Char kuay teow

Char kuay teow

Char Kway Teow is a classic street food from Singapore and Malaysia. Spicy, smoky noodles and a good chilli kick – delicious!

Preparation time
less than 30 mins

Cooking time
less than 10 mins

Serves 4

By Julie Lin
From Saturday Kitchen


For the simple sambal

  • 50g/1¾oz dry chillies, sliced lengthways and deseeded
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled
  • 1 tbsp shrimp paste
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

For the noodles

  • 450g/1lb fresh wide rice noodles (or 225g/8oz dried)
  • 2 Chinese cured sausage, sliced diagonally
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp crushed garlic (about 10 cloves)
  • 12 prawns, peeled, head removed and deveined
  • 4 ready-made Thai fish cakes, sliced
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • 10 fresh garlic chives, cut into 5cm/2in pieces
  • 2 large free-range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 200g/7oz beansprouts
  • banana leaf, to serve (optional)

For the char kuay teow sauce

  • 2½ tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2½ tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp kecap manis
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce


  1. To make the simple sambal, begin by soaking the chilis in hot water for 30 minutes. Then drain and add to a food processor along with the onion, garlic, ginger and shrimp paste, and 250ml/9fl oz water. Blend into a smooth paste.

  2. Heat a splash of vegetable oil in a wok or pan over a medium heat. Add the paste to the pan and cook for 15–20 minutes until it thickens. Be cautious of splattering and consider using an oil splash guard. Stir the mixture occasionally.

  3. Add the lemon juice, coconut sugar and salt to the sambal and mix well. Continue cooking for a further 1–2 minutes then take off the heat and set aside.

  4. If you’re using dried noodles, begin by soaking the noodles in hot water for about 45 minutes until they are completely soft. Drain once they are ready.

  5. In the meantime, to make the char kuay teow sauce, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

  6. To make the noodles, place a wok over a medium-low heat and gently cook the Chinese sausage until the fats are released – this should take around 2 minutes. Remove the Chinese sausage from the wok and set aside, leaving behind the fat.

  7. Add 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil to the wok along with the garlic, prawns and fish cakes and fry until fragrant.

  8. Turn the heat up to high, then add the Shaoxing rice wine.

  9. Continue to move the ingredients around the wok and then add in the noodles. Fold them into the other ingredients and toss through 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil. Move everything into the middle of the wok and pour over the char kuay teow sauce, then add an extra 1 tbsp of oil.

  10. Now add the garlic chives. Mix in thoroughly but don’t break up the noodles.

  11. While the noodles are frying, push everything to the sides of the wok to make some space in the middle. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil with the slightly beaten egg. Stir for around for 10–15 seconds to break it up.

  12. Now gently mix the egg through everything and fold the beansprouts into the mixture. The key with char kuay teow is to ensure it isn’t dry – if it is, then add a bit of water.

  13. Top the noodles with 3 tablespoons of the simple sambal chilli paste and serve piping hot on a banana leaf, if using.

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