This is not a dsh that I grew up with, rather this is a dish which I never heard of before all these hoopla's around food started to appear on TV. Gone are those days when the only cookery show was Sanjeev kapoor's Sunday special khana khazana. Which we looked for with a diary and pen in hand, I might still find that old recipe diary of mine at my mom’s place. Rather now there are way too many shows on TV doling out way too many recipes. I believe every show has its own set of viewers and its always good to be spoilt with choices.
Personally I prefer to watch shows where food is the center point. Not some scantily dressed (or should I say strategically dressed) woman talking about the recipe in a husky voice and rolling eyes. I don’t have anything against them but that’s not my type of shows. Rather I prefer shows where people travel different countires and talk about the recipe in the most traditional ways at the most authentic source of it. For that I love most of the food related shows on TLC channel. Another favourite of mine is the Fox travels. Love the Food Safari series on that.
The dish that I am talking about today is Malaysia’s national dish Char kway teao. Which literally means stir fried rice cake strips. This generally is a stir fry of flat rice noodles with egg, shrimp, Chinese sausage, chinise chives and sy sauce. This is very famous street food of Malaysia and many families there earn their living selling only this dish.
I have been making this dish for almost 3 years now, and luckily I get a constant supply of flat rice noodles from Malaysia through some friends. With time I have found similar ingredients that works for me in this famous dish. but I strictly follow the main rule of using the freshest of ingredients for this. The best part is if the sauce is prepared before hand cooking this dish hardly takes any time, which makes it perfect for busy weeknights.
This is not at all an authentic recipe and I doubt if we can pass it as char kway teao. Its totally a recipe that I have adapted to my needs. Generally this is cooked with lard or duck fat and balachan (dried shrimp paste) which we don’t get here. Also Chinese chives, cockles, Chinese sausages are not easily available so I tried to substitute with mushroom and spring onion. At the end of all the substitution am not sure how much authentic this dish is but whatever you call it its really tasty and we love it immensely.
I adapted the recipe from the show and then improvised with time.
Char Kway Teao
Dry red chillies: 3-4 pieces (depends on your heat quotient)
Fresh red chili: 2 pieces
Shallots: 3-4 pieces or 1 small onion
Garlic: 4-5 fat cloves
Prawn head: 5-6 pieces
Sugar: ½ tsp
Oil: 1 tbsp
Dark soy sauce: 2 tbsp
Light soy sauce: 2 tbsp
Fish sauce:1/2 tsp
Pepper powder: 1/3 tsp
Water: 2 tbsp
Dried rice noodles: 1 pack
Garlic: 4-5 fat cloves; chopped finely
Prawn: shelled and cleaned: 10-12 pieces
Oil: 4 tbsp
Bean sprouts: 1 cup
Spring onion: cut in 1” pieces; 1 cup
Mushrooms: cleaned and cut in medium size chunks: 2 cups
You should actually use sea foods like squids, Chinese sausages and cockles. We don’t eat that so substituted it with mushroom and more prawns.
Deseed and soak the dry chillies in warm water for at least 15 minutes. Then in a blender add this along with prawn heads, fresh red chilies, shallots and garlic. Blend to a coarse paste. Heat the oil and add this paste along with sugar and salt. Fry on low heat till oil start to ooze out. Switch off and keep aside.
Mix all the sauces together and keep aside.
Prepare the rice noodles as per packet instruction. Keep aside.
Before you start cooking make sure everything is in order and the cooking time is very less and the whole dish is cooked on high flame.
Heat a wok and add 3 tbsp oil. Once the oil comes to smoking add the finely chopped garlics. Stir for a few seconds and immediately add the prawn with a pinch of salt. Stir fry till they change colour approx. 1 minute.
Next throw in ½ cup of sprouts and the mushrooms, mix. Cook on high till the juices from the mushrooms dries up. Tip in all the rice noodles and give everything a good mix. Mix in the sauce mixture and check the seasoning. Add salt and pepper powder if needed.
Now make a small circular space in the pan and add 1 tbsp oil. Break the eggs, sprinkle a pinch of salt over it and mix with your spatula. Once they start to set add 2 tbsp of the chili paste and give everything a good stir to coat everything well with the spices and sauces.
Finish with the rest of the bean sprouts and spring onions. Mix and serve steaming hot straight from the wok.
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