Basic Char Kway Teow (Stir-Fried Flat Rice Noodles) – Less is more!

Posted: March 19, 2014 in Asian, Chinese, Cook Your Books, Little Thumbs Up!, Malaysian, Noodles, Savoury
Tags: , , ,

Char Kway Teow is Hokkien and literally translated as “stir-fried rice cake strips”.  This dish is omnipresent in Malaysia as well as Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei.

There are many versions to this dish, but the most popular connotation linking to this dish is the one dubbed as Penang Char Kway Teow. Even in Hong Kong, these stir-fried noodles are often known as Penang Char Kway Teow, indicating the dish’s origin.

I haven’t been to Penang in a long, long while; hence, my memory of an equally good plate of Char Kway Teow was my last trip home to Kuching in 2008! I made sure that every trip home would include stopovers at my family’s favourite Char Kway Teow hawker stall 😀

When the craving gets tough…

It has been almost 6 years since my last trip home!! Man, how time flies… Yes, I’m crazy craving for foods I knew and grew up eating.

The closest platter of Char Kway Teow I could get here in Belgium is the Thai version of Pad See Ew, meaning fried (with) soy sauce.

1a. CKT_Pad See Ew11b. CKT_Pad See Ew2

These were the Thai Pad See Ew variations I have had in Belgium, BUT, they were not the same as the Malaysian or Singaporean Char Kway Teow 😦

And then – out of the blue – one fine day, a girlfriend was asking if I wanted fresh flat rice noodles!  Oh yes, bring ‘em over friend.  I knew immediately what I could conjure from those oodles of noodles 😀

I am aware we could use the store-bought pre-packed dried rice noodles, but the fresh ones are oh, so delicious.  It’s quite different, most certainly.

2. CKT_fresh noodles

Armed with the 2 packets of the fresh flat rice noodles, I went in search for a hawker style Char Kway Teow recipe.  I found the exact recipe I wanted in a little cookbook called “Hawker’s Delight – A guide to Malaysia & Singapore hawkers’ food

3. CKT_Hawker's Delight

Sorry for the foggy picture because I was totally blurred and smitten with my platter 😉

The day I got the fresh flat rice noodles, I cooked my first plate (ever) of Char Kway Teow in Belgium. As there are many versions to this dish, I stuck to the basics, and most of all, using ingredients I had in my kitchen larder and refrigerator rather than explicitly replicating the entire recipe. I could if I wanted to, but my craving got the better of me. I did not rush to the supermarket to buy all the ingredients but remained loyal to the approach of a rather good plate of Char Kway Teow, I must say 😉

By the way, here’s how my first plate of Char Kway Teow turned out…

4. CKT_first plate

Absolutely delish!

Ingredients –
Serves 4-5
  • 600g Kway Teow or flat rice noodles (I took a handful per plate x 4. Personally, the CKT tastes better cooked in smaller portions)
  • 300g Medium size prawns – shelled and deveined (I used 4-5 prawns per plate per person, shelled and deveined but leaving only the tails intact)
  • 250g Oyster or cockles – boiled and shelled (I did not have these but used fishballs in lieu)
  • 250g Squids (I will use these the next time)
  • 200g Chicken, beef or pork – cut thinly (I did not use meat. I made seafood CKT)
  • 300g Bean sprouts (I will use these the next time)
  • 12 Stalks of chives – cut into 2cm length (I used spring onions, but will use chives the next time)
  • 2 Stalks of chai sim or sawi (bok choi) – cut into 3cm length
  • 3 Eggs

Pounded ingredients –

  • 2 Fresh red chillies
  • 6 Cloves garlic (I used quite a lot – whole knob!)

Seasoning –

  • 1 Tbsp light soy sauce, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp dark soy sauce for the colour
  • I also added some white vinegar (this was not in the recipe)

Some water

For marinating the meat and seafood – leave for about 15 minutes

  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp pepper

3 Tbsp cooking oil

Method –

  1. Heat oil in a smoking hot wok. Fry pounded ingredients until fragrant.
  2. Add seasoned prawns or meat strips and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add some water (if necessary), then followed by squids, cockles or fishballs.
  3. Increase heat and stir fry for 3 minutes.
  4. Pour in the soy sauces, bean sprouts, chai sim, chives (or spring onions). Fry and mix well.  Crack the eggs and keep stirring. Finally, add in the flat rice noodles.
  5. Stir and toast thoroughly for 2-3 minutes
  6. Taste for seasoning and colour before plating up

I like my CKT quite dark and garlicky 😉

They were so addictive that I cooked more that evening.  My guys lurve their CKT, albeit home cooked on an electric stove. Ha ha ha…

I think I have improved in the colour and taste the second time around.  LOVE it!!

5a. CKT_plates

5b. CKT_closed up

I realised I have not been linking up to CYB in a long time.  Joyce, I hope my quick, simple and basic hawker-style Char Kway Teow will do justice on your CYB blog-hop page ;-).  So here I am linking my CKT to Cook-Your-Books#10 hosted by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours

Cook Your Books

As prawn is one of the mainstays of the CKT recipe, I’m also linking this post to Little Thumbs up with the March theme ingredient using “PRAWNS organised by Doreen from my little favourite DIY and Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and hosted by Food Playground



Have a great day.  Enjoy!


  1. Your plate of char kway teow looks delicious! I like it with prawns and cockles too, instead of chicken meat. The common style CKT uses prawns, cockles and slices of lap cheong. I have my favourite CKT hawker stall, and he knows what I want. No eggs, more taugeh, sang seeham, and kah lat!! Haha! Adding extra chili is a must for me!
    I hope that you can get your fix of fresh kway teow every now and then from your kind friend!
    Thanks for linking with CYB!

  2. Nasifriet says:

    Thanks, Joyce.
    I absolutely agree with you that we all have our own favourite CKT hawker stall. There are so many variations, isn’t it?

    Yes I prefer the seafood CKT – prawns, squids, cockles. No meat. A cracked egg and lots of taugeh stir fried over smoking hot wok😄. Not sure abt lap cheong tho’. Anyway it’s a personal taste, right? If there’s one hawker food I miss, it’s gotta be CKT!!

  3. Doreen/mui says:

    Wow! We love, love, love Char Kway Toew too. Yes, must be the seafood type with prawn, squids and cockles.
    Yours looks delicious, how I wish I can have your plate …lol
    Thanks for sharing your favourite to LTU!

  4. Nasifriet says:

    Thanks! This is one of the dishes that makes me homesick. I’m quite sure this will be one of the first dishes I’ll go for when I’m back in Kch, besides the Sarawak laksa, kolo mee, Lui cha and lots more 😉.

  5. Doreen/mui says:

    Hi Nasifriet,
    You miss Lui Cha!! My fil always home made our own Lui Cha.
    He planted the herbs needed for Lui Cha in our backyard.
    Hope you can have all the Sarawak food you miss soon.

    Have a pleasant week ahead.

  6. Nasifriet says:

    Yes, I miss Lui Cha, one of my favs! 😄. Simple food but very healthy…. I know you are Hakka, hence I’m sure you hv a good recipe for Lui Cha, right? 😉.

  7. Zoe says:

    I can imagine… the char kway teow in Belgium is customized to suit the taste of most Europeans. It is the same in Melbourne but most of the Singapore / Malaysian restaurants here have improved a lot these days. Having said that, nothing beats our home cooked ones which is the closest to what we always eat and like.


  8. Nasifriet says:

    Well said Zoe👍

    That’s why if I craved for an authentic plate from home, I’d make it myself rather than sulk and complain the resto’s dishes 😜

    I admire your enormous talent in baking and cooking… 😉

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