Aah, Billy at A Table For Two has a totally nomlicious post up for Merdeka Day, Secret life of Street Food in Malaysia, go check it out to see what I'm thinking about when I say 'I love Malaysian kuih.' You have to scroll past the meaty bits, but oh it is worth it for the kuih, it is.
Maybe there will be another post later with sweets for Merdeka Day (I bought a whole bunch of bananas in preparation), but for now I want to talk about char kueh teow.
Don't be fooled by those recipes which might say to use lots of greens, lots of veggies. This is a very simple dish, the flavours are very straight forward and come mostly from the soy sauce and the chili, the beauty of this hawker favourite is in the kueh teow noodles, so there is no need to overwhelm with lots of veggies. A packet of noodles, some chilis, some bean shoots, a little tofu, this is all that is necessary. And a banana leaf, if you've got one, on which to plate it. You can add some carrot (julienned), or a little bit of gailan (not 'and'), but don't go over the top.
char kueh teow
Things about cooking char kueh teow: you need a wok, and the wok needs to be very hot. you will burn some of the noodles to the wok, and this is part of the process. do not double this recipe - if you go for much more noodles than this, it doesn't really work. Better instead to cook two lots of these portions.
500 grams of fresh kueh teow noodles
2 or 3 red chillis, chopped into rounds
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tablespoons dark soy
2-3 tablespoons light soy
300ish grams firm tofu
lots of beanshoots (two cups at least), tails off
a little bit of spring onion/scallion
Gently separate the noodles, and soak in warm water for three or four minutes, then drain. Don't oversoak them, or they'll fall apart when cooking.
In a hot wok, add a tablespoon or two of oil (preferably peanut), then the garlic and chilli. Add the carrot at this time if you're adding it. Fry for a minute, then add the noodles, as well as the dark and light soy. Toss the sauce and the pepper through the noodles. Leave to fry for a few minutes, flipping as necessary. Make sure the soy sauce has been evenly mixed through - there should be no white noodles left. Crush the tofu and, having pushed the noodles to one side, add the tofu, then toss through.
Fry for a few more minutes. During this time, the noodles will start to stick to the wok - unless they're burning, resist the temptation to add more liquid. Char kueh teow is very dry, and the charring is part of its deliciousness.
Finally, add the spring onion (chopped) and the bean shoots, and fold the noodles over the top. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
This serves four.
I am submitting this for the It's a Vegan World: Malaysia event.