Char kuey teow or fried kway teow meaning stir-fried ricecake strips, is an extremely popular hawker or street food in Malaysia. It originated in South East Asia and is also very popular in Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia. The word “char” is adapted from Hokkien, a Chinese dialect which means “fried” and “kuey teow” is translated as “flat rice noodles”, the chief element for this dish. Fresh flat rice noodles are not gluten free as they normally have wheaten corn starch added. Char kuey teow is normally stir-fried with chilli paste, prawns, cockles, bean sprouts, Chinese garlic chives, light and dark soy sauce and eggs. Frequently, Chinese sausages (lap cheong) and fishcakes are included to heighten the flavour. Customarily, char kway teow is cooked with pork fat together with crunchy croutons of pork lard and serves on top of a banana leaf on a plate. For my gluten free version, my ingredients are gluten free pad thai noodles (choose the wider type noodles, Erawan brand), king prawns, pipis, garlic chives, bean sprouts, eggs and stir-fried in sauce made with dark soy sauce, fish sauce, salt and sweet chilli sauce. This recipe is gluten free, dairy free, nut free and corn free.
Initially, Char Kuey teow was regarded as a humble food as it was created for labourers, farmers, fishermen and cockle collectors, who worked as hawkers at night to complement their income. The original dish has high saturated fat ingredients from pork fat and pork lard plus low budgets, making it an appealing and nutritious option for them. Nowadays, Char kuey teow has developed into a beloved hawker or street food and even served in chain restaurants in both Malaysia and Singapore. Other gastronomic varieties are cooked with king prawns, seafood, crab meat and duck eggs.
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 kg king prawns shelled and deveined
- 1 kg fresh pipis shelled and washed
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 bunch garlic chives Chinese chives
- 200 g fresh bean sprouts 1 packet, washed and drained
For the noodles:
For the Omelette:
- Extra virgin olive oil for pan frying
- 6 large eggs
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
For the Sauce:
For The Marinade:
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
For the omelette:
- Crack all the eggs into a medium bowl, add the salt and ground white pepper. Beat all the eggs well with a fork.
- Heat up a medium non-stick frying pan with some extra virgin olive oil on medium to high heat. Add the beaten egg mixture into the frying pan, turn the heat to medium. Move the frying pan around to distribute the egg evenly, cook for about 2 to 3 minutes or until the bottom of the omelette turn slightly brown. Turn the omelette around and cook for roughly the same time. Remove omelette onto a plate.
For the noodles:
- Prepare and mix the sauce ingredients in a separate bowl.
- Marinade the prawns with ½ teaspoon ground white pepper and ½ teaspoon salt. Set aside.
- Then marinade the pipis with ½ teaspoon ground white pepper and ½ teaspoon salt. Set aside.
- Fill a pot half full of water, bring to a boil and turn off the heat. Add 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, pinch of salt and the rice noodles into the wok for 3 minutes or until the rice noodles are soft. Separate the noodles, drain the water and set aside.
- For the prawns, heat up a wok with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, pan-fry the prawns on medium to high heat for 2 minutes on each side or until prawns are just cooked. Remove prawns and discard juice and set aside. Clean wok with kitchen paper towel.
- For the pipis, heat up a wok with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, stir-fry the pipis on medium to high heat for 2 minutes or until pipis are just cooked. Remove pipis and discard juice and set aside. Clean wok with kitchen paper towel.
- Heat up the wok again with 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, stir-fry the garlic on low heat until lightly golden. Add in the rice noodles and sauce prepared, stir-fry for 2 minutes on medium to high heat. Return the omelettes to the wok, break the omelettes into smaller pieces, stirring frequently, toss and combine well until the dish is heated through on medium to high heat.
- Lastly, return the prawns and pipis to the wok and add in the garlic chives and bean sprouts, stir-fry for another 3 minutes or until the noodles and ingredients are mixed through.