* Do not scale this recipe up. To scale up, cook more batches. However, it can be scaled down.
** See Note 7 for suggestions for alternative add ins.
1. Noodles: Char Kway Teow ("CKT") is made with wide, flat fresh noodles, available in the refrigerated section of Asian grocery stores and some supermarkets in the fridge section (Harris Farms in Australia). They are about 1.5 - 2 cm / 3/5 - 4/5" wide, sold in plastic packets. They require precise handling to prepare and cook, otherwise you'll end up with a bowl full of noodles broken into a gazillion pieces, so please follow the recipe directions.
Other methods to warm and loosen noodles: leave noodles out of fridge overnight then place in colander under running warm tap water and gently loosen with fingers. Or submerge leak proof packet in warm water until warm and pliable.
DO NOT soak in boiling water or cook in boiling water (they fall apart). Do not attempt to separate or cook cold noodles If you try this recipe with dried wide rice noodles, expect high noodle breakage.
If you only have access to dried rice noodles, I recommend using ones maximum 0.5cm / 1/5" thick (dried) as these hold up to wok tossing better. See further info in post about rice noodle breakage. Use 200g / 7 oz dried noodles.
2. Lard is pork fat and it adds flavour to this dish because fat = flavour! It's sold alongside butter at supermarkets in Australia (Coles, Woolies. IGA), otherwise, just use more oil.
3. Chinese Sausage
- Found in the Asian aisle at large supermarkets (Coles, Woolies) or Asian stores. It's not refrigerated, it's vac packed, about 13cm / 5" long, 1.5cm / 1/2" wide. Tastes like chorizo but it's sweet, not spicy, and has an Asian-y flavour. It's an essential part of the CKT experience. Use leftover in fried rice
, it's amazing, or in place of Char Siu in Singapore Noodles
. It caramelises quickly because of the sugar so be mindful of that. If packet says to boil 15 minutes - ignore this. When sliced and pan fried, it takes 60 seconds to be caramelised, snackable perfection.
4. Fried Fish Cake
- Found in the fridge at Asian stores. Use leftovers in Chinese Soup
or Chinese Corn Soup
. Can be substituted with sliced Asian fish balls sold at supermarkets.
5. Garlic Chives - Looks like blade of grass, tastes like garlicky chives. Not essential - sub with normal chives or finely sliced green onions on the diagonal, or even leave out.
6. The Sauces (see photo in post, can get all at supermarkets in Australia):
* Soy Sauces - you need the dark soy sauce here for flavour, can't be substituted. The light soy sauce can be substituted with all purpose soy sauce but do not use more dark soy sauce (it will overwhelm the dish).
* Kecap Manis is also known as sweet soy sauce. The consistency is more like maple syrup rather than water.
7. Add in alternatives:
Chopped chicken thighs instead of shrimp/prawns, sliced firm tofu instead of fish cakes (use leftover for Pad Thai
!), and Char Siu
(Chinese BBQ Pork) or bacon for Chinese Sausage (maple cured would be closest). It won't be traditional CKT - but it will still be super tasty!
8. Recipe Sources: See in post for how this recipe was developed!
9. Serves 2 very generously, or 3 sensible servings. Nutrition assumes 3 servings. I've had to use some estimations here because nutrition information on some ingredients are not readily available in the software I use to calculate nutrition. Reduce sodium by using low sodium soy sauce, and less Chinese sausage (slice it super thinly, or chop into small batons to make go further).