Char Kway Teow

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This dish of fried noodles is difficult to perfect, but the final product is totally worth the effort! High heat, a well-seasoned wok and lard are stepping stones to perfection: the more times you cook this, the more attuned your eye and hand will become to the short successive frying stages for the different ingredients. The rice wine is not traditional, but it helps to flame the noodles in a home kitchen—the powerful flames of a hawker wok need no such assistance.

Ingredients

  • Chinese sausage (lup cheong) 1
  • Kway teow (fresh broad rice noodles) 500 g (1 lb oz)
  • Fresh Hokkien noodles 100 g ( oz)
  • Liquid lard or cooking oil 2-3 Tbsp
  • Garlic 4 cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • Rice wine 1 Tbsp
  • Shelled and cleaned blood cockles (optional) 100 g ( oz)
  • Fried fishcake 100 g ( oz), thinly sliced
  • Bean sprouts 200 g (7 oz), tails trimmed
  • Chinese chives (ku cai) 4 stalks, cut into 4-cm (1½-in) lengths
  • All-purpose chilli sauce 1 Tbsp or to taste
  • Crispy lard cubes 2 Tbsp
  • Eggs 2, lightly beaten

Sauce

  • Superior thick dark soy sauce Tbsp
  • Superior light soy sauce 1 Tbsp
  • Fish sauce 2 tsp
  • Brown sugar or chopped palm sugar (gula melaka) 1 Tbsp

Method

  1. Mix all ingredients for sauce together until sugar dissolves. Set aside.
  2. Thinly slice Chinese sausage on a diagonal, then blanch slices in boiling water for 10 seconds. Drain and set aside.
  3. Loosen kway teow and Hokkien noodles with your fingers to separate any clumps.
  4. Set a wok over very high heat. Swirl lard or oil into wok, then add garlic and fry for 20 seconds until softened and beginning to brown.
  5. Add both types of noodles and stir-fry about 1 minute until noodles are heated through. Add rice wine to wok and let it flame up so the noodles scorch a little and take on a smoky flavour.
  6. Add blanched Chinese sausages, cockles and fishcake to wok and fry for 30–45 seconds.
  7. Add sauce mixture to wok and toss well. Add bean sprouts, chives, chilli sauce and crispy lard cubes and fry until bean sprouts are nearly done.
  8. Drizzle eggs over noodles and toss until eggs are softly set. Dish up and serve immediately.