A whole month ago (actually, technically more than a month ago now), Malaysia Kitchen hosted a series of events which were aimed at promoting the sheer awesomeness that is Malaysian cuisine. The campaign, Flavours of Malaysia, involved a number of events across Sydney, and I was fortunate enough to attend one of them – a cooking class hosted by the flamboyant Wanitha Tanasingam.

Usually when I go to an event which I enjoyed, I churn out a blog post pretty quick. Don’t worry, it has nothing to do with efficiency and everything to do with the fact that I can’t remember what I did last week, let alone last month. But this has been a blog post long in the making, because before I blogged about it, I wanted to… *drum roll*…ย make char kuay teow.

Yes. I made char kuay teow.

No, hell hasn’t frozen over. I think.

What is the big deal, you ask? Well. WELL. Without doubt, I am the crappest Malaysian person on this planet. I frizzzackingly LOVE eating Malaysian (it’s one cuisine which I always feel like eating, any day, any time of day) but basically, I can’t cook it for shit. I did churn out these ondeh ondeh once, but the miracle hasn’t reoccurred and I find myself ogling the likes of Karen’s assam laksa on a daily basis.

Ok you got me, I ogle twice daily.

So I went along to this cooking class, hoping to learn a thing or two.

Chef Wanitha is an absolute delight! Full of character and metaphors about sex (I mean, how could you not love this woman?) she took us on a journey not only about Malaysian food, but through her childhood and how she grew to love the art of creation, taught by her father, who was head chef for the Kedah Royal Family in Malaysia.ย Quite a pedigree.

The class was great fun – she taught us how to touch and smell and pound the living daylights out of fresh herbs, and we also learnt how to cook! And it was here that I first gained enough courage to even contemplate cooking char kuay teow at home.

So last Saturday was the day. I meticulously studied my ingredients list and headed into Chinatown to top up on what I didn’t have. I came home, laid it all out, chopped up what needed to be chopped and took a 45 minute nap. Because preparation is tiring, man!

At 7pm, I started cooking. Now, the cooking process itself it pretty fast, like 10 minutes, but here’s a word of warning (which I too shall heed next time I make char kuay teow). If you can, cook outside.


Ask your damn smoke alarm why.

There’s a reason why char kuay teow has that awesome smokey burnt taste, and that stems from the nice hot wok and what does a nice hot wok create? Smoke, y’all, smoke. I have a portable gas cooker and you better believe that next time I’m cooking on my balcony.

But aside from that, follow the recipe! It’s actually surprisingly simple, and even more surprisingly tasty. I’d experiment a little with the light / dark soy amounts to get the taste you want, but essentially, this is how you make char kuay teow. Enjoy!

Char kuay teow (recipe from Chef Wanitha)
1 tablespoon oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon sambal / chilli paste (or to taste)
1 lup cheong (Chinese sausage), cut into thin diagonal slices
75 grams char siew (BBQ pork), cut into think slices
200 grams raw prawns, shelled and de-veined
35 grams fish cakes, sliced
35 grams fish balls, sliced
350 grams fresh kuay teow (I used about 500 grams, but we’re piggies)
1 1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
2 eggs
4 sprigs chives, cut into 2.5cm lengths
1 cup bean sprouts
1 tablespoon fried shallots
1 teaspoon sesame oil
(optional: 200 grams cockle – but don’t used the canned stuff, yuck)
  1. Heat the oil in a wok.
  2. Fry garlic and sambal, add lup cheong to the garlic and chilli.
  3. Then add the char siew and toss well.
  4. Add prawns and toss until prawns are pink. If using cockles, add now and mix well.
  5. Next add the fish cakes and fish balls.
  6. Add kuay teow to the wok with the light and dark soy sauce, toss until well mixed.
  7. Clear the middle of the wok, crack the eggs into the middle and cover with the kuay teow, allowing to cook for a minute.
  8. Toss well, adding chives and beansprouts.
  9. Serve hot, garnished with fried shallots and sesame oil.
Serves 2.

25 Thoughts on “recipe | i made char kuay teow. that is all.

  1. yummy yummy ๐Ÿ™‚ if you use pork lard as your oil, it is even more tasty!

  2. YUM! So… When can I come over? ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. OMG (and you know I don’t you this abbreviation lightly), that looks amazing! Well done you! Yum. For me, the making of assam laska is still in my priority list of things to make. x

  4. mc: Yesssssssssssss. I don’t have pork lard but thought about cutting the lup cheong into teeny tiny pieces to look like pork lard ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Phuoc: Let me get a little more comfy with making it first then yes, come over!!

    Linh: OMG indeed! You must be impressed ๐Ÿ˜‰ Ah yes, we never got around to that assam laksa day…

  5. Panu is a lucky guy!! XX

  6. Brave you. Rice noodles are a bit tricky to cook (well that’s what I tell myself!). What’s next from your Malaysian kitchen?

  7. I love the charred flavour to the noodles for the CKT! That’s probably my favourite fried noodle dish!

  8. Haha, the smoke alarm at my mum’s used to go off each and every time she grilled chicken wings!

  9. The best bit are the little fired cubes of pork fat that some places have. Goddamn, you better make this for me when I am over there.

  10. Gah I miss a good char kuay teow and yours looks ah-mazing! I can never make it at home because a) my stove isn’t big enough and b) my stove isn’t big enough, which means no heat and charring and no wok hei (cue sad face).

    We should totally swap meals Cat. My assam laksa for your CKT. Deal? ๐Ÿ˜€

  11. Yum!! I wish I knew how to cook this!

  12. Helen: isn’t he just? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Mr Noodles: Haha, it wasn’t too bad actually. They are more delicate than egg noodles but they were fine. Hmmm next up, maybe curry chicken ๐Ÿ˜‰ But I have the paste for that in a bottle so it’s kind of cheating!

    Lorraine: That’s Panu’s fave fried noodle dish too!

    Rita: Haha yeah smoke alarms.. I know they save lives but damn they are irritating sometimes!

    tehbus: when you getting your butt over here man???

    Karen: YES. DEAL.

    jenny: Follow the recipe! It’s not that hard (surprisingly)!

  13. I always preferred the wet version wat dan hor to char kuay teow. But yours look awesome!

    Imma gonna annoy my malaysian mum to make this now. (There are SO many perks to living at home as a postgrad LOL)

  14. wow….way to go on your CKT!!

  15. Yinnie: The wet version to me is… hor fun? Is that kinda what you’re talking about? With the eggy sauce? That’s totally yummy too and my parents make that really well! Wish I lived at home sometimes ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Kay: Yeah man!! Thanks!! ๐Ÿ˜€

  16. ooh that looks so good! I have issues with my smoke alarm as well, so whenever it goes off after opening the oven door, someone has to stand underneath with newspapers or magazines and wave the smoke away lol

  17. You made char koay teow!! ๐Ÿ˜€ Looks yum.
    I can’t remember if I ever told you, but my favourite part of CKT is.. err.. the pieces of fried lard. Lol.

  18. I love Malaysian food. Your cooking looks delicious.

  19. Christine on November 7, 2011 at 5:17 am said:

    Wow! So impressed. I would def pay a tenner for that! ๐Ÿ˜›

  20. Jacq: YES! That’s exactly what my bf was doing haha. I’ve been converted to cooking outside with my gas burner!

    Su-yin: I knowwww that’s most people’s fave part but I didn’t have that ๐Ÿ™ Still tasted all right though!

    Hotly Spiced: Thank you!! Malaysian food all the way! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Christine: I’ll give you a 10% discount lah.

  21. yummy ^^ thanks for the recipe share, looks easy enough.. haha will attempt this sometime

  22. Hi Cat, Your Char kuay teow recipe has been selected by Knapkins to be featured in a Recipe Guessing Game. Please share the following link with your friends and fans. Congrats again!! ๐Ÿ™‚ To play, go here: http://knapkins.com/guess_games/472?source=blog

  23. wow that’s a gorgeous first attempt! i love ckt, miss it like mad. i keep saying i want to do it one day, but then i keep thinking i haven’t got the lard, nor the cockles, nor the gas stove etc. but they’re really jsut excuses, i love what you’ve done!

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