Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Char Kway Teow
This popular dish from the hawker stalls of Malaysia is my current favorite way to eat fried noodles. You really get to play with you food from the get-go with this recipe which makes it fun. You start by opening the package you see on the right, and separating the strands of noodles and putting them on a platter.
(Get your honey to help you and make dinner a collaboration.)
Besides getting tactile with the noodles, I love the silky texture of the mouth-feel you get with these. These are not like any other noodle I have ever eaten or cooked with.
Look for these up by the register of your local Asian or Southeast Asian market. (The fresher, the better.)
A word about ingredients:
The original recipe calls for blood cockles and you can usually find them in the frozen food section of your local Asian or Southeast Asian market. They are precooked and only need to have hot water poured on them to open and then are easily removed. I however cannot stand the taste of them. I ended up picking mine out and tossing them. I may try again if I can find them fresh the next time I am in Chinatown or one of the shops on Clement or (better yet) Irving St. I just doubled up on the shrimp in the recipe I came across, leaving out another traditional component.
The person who told me about Char Kwey Teow told me that where he lives, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, that the dish comes with Chinese beef sausage as opposed to rump steak, which I used. (Malaysia has a large Muslim population and the consumption of pork is forbidden in the religion) which I could not find anywhere. If you have no opposition to it, you may use Chinese style sausages in your version. (If you happen to find yourself in Chinatown in San Francisco, a few places make their own barbecue pork sausages which are many times better than the ones you buy pre-packaged.)
Char Kway Teow
1 lb fresh flat rice noodles (available in Asian markets)
3-4 red chilies, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 oz round steak or rump steak, sliced thin
8 oz prawns, peeled and deveined
Pinch of sugar
2 tablespoons light soy
8 oz fresh mung bean sprouts, cleaned and trimmed
1/2 bunch Chinese garlic chives, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon kecap manis (or to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste
Unravel noodles and set aside on a plate. Grind chilies and garlic to a rough paste.
Heat oil in a wok or large skillet. Fry paste taking care not to burn. Add meat and stir-fry until cooked. Add shrimp and shrimp and stir-fry until just underdone
Add a pinch of sugar and the light soy and mix well.
Add noodles and stir-fry until coated with the mixture.
Add bean sprouts, chives and kecap manis and toss until everything is mixed. (Do not over-cook bean sprouts; they should have a crunch in them)
Add water or more kecap manis, if you wish.