Char Koay Teow

Penang, Malaysia needs to be high on the bucket list of any foodie. The unique mix of Chinese, Thai, Indian, and Indonesian cuisines is a circus for the senses, and no single dish captures this vibrancy more than Char Koay Teow, a stir fried noodle dish traditionally cooked in hawker stalls with a God-knows-how old wok over charcoal. This version captures the bold flavors and textures pretty well for a home cook.


  • 1 chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • 6 oz dried rice noodles
  • 2 small shallot, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 5 dried red chiles (Japonese, arbol both work)
  • 2 fresh red chiles (such as Fresno)
  • 1/2 bunch Chinese chives, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • handful of bean sprouts
  • 5-10 thin slices of Chinese sausage (Lap Cheong)
  • 1 TBSP light soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup dried shrimp, ground in spice grinder
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil (such as avocado or grapeseed)


  1. Make chile paste…combine chiles, 1 shallot, and 2 garlic cloves in a food processor or mortar and pestle, breaking down until a homogenous paste has formed. Set aside and save 1/2 for another use.
  2. Marinate chicken…comibine chicken, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp ground white pepper, and 1 tsp cornstarch and toss until coated. Mix with 1 TBSP soy sauce (light or dark work, but I prefer light for this step).
  3. Cover noodles with very hot (but not boiling) water and let rest for 10 minutes or according to package instructions…you still want a little bit of al dente texture.
  4. Prepare mise en place for sausage, shrimp powder, remaining shallot and 2 garlic cloves, chives, and beaten eggs. Mix 1 TBSP dark soy sauce, 1 TBSP light soy sauce, and 1 tsp fish sauce.
  5. Heat 1 TBSP oil in a wok over high heat and cook chicken until browned on both sides, about 4 minutes. Remove chicken.
  6. Add more oil and add shallot to wok, cooking over high heat for 2 minutes. Add shrimp powder and cook for 1 minute or until golden brown. Add garlic and chile paste and stir fry for 30 secs.
  7. Add chinese sausage to the wok and stir fry for 1 minute, then add noodles and soy sauce mixture and stir everything to combine, cooking and stir frying for 3-4 minutes.
  8. Move noodles to one side of wok and add eggs, cook and scramble then mix in with noodles.
  9. Add chicken, chives, and bean sprouts to wok and stir everything for another 1-2 minutes over high heat. Transfer to large bowl then serve on plates. Garnish with lime and/or more herbs and chopped peanuts.

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