Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Go for Poh's Char Kway Teow

With the next season of MasterChef Australia about to begin, here is a recipe for Malaysian Char Kway Teow from the first season's runner-up, Poh Ling Yeow. 

Poh has done pretty well for herself since bursting onto our screens last year.  Her giggly, grinning persona is all over the place, from her cooking show, Poh's Kitchen, through to articles in delicious magazine.

In describing this dish, Poh says that to keep the authenticity, the ingredient list is 'uncompromising', with no substitutions.  With this in mind, I made the effort to buy pork fat to make the 'croutons'.  I've never cooked with a piece of fat before, but thankfully the Asian butcher I went to does have pork fat for sale (though the minimum purchase is 200g).  Frying the fat is interesting, and you are left with a couple of spoonfuls of fat that must be carefully disposed of.  Eating the croutons, I had to remind myself to ignore the fact that they were essentially lumps of fat...
The char kway teow is fantastic, though - very tasty and quite easy to make once you prep the ingredients beforehand.

Char Kway Teow
serves 2

2 tbs light soy sauce
2 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp caster sugar
2 tsp light soy sauce, extra
2 tsp Shaohsing (Chinese cooking wine)
pinch each of white pepper and chilli flakes
1 chicken thigh fillet, cut into 2cm cubes
10 green prawns, peeled and deveined
100g fresh port fat, cut into 1cm cubes
3 garlic cloves
2 lap cheong (Chinese sausage), sliced on an angle into 3mm pieces
250g thick rice noodles, separated
3 eggs, lightly whisked
2 cups bean sprouts, ends trimmed
3/4 cup garlic chives, cut into 4cm lengths

1.  Combine the light soy, dark soy and 1 tsp sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
2.  Combine the Shaohsing, white pepper, extra soy, remaining sugar and a pinch of salt in a bowl.  Add chicken and prawns, then set aside to marinate for 10 minutes.
3.  Heat wok over medium heat.  Add pork fat and fry for 2-3 minutes until crisp and golden. Drain croutons on paper towel.
4.  Discard all but 1 tblsp of fat from the wok.  Add garlic and lap cheong and stir-fry for 1 minute until garlic is golden. 
5.  Add drained chicken and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes until almost cooked through. 
6.  Add drained prawns and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes until cooked.
7.  Add noodles, chilli, soy mixture and stir-fry for 30 seconds.  Push noodles to the side of the wok, then pour egg into the centre.  Let it sit for 30 seconds to brown slightly, then scramble with a spatula until the egg is just set and the noodles have charred slightly.
8.  Add sprouts and chives, then toss until well combined and heated through.
9.  Season, then serve topped with croutons.

Recipe from delicious (April 2010)

Ingredients, including shaohsing wine, lap cheong and pork fat.  Rather than using flat rice noodles, I found some rice noodle rolls (with embedded dried shrimp) that I cut into 2cm widths, then separated out to make noodles

A hot wok with lots of 'wok hei' is ideal for this - you want bits of charred flavour on the noodles

Go, Poh! This dish takes a bit of effort, but the result is worth it.


  1. looks tasty but where's the blood cockles like they do in Malaysia? hehe :-)

  2. Looks sensational...very authentic :) I esp love the diced pork fat...hehehe

  3. You made it! I have been too lazy to get around and make it. Taste nice? Okay, I need to try!

  4. Whenever I go to Singapore or Malaysia, I always amke sure I have char kway teow. I can't seem to find any around sydney that is as good as those overseas. It's good to have a traditional recipe, just so I can try it out for myself and see if I can try to emulate the smokiness of the char kway teow in malaysia/singapore.

  5. Yum! Char koay teow is one of my favourite dishes. I love mine with cockles :)

  6. Simon - not all regions in Malaysia add cockles to it. I grew up eating char kuay teows without it and from the hawkers I go to in KL, it's all cockle free.

    I love this dish but I never make it or buy it because there's nothing quite like the sweaty street stalls of KL and their awesome woks. Yours looks fab though and omg those chu yau cha (fried pork fat) are magic! A lot of Malaysian dishes need it for the best flavour. :)

  7. I saw this in the lastest Delicious and immediately bookmarked it. This gives me even more reason to cook it. Was the pork fat worth it? or could I just leave it out?

  8. I saw the recipe on delicious. Thumbs up for using pork fat!!! You have to try it with blood cockles. It's so good!

  9. 10 points for authenticity! OK, well I actually have no idea how authentic this is but the list of ingredients seems annoying-to-source enough to be authentic ;)

    Hip hip hooray for wok hei. I wish I could get that in my wok at home!!

  10. Oh pork fat croutons are awesome! I can't quite remember what it is that mum made but I remember there were cubes of deep fried pork fat in it. Once you get over the "I'm eating pure fat" it's actually quite nice! The rice noodles rolls with stuff embedded are so good with a bit of home made fish sauce and some asian herbs.

  11. I'm glad for Poh's success, even if she didn't win I think she has managed to come out on top! She's very creative as well but at the same time she manages to add a twist to her food. I've never tried to make this dish as home but sounds delicious, especially with the pork fat! Heehee...

  12. yes to pork fats. and can't wait till masterchef starts.

  13. The lumps of fat do sound like a cardiologist's nightmare, but it sounds like a tasty dish. The hot smokey wok flavour would be awesome.

  14. Mmmm I'm craving that so badly right now... I've had to make do with gnawing on a salami stick..similar to lap cheong...right? (I'll keep telling myself that)

  15. Yum! Love how you're stir-frying with chopsticks too - a habit I've picked up from my mum =)

  16. Poh's such a natural for tv! And I was so glad to see Lup Cheong in the ingredients list-I love that stuff too much (even though I know there are just lumps of fat in it hehe) :