penang-style stir-fried noodles | char kway teow

The autumnal weather in Sydney makes me long for the endless humid days of Asia. Flicking through the photographs we took in Malaysia last year, Christopher and I reminisce about all the fabulous food we ate there. It inspires us to walk down to Paddy’s market despite dark looming clouds and pick up a few ingredients for lunch.

Amongst the vegetables and fruit stalls there are bags of fresh flat rice noodles. We decide on lunch – smoky stir-fried char kway teow we ate in Penang. We pick up some fresh prawns and bean sprouts before returning to rustle up the noddles, serving it on a piece of banana leaf for added authenticity.


1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 small garlic clove, chopped
2 teaspoons chilli prawn paste
3 fresh prawns, shelled
150g cooked flat rice noodles
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
½ teaspoon fish sauce
1 egg, beaten
70g bean sprouts
1 spring onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Look for the fresh flat rice noodles in Chinese supermarkets. The noodles require separating from each other by gently pulling them apart. Prepare all the ingredients before any stir frying takes place as it all happens very quickly. Fry individual portion for best result.

Heat the wok on a high heat before adding the oil. If you are using a non-stick work then omit this step.

Drizzle the oil into the wok, remove from the heat and add the garlic. Toss for a few seconds, return to the heat and stir in the chilli paste. Cook for a few seconds until the chilli and garlic are fragrant, take care not to burn. Add the prawns and toss until opaque and just cooked, about a minute.

Remove the wok from the heat then add the noodles, both soy sauces and fish sauce. Return to the heat and toss the mixture keeping the contents moving constantly in the wok. Make a well in the middle of the noodles and add the egg. Stir until scrambled and mix with the noodles.

Finally add the bean sprouts and stir-fry for 30 seconds, they should still be crunchy. Check for seasoning and sprinkle with spring onions before serving. It’s as simple as that.

Serves: 1
Cooking time: 5 mins

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  1. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) on April 21, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    I enjoyed this dish many times during my visit to Penang. I think it’s second only in my affection to mee goreng, the Indian-style fried noodle dish.

    • Cho on April 22, 2009 at 12:29 am

      I do love mee goreng. Now I would like to try cooking that. Does anyone have a good recipe?

      – Cho

  2. Aye Su on April 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    Humm… char kway teow is one of my favourite dish. Thanks for the recipe Cho 🙂

  3. Su on April 22, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    I remember my mum used to add a little bit of rice vinegar to the dish before throwing the bean sprouts in. This is one of my favourite noodle dishes.

    • Cho on April 23, 2009 at 12:31 am

      Thanks for the tip Su.

  4. gobsmack'd on May 18, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Tried you recipe over the weekend. Worked out great, although I did add ‘larp-cheong’ into it, as I remember all the char-koay-teows in Msia I sampled included it; except for the halal versions, of course. Thanks

  5. Noeline on July 12, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Hi Ma Cho,

    thanks for all your good tips, I was wondering do you have any one selling your book and dvd in Perth?

  6. Dianne on August 21, 2009 at 2:43 am

    I live in Perth (Western Australia) and ordered mine online. I got two copies delivered and, to my delight, they arrived within a week (I was amazed!).

    It would be great to have a distributor here though as there are so many Burmese living in Perth… and I feel like most are relations of mine!

    Cho, Have you thought about selling your book through ‘Borders’ bookstores?

    • Cho on September 4, 2009 at 7:53 am

      Hi Dianne
      I am on the look-out for an Australian distributor. It would be fantastic to attract the likes of Borders to stock the book 🙂 Will keep you posted.

      – Cho

  7. Bali Tour on January 23, 2015 at 6:00 am

    This is great article
    Thank you for the recipe
    I will try to cook

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