Do you know the history of Char Kway Teow? I managed to get some information from the National Library Board, Singapore. Despite its Hokkien name, the stir-fried noodle dish is associated with the Teochew community and is believed to have originated from Chaozhou in China’s Guangdong province. Char Kway Teow began as a simple meal for the ordinary man, an uncomplicated dish of rice noodles fried with lard and dark soya sauce. Rice vermicelli was added to the original flat noodle dish, but this was later replaced by yellow wheat noodles. Wow, I am so proud to be a Teochew!! 🙂
Char Kway Teow has a reputation of being unhealthy due to its high saturated fat content. However, when the dish was first invented, it was mainly served to labourers. The high fat content and low cost of the dish made it attractive to these people as it was a cheap source of energy and nutrients. When the dish was first served, it was often sold by fishermen, farmers and cockle-gatherers who doubled as char kway teow hawkers in the evening to supplement their income.
I know, I know… Some still deem it as unhealthy but my justification is if you are not indulging in this noodle dish daily we should be doing fine. So let’s get “woking”….
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Serves 3 to 4 persons
400g fresh flat rice noodles (completely loosened with no clumps)
250g yellow noodles
4 cloves garlic (minced)
9 to 12 deshelled prawns per person (submerge in ice cold water plus 1 tablespoon sugar for 30 minutes and drained)
150g fresh bean sprouts (peeled off the tail, rinsed with cold water and drained)
2 pieces of fish cakes (thinly slice)
Some bloody cockles (slightly blanch and extract the cockles by opening its shell)
A bunch of Chinese chives or spring onions (removed about 1-inch of the bottom section and cut into 2-inch lengths)
5 tablespoons oil
For Chilli Paste:
15 to 20 dried red chillies (soak in water, deseed)
5 small shallots (peeled and sliced)
1½ tablespoons oil
A pinch of salt
For Sauce (mix well):
5 tablespoons soy sauce
1½ tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon fish sauce
Some salt (if required)
Some white pepper
Preparation of Chilli Paste:
- Pound or blend all the ingredients of chilli paste till fine.
- Heat up a wok with 2 teaspoons oil and stir-fry the chilli paste until aromatic.
- Dish out and set aside.
Frying the noodles:
- Heat up a clean wok with 3 tablespoons of oil
- Add in the chopped garlic and stir till fragrant.
- Next add in the prawns. Stir till it slightly changes colour.
- Add the bean sprouts and fish cakes and give a quick stir.
- Immediately add in the noodles and stir fry.
- Push the noodles to one side and add some oil on to the empty area. Then add the eggs on it. Use the spatula to break the egg yolk and stir to blend with the egg white. Flip the noodles and cover the egg, and wait for about 15 seconds.
- Add in the cockles and the chives. Then stir in.
- Add in the sauce and stir fry till it is well mixed with the noodles.
- Dish out the noodles and put a notch of chilli at the side. Serve immediately.