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)
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Heat 1 TBSP oil in a wok over high heat and cook chicken until browned on both sides, about 4 minutes. Remove chicken.
- 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.
- 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.
- Move noodles to one side of wok and add eggs, cook and scramble then mix in with noodles.
- 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.