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
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.