These stir-fried Penang-style noodles are incredibly popular in both Malaysia and Singapore. Char kuey teow may not be very handsome, but look beyond appearances and these glistening noodles are just heavenly – all languid and smoky. If you can’t find the wide kuey teow rice noodles traditionally used for this, just opt for the slightly thinner rice noodles that are often used for pad thai. Make sure all your ingredients are ready to go before you start to cook: once you start stir-frying, you can’t stop!
Use tamari instead of light and dark soy sauce, and make your own kecap manis from tamari as well. Leave out the vegetarian oyster sauce, or use the mushroom-cooking liquid in its place, as described oyster sauce.
If using fresh noodles, blanch them in a saucepan of boiling water to loosen them – they will only need about 30 seconds or so. If using dried noodles, pour boiling water from the kettle into a heatproof bowl and soak the noodles for 4–7 minutes. Either way, the noodles should still be a little crunchy, as you will be cooking them further in the wok. Drain and rinse well under cold running water to get rid of any excess starch and stop them getting sticky, then set aside.
Pour about half the oil into a wok or large frying pan over high heat and fry the tofu for 5 minutes until it is starting to brown ever so slightly. Set aside. Pour in the rest of the oil, then stir-fry the garlic and ginger until fragrant and golden. Add the stock cube and break it up to dissolve. Add the mushrooms and fry for a minute before adding the cabbage, greens, chives and all except
Make a well in the centre and add the soy sauces, oyster sauce and kecap manis. Stir in the fried tofu. Continue to mix and combine until everything is well coated. Add the rice noodles and stir to combine. Finally, for extra crunch, stir in the reserved beansprouts and cook for 1 minute.
Serve immediately with sambal and lime wedges. Enjoy it while it’s hot!
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