The dish looks amazing – I’m on a three week diet cleanse, so it looks especially amazing to me! Thanks for sharing!

    • Eleanor Hoh
      August 24, 2014 | 5:11 pm

      Hi Samyak, maybe after your cleanse, you can make this and will taste especially good!

  2. KrisWithaK
    August 19, 2014 | 7:52 pm

    Yummm! Have you ever done a vegetarian post similar to this? I’d love to try it with Tofu and no fish sauce or anything, but I’d love your advice 🙂
    xo
    K

    • Eleanor Hoh
      August 19, 2014 | 11:02 pm

      Since I don’t teach ‘recipes’ I encourage folks to put their personal spin on any of the dishes they see on my blog! You can adapt any of the dishes to be vegan/vegetarian by subbing with tofu/seitan and tamari instead of fish sauce and maybe add more eggs. I love San-J Intl. brand of tamari,been using for over 20 years, it’s the only one I use cause it’s non-GMO, gluten-free, no MSG, enough said! Thx for dropping by Kristi.

  3. Brenda
    August 15, 2014 | 5:23 am

    I have got to try this. Looks absolutely delicious!

    • Eleanor Hoh
      August 15, 2014 | 9:39 am

      When you do Brenda, I’m coming to document it and try it!

  4. A Tiger in the Kitchen
    August 14, 2014 | 11:18 pm

    You have NO idea how homesick this made me. And I love your old photos — look at those edges!! Brava for attempting this … this dish is difficult and yours looked like a raging success! xx

    • Eleanor Hoh
      August 15, 2014 | 9:41 am

      Cheryl, cooking and eating this dish always reminds my sisters and I of my mom, can’t go wrong. Well, since I was just the sous chef, I will attempt it now I’ve watched my sis make it from scratch.

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