From Billy Law, Malaysia Kitchen Ambassador
My all-time favourite Malaysian hawker food would have to be a delicious plate of Char Kway Teow, commonly known as ‘CKT’. I could eat it all day long, for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
The secret to a mouth-watering CKT is to have a smoking hot wok when stir-frying the noodles. The high heat will prevent the ingredients from sticking to the wok and inevitably burning, but it also imparts a charred smokey flavour to the dish, often referred to as the ‘Breath of the Wok’.
It is totally up to you whether you have a mild version or make it hot with the addition of some sambal belacan. This recipe includes instructions on how to make fresh sambal belacan from scratch which will keep for a week in the refrigerator. But, if you don’t have time, try a store bought version – it still does the trick!
- 3 Tbs vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 lap cheong (Chinese sausage), thinly
- 6 raw prawns, peeled and deveined
- 400 g fresh flat rice noodles
- 1 Tbs sambal belacan paste (optional)
- 2 Tbs light soy sauce
- 1 Tbs dark soy caramel*
- 1 tsp ground white pepper
- 1 egg
- Handful of bean sprouts
- Handful of garlic chives, cut into 5 cm (2 inch) lengths
- Sambal belacan (optional)
- 4-5 (100 g) large red chillies, cut into chunks
- 20 g belacan (shrimp paste)
- 2 tsp sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Juice of half a lime
*Dark cooking caramel, also known as dark soy caramel, is different from dark soy sauce or kecap manis. It has a thick molasses consistency and a salty flavour. It can be found in many major supermarkets and Asian grocers.
To make the sambal belacan, blend the ingredients into a fine paste and adjust seasoning according to taste with salt, sugar and lime juice.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a wok over high heat, add the garlic, lap cheong and stirfry for a minute. Then add sambal belacan, prawns and stir-fry for a further minute until cooked.
Add rice noodles, season with light soy sauce, dark soy caramel and white pepper, and stir-fry to make sure all noodles are charred and well coated in the sauce.
Push the rice noodles aside and make a clear space in the wok, then add the remaining tablespoon of oil and crack the egg into the oil. Stir and break up the egg with the spatula, then quickly cover it up with noodles and let it cook for 10 to 15 seconds before you start stir-frying again.
Add bean sprouts and garlic chives, turn the heat off, give everything in the wok a toss to combine, then tip out onto a serving plate.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
Prep time: 15min • Cook time: 10min