I bought a small bag of bean sprouts the other day and only remembered of it’s existence in my fridge and the fact that it doesn’t last long in the fridge, today, which reminded me of that funny incident when Halif bought a 1 kg bag of bean sprouts thinking we could freeze it and we ended up bean sprout overdosed for the whole week when we found out we couldn’t freeze it lol. No complaints though, he loves bean sprouts! Probably were some of his best mistakes.
Normally, fresh bean sprouts from the store can only stay fresh for about 3 days in the fridge. Of course it’s best to buy it the day before or the day you want to use it but if you need it to last longer in the fridge and stay crunchy for a little bit longer, transfer it into a bowl and fill it in with cold water. Store the bowl in the fridge and it can last for about a week. Change the water daily.
I decided to make some char kuey teow today with the bean sprouts for lunch. Initially, I didn’t want to post it here since, if you noticed, the char kuey teow in the picture isn’t quite complete but Halif pushed me into photographing it (when I was so hungry and only wanted to pig out) and posting it here. I didn’t have prawns, preserved turnip and fresh red chili peppers on hand and I only had thin flat rice noodles but I thought it was almost spot on despite the absence of these vital ingredients and wok hei which I think is quite the signature taste for char kuey teow or any chinese stir-fry for that matter but unless you have a high-temperature burner/gas stove and a well-seasoned carbon steel or cast iron wok, wok hei is unachievable at home, sadly. We’ll just hope that someday someone would come up with liquid wok hei the same way they came up with liquid smoke. That would be revolutionary!
(adapted from Rasa Malaysia)
Halal Char Kuey Teow
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 tsp preserved turnip (chai poh), finely chopped, optional
- Some fish balls/cakes , sliced
- 8 prawns, peeled & deveined
- 250 grams wide flat rice noodles, dried or fresh
- 3 eggs
- Some chinese chives, cut into 2-inch lengths
- Some bean sprouts
- 28 grams dried red chili peppers, soaked
- 2 fresh red chili peppers
- 1/4 onion
- A small knob of shrimp paste (belacan), optional
- Some salt
- Some oil
- 4 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp thick sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp fish sauce
- 1/2 tsp salt
- A dash of white pepper
Peel and devein prawns and soak in icy cold water plus 2 tbsp of sugar for 30 mins.
Meanwhile, prepare the noodles (if using dried noodles) by submerging in boiling water until opaque but not too soft (about 3 minutes) (see note 5). Quickly rinse with cold water and set aside.
Prepare the chili paste by soaking dried red chili peppers in hot water until it softens and grind it together with the other ingredients under Chili Paste in a food processor. Set aside.
Combine all the ingredients under Stir-fry Sauce in a bowl and set aside.
Heat up some oil in a wok to medium heat and toss in the garlic & preserved turnip.
Add in 2 tbsp chili paste (or more if you like) and continue stirring until the red colour darkens and the oil separates.
Crank up the heat to high and add in fish balls/cakes and prawns.
Toss in the noodles and drizzle the Stir-fry Sauce over the noodles and stir evenly.
Push the noodles aside and break the eggs. Do not scramble yet, flip the noodles onto the eggs and let it cook and lightly charred before flipping and tossing to combine.
Add in chinese chives and bean sprouts. Fold the noodles over and mix well. Serve immediately with chopped bird's eye chilis in light soy sauce (cili potong) if preferred.
- You cannot get wok hei from a non-stick wok. Carbon steel and cast iron woks (plus very high heat) are the best at giving off that illusive wok hei taste.
- Some say you cannot make Char Kuey Teow without lap cheong (chinese sausages) but this is the halal version of Char Kuey Teow for those who cannot eat pork.
- If you're vegan or vegetarian, replace fish balls/cakes with sliced tofu. Replace egg with scrambled tofu.
- You can keep the leftover chili paste in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze for up to a month. The chili paste can be used in other recipes as well.
- I've tried just soaking the dried noodles in both cold and hot water as per the instructions on the package but it always ends up too stiff. Boiling or blanching is the best method for me.