Posts Tagged ‘char kueh teow’

11th November is a National Holiday in Belgium and France to commemorate the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of WWI. This took place at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in the year 1918. Armistice Day is how it’s called in Belgium and France, which coincides with Remembrance Day in Britain and Commonweath countries and Veterans Day in the USA. 

97 years later … 7 girls (or nearly 7) decided to get together on 11/11 at around 11 …

You have probably read about 3 of the girls in a post I have written in 2010 in “Murphy’s Law or was it just …?” and in 2012 on “The MasterChef in X, C and A …” and a more recent write-up, “Coconut Pandan Chiffon Cake – First Successful Attempt”

Since then, our group has grown to 7, including myself. It is not easy to assemble all 7 girls at one time, since almost all of us are working/ living at different locations in Belgium and Germany. Our plans to meet up were usually confined to a weekday lunch during lunch break, and that spelled QUICK lunch! We would love to have a LAZY lunch at our own LAZY pace. Weekends can be tough to meet as well because we all have our own lives to lead!

And by the way, 11th November was a Wednesday and a National Holiday in Belgium … so we decided to meet, all 7 of us.

Erm… me think it was C who started the ball rolling that time round – a week before 11/11.

C : Anyone wants to watch Crimson Peak? Let’s all meet, please..!

G : Me! I’m free on 11/11

X : Count me in

AO : Oh no, not Crimson Peak… I have a very strong imagination … I pass, but if you girls are meeting in Antwerp, let’s lunch at DJL..

AS : Yes for Crimson Peak and DJL

O : I’ll let you girls know my availability later ..

X : Let’s watch Spectre then to have a full quorum

AO : No Bond movie for me please. I usually sleep watching a Bond movie … You girls go ahead with CP after we lunch at DJL. I’ll drive home …

Me : I’m not a fan of 007, too. The movie’s really quite predictable .. How about Martian? LOVE Matt Damon and heard the movie’s brilliant!

G : Martian is EXCELLENT, but I’ve seen it already. We can all watch different movies when we are at the Cinema. I’ve done that with other friends …

AO : Oh, I love Matt Damon!

C : No Bond for me. After lunch, I’ll drive home …

AS : No Martian for me, please! I’ve watched it already with hubs and it was brilliant!

Me : Excellent! Brilliant! Must watch lor…

G : Oops…. Timing issues. 

O : Ooops … I wish I could make it with you girls but hubby has to work on 11/11 and no one’s taking care of my boy. So sorry ladies 😦

Oopsie! …. now which movie did we all agree to watch OR did we get to watch a movie at all? That’s the Question!!

Da Jia Le (DJL)

11/11 arrived and some of us car-pooled. X came to my house to pick me up first and then to another location to pick up G and AS. C was on her way to the resto and AO just left her house. Well, at least lunching at DJL was unanimously agreed upon, and besides, it was an all-girls day out! No hubbies and kids tagging along. Yay!

AO has frequented DJL and has shared some of her ‘eating spree’ photos there with us on WhatsApp. The dishes looked mouth-wateringly amazing, which reminded us of foods we could get easily back in Kuching or elsewhere in Malaysia.

I was told DJL was opened for business not too long ago. It’s a pretty small resto in the heart of China Town, Antwerp. The teeny weeny resto can accommodate less than 30 people at one time, hence we made sure that we could secure a table for 6 on 11/11. Reservation was key.

Whoever came first went straight to the resto and it happened to be C! Then X, G, AS and I arrived and finally AO. A pity O could not join us. Hopefully, we could ALL make it another time *wink*

The chef of DJL happened to be a Malaysian, of Cantonese origin who hailed from Kuala Lumpur. He spoke mostly Cantonese and some Mandarin. His wife was a little bit more linguistic as she tried her best to speak Dutch, with the Dutch-speaking patrons (I eavesdropped, btw). We have pre-ordered our dishes which were off the normal Menu card. That way, we were guaranteed of the authenticity of the dishes.

In hindsight, the one dish that put a BIG smile on my face was the Cantonese-style Yuen Yong Noodles (yin-yang rice noodles). Cryptically, that noodle dish says a lot about us girls – in relation to the choice of movie we had to make. The yin-yang noodle dish is a combination of 2 types of rice noodles, ie kueh teow (flat rice noodle) and bee hoon (rice vermicelli). If one can’t decide on kueh teow or bee hoon, then this is the PERFECT dish! And the name of this dish is downright perky. LOL!

  

Besides the Cantonese-style yin yang rice noodles, we had the delectable Char Kueh Teow, Loh Ark, Sio Bak and Kangkong char belacan. If you are wondering why there’re no English translations, well, those dishes are off the normal Menu card, remember? 🙂

  

The Char Kueh Teow was especially good as we had to order a second plate. As you can see, we licked our platters (almost) clean!

  
 

Now, did we or did we not watch a movie after lunch?

THAT is the Question!

Well, we did not plan to drive 130km (to and from home to Antwerp) just to eat! For goodness sake, it was a holiday and it was the only day we could meet – nearly all of us – without any cling-ons 😉

And the conclusion?

We came out of the cinema humming to the tune of Sam Smith’s Writing’s On The Wall. So here we were, standing amidst the walls of the cinema complex … with mixed feelings.

  
 

Watching the movie was like reading a Marvel comic strip. How could he have 2 soft landings? A sofa and a net waiting for him out of the blue?  He is as immortal as the villain. Ah well, it was just a movie…

Anyway, the crux of the day was having good fellowship, a feeling of comradeship and girly talk from 11 am until 7pm.

Oh by the way, X, your photo was picked as the Choice Photo Award on my blog ~ this post, at least! Kam sia! 😉



Until the next time, girls! 

Ciao!

 

 

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

th_littlethumbups1-1

 

Have a great day.  Enjoy!

Cheers!

Last Sunday, I invited some friends for a reunion lunch at my place. These friends are no ordinary friends. The first coincidence is that all 4 of us came from Kuching, went to the same school or in the vicinity, and moved to Belgium to be with our lo kung 😀 . The second coincidence is that some members of my family know the family of my girlfriends. What can I say?  We are living in a darn small world. LOL!

Our living abroad did not deter us in reliving the deeply rooted Malaysian tradition of communal dining, in other words, a potluck lunch!  We made this potluck lunch a wee bit different than the norm, as my friends had to exhibit the “cordon bleu” or the MasterChef in herself at nearly à la minute or at real time in my kitchen.

X’s Popiah

I knew X the longest. Believe you me, X and I went to the same school in Kuching and yet we did not know each other back then! I only got to know her a year or two after moving to Belgium, somewhere in 1996 or early 1997. We were being introduced by another Malaysian friend, who hailed from Penang! When I got to know X, I discovered that her uncles were my late dad’s buddies on the badminton court. Didn’t I say, it’s a small world after all?

Last Sunday, X volunteered to make popiah as our starter. No one seemed to have breakfast that Sunday morning, so you can imagine eleven hungry tummies at noon time. We were truly famished. Like vultures waiting for their prey.  LOL!

You know, X had always told us that she can’t cook. Oh yeah?  I have this to say, “still waters run deep on your cooking ability, X”! With a little bit of “push”, I’m pretty sure it has given you an extra boost to go beyond your hidden culinary skill. Your two guys have nothing but praises on your recent food display 😉

Ooops…..I realized that I had completely forgotten to take a picture of you in action, my dear friend.  The freshly rolled popiah came and went in the blink of an eye. To give the readers an idea how your popiah would have looked like, I kept some pictures of the popiah I made some time ago. The filling may be different, but what the heck, a popiah is a popiah is a popiah. Didn’t we lick our platters clean? They were great 😉

C’s Char Kway Teow

I met C at one of the festive events held at the residence of the Malaysian ambassador to Belgium. That was many moons ago. 2000? She had her firstborn at the time. It was funny how I got to know C.  It was via my younger sister, who was in Belgium for a visit. I brought my sister to the Malaysian event and I remembered my sister and C screaming out each others’ names in unison, “What are you doing in Belgium?!” OMG….another small world!

C has an aura of mystery surround her, whose love for globetrotting can only be our wishful thoughts. I can only exclaim: “Geez, how can you have so many vacation days in a year, my friend?” In her last trip to Burma (officially named Myanmar), she brought back with her 5 kg of Burmese garlic! I was wondering how she got through customs without a hitch. LOL!

C conjured a spectacular char kway teow feat in my Ken Hom’s wok, which kept wobbling incessantly on my infrared stove. Mmmmm….. woks should remain where they are best – on gas stove.

Gas stove or not, C managed to whip up an amazing plate of homemade char kway teow with the scented Burmese garlic à la minute, live in my kitchen! And oh yes, I didn’t mind humpty dumpty having a great fall on my kitchen floor. Ha ha ha!

A’s Teh Tarik, 3-layered tea and iced lemon tea

I was introduced to A via X, who happened to be connected to her by kinship, or through a marriage in their extended family.

By the way, I’m also connected to A through a marriage between her uncle and my aunt. Furthermore, A went to the same school with one of my cousins!  Isn’t that amazing?

A has a new title recently.  She’s called ‘mama’ less than 3 months ago.  A delivered her son on her own – literally speaking.  It was just amazing and chapeau to you, my dear! I sensed a super strong alliance between mother and son. KF is so adorable.

We all know A is a wonderful cook. I wasn’t expecting A to bring a potluck as I can understand it was not easy being a new mama for the first time. I know how it is, as I’ve gone through that stage. Whew….thank God, it’s over now for me 😀

Where there’s food, there’s got to be beverage. A handled that department pretty well. She churned out one type of tea beverage to another. I tried all the 3 types and they were great.  As I eat and drink almost anything, I appreciated what A had executed.

Oh by the way, A, forget about the jug.  I didn’t even know I had the jug until we moved house and started unpacking.  It has been un-noticed for more than a decade, anyway 😉

My turn

There were a few reasons why we met at my place.  We just moved house during the Christmas week last year, hence, the girls were curious, wanting to view our new house. Another reason was the potluck must include Sarawak’s signature dish,  the irresistible Sarawak Laksa. That’s right; yours truly had to accomplish the task. On top of that, I also made beef rendang, ngo hiang and bak kut teh.  Then of course, meeting  A’s newborn baby and finally, just to meet and speak the same language!

We accomplished our mission with no problem at all, except that A and C had to leave earlier than I had wanted them to.  The question then was; who’s going to start and finish the dessert?  Frankly speaking, we were pretty stuffed that day, and being Asians, desserts often take backstage. After all, I (just) bought a cake and some cookies, so girls, you didn’t miss anything  😉

The best transformed leftover lunch ever

I had some leftovers left of the ngo hiang to be recycled the next day, which I sliced at an angle, then I pan-fried them. This modified starter was a winner with the guys.

For the main course, I transformed the bak kut teh into lo bak kut, by adding some 5-spiced powder and boiled eggs. It was yummilicious for a re-cycled soup, I must say.

For dessert, I used the tea dust left by A and made a pot of teh tarik, served with some Delacre choc butter cookies. OMG…. what a sin 😛

Introducing the chefs

Friendship isn’t about whom you have known the longest. It’s about who came, and never left your side….

Here’s a song to all my friends everywhere. Happy listening.

Cheers and take care!

For related posts, you may want to check out:  Murphy’s Law, or was it just…..? and Building Castles in the Sand