I’ve tried many versions of char kway teow but never quite enjoyed it until I tested Adam Liaw’s recipe from his book Two Asian Kitchens.
I will never forget the secret to this great hawker dish. It is to cook it one portion at a time in a wok. I used to overload the wok which ended up with stewed noodles rather than getting that fried, charred flavour.
Here’s the recipe for us to keep:
2 fried fishcakes, sliced
1 tbsp neutral-flavoured oil
3 prawns, peeled and deveined
50g squid, sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
40g Chinese spinach, chopped
1 spring onion, cut into 4 cm lengths
200g fresh thick, flat, white rice noodles
1 tbsp chicken stock
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 pinch chilli powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 pinch white pepper
1 tsp Cheong Chan cooking caramel
50g bean sprouts
1. Boil the fishcake slices in water for 2 minutes until cooked. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat the oil over high heat in a large wok until smoking. Add the prawns, squid and fishcake slices. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes until almost cooked and then add the garlic, spinach and spring onion.
3. Push everything to one side of the wok and crack the egg into the space you have made. Break up the egg and mix everything together.
4. Add the noodles and toss to coat in the oil. Add the chicken stock, soy sauce, chilli powder, salt and pepper and then the cooking caramel. Stir-fry together, then add the bean sprouts and cook for just a few seconds (the bean sprouts will continue to cook in the heat from the noodles and you want them to have a bit of crunch).
5. Serve with fresh coriander, a lemon wedge and some chilli and garlic oil or chilli sauce.
1. I substituted squid with fishballs, Cheong Chan cooking caramel with caster sugar and chicken stock with the juice I got from the pounded shrimp heads.
2. I added pork chips (chicharon) because I’m Filipino and its masarap.