Monday, 2 July 2012

Oodles of Noodles

Food is an amazing memory maker.

The smells.

The sounds as it cooks.

It transports the time and place where you first ate a dish.

Or to a place where you ate with some special people.

Noodles always reminds me of the early days in Adelaide with my hubby.

To a little noodle bar in Rundle st.

We were students.

Not much cash.

We would indulge at our fave place.

The chef knew us.

We didn't even need to order.

Our food would arrive.

Our favourite things.

It was where we learnt about a lot of our fave Asian dishes- his Mee Reebus was da bomb.

When Pip posted her recipe last year I was beyond excited...I had forgotten all about it and I was instantly transported back to a very happy place.

His original Noodle bar no longer exists but he is still cooking in Adelaide.

We took our kids to meet him a couple of years ago.

He knew who we were, still knew our names.

Imagine.....over 20 years later.

There we were, the couple who were children themselves all that time ago waltzing in with their own brood of 5 children.

He just smiled as if he knew all along that this was what would happen for us.

It was lovely to see him again.

Such an important person in our life.

CHAR KWAY TEOW (from Terry Durack's 'Noodle'):
I first ate this Malaysian dish in Adelaide in that little Noodle bar I talked about in the post above.
This dish is on just about every 'cheap and cheerful' noodle place's menu.
But to get it right is not easy.
I think there are a lot of sub-par versions of it getting served up in a lot of places.
I am really fussy about it.
So many times I have ordered it and been disappointed.
There are as many versions of this recipe as there are spellings of it!
I love this version- it is very similar to the one I used to eat regularly all those years ago. I have made very minor adjustments.
I am soooo happy that I can make it at home!!
I was craving it and just had to have it on the weekend.
The trick with most noodle dishes is to have the wok so hot that it is smoking. It imparts a magical flavour that is known as "The breath of the Wok".
The wok is so hot that the food doesn't stick. 
In addition to this- DO NOT CROWD your wok- especially when frying the meat- you are much better frying off in small batches so as to keep the heat and then adding it all back in later. If not you will steam the food, not stir fry it & the whole dish will be gluggy and unappealing.
There is a  lot of wisdom in prepping all of your ingredients into little bowls so you can just go for it once the wok reaches the correct temperature.
Even seasoned cooks do this. The cooking process is very quick indeed, usually just a few minutes.
Stir frying takes a little practice- but once you develop the confidence to work at that extreme heat you will not look back. The results are spectacular.
These tips are true of any stir fry dishes, whether it be noodles or other sorts of stir fries- just remember: PREPARATION, HEAT & MOVEMENT.
I use a Le Creuset cast iron Wok as I think that it retains the heat really well.  But spent many years using a regular steel wok with good results too.
Yesterday I didn't have any seafood available so I just used 3 chinese Sausage (Lap Cheong) sliced fine and 500g chicken thigh cut into strips.
It would also be equally delicious without any meat and just lots of greens.  

  • 500g fresh rice sheet noodles 
  • 2 tblsp rice bran oil (you need to use a heat tolerant oil, I use Rice bran)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (to pour over prepped Noodles)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed with side of knife blade
  • 3 dried red chillies (you can omit these if you like and add chilli oil as it is served- I do this as not all of my kids are chilli fiends)
  • 12 green prawns, deveined and chopped
  • 200g squid, cleaned and sliced finely
  • 100g Char Siu (Chinese Red Roast pork) sliced fine
  • 1 lap Cheong, sliced fine
  • 2 cups of bean sprouts, rinsed well & drained
  • 2tblsp DARK soy
  • 2tblsp LIGHT soy
  • 1tblsp Oyster sauce
  • 2 organic eggs, beaten
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped.
Place noodles into a large bowl & pour boiling water over to cover noodles. Separate gently using a chopstick.
Now drain & pour over cold water to halt the cooking process.
Mix the sesame oil through the noodles to prevent sticking.
Set aside.

Heat remaining oil in wok to a high heat- the oil will start to smoke.
Add seafood- one type at a time, this way you keep the heat. Stir fry each lot for about 2-3 minutes, remove from wok & set aside.
Repeat with all types of meat allowing the wok to come back up to temperature in between each batch (about 30-40 seconds).

Add chilli & garlic and stir fry for about 30 seconds.
Now add all the meat back into the wok and stir fry for a further 3-4 minutes.
Add a little more oil if necessary.

Now add the noodles and sauces.
Stir fry for a minute or two.

Push noodles to one side of wok and add the beaten egg & spring onion.
Stir to distribute the egg.

Serve immediately.

I like to add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, fresh coriander, heaps more fresh bean sprouts & a good sprinkling of deep fried shallots for extra crunch and of course a good drizzling of Chilli oil......Y to the UM!!

Enjoy this gorgeous track while you prep all your ingredients....


  1. Oh Yum! Char Kway Teow is one of my favourites! (gosh I do say that a lot!) But it is. I've never made it before tho' - it's hard to find those noodles in Tasmania. But this recipe looks totes amazing! xx

  2. Lots of great tips here Ruth, this looks so delicious I will have to try!
    I looove rice noodles especially in pad sie eiuw. Yum!

  3. 'Noodles' himself!!!2 July 2012 at 12:15

    Ah the good ol' days of Happy Chef come to mind!!! Seem to remember some rally action at the nearby video parlour with the inimitable "Brocky" aka Bunzi at the wheel.
    Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Kway Teow delish...

    1. well of COURSE you are my fave Noodles of all. xxxxxxxxxxxxx

  4. Yummo, I can't wait to try and make this! A favourite. Thanks xxxx

  5. I gotta try this. The ones that ive tried, I would have expected some of the roasted chilli oil, whose name eludes me - the ones ive had are usually pretty hot.
    Greg xx

    1. My fave CHilli oil is Chiu Chow..and yes of course add as much or as little chilli as you like!
      I like to add lots!

  6. GG you are single handedly rekindling my love of Asian food! This is on this weeks menu xx

    1. :)
      I look forward to hearing how it goes Reannon!

  7. Oh sounds divine Ruth! I love the story you tell above, I can imagine him remembering you after 20 years!! How do you find the Le Creuset wok? I have been thinking about ditching the steel one and investing in a new one. Hope this week is a better one for you. xx j

  8. I love Char Kway Teow, I use an almost identical recipe except it has garlic chives and no oyster sauce. Will try that next time.

  9. This dish looks AMAZING. Great stir fry tips too.

  10. Emma's Garden Grows17 February 2014 at 18:31

    Oh man I LOVE char kway teo. When I lived in Carlton, it was my oh-so-humble opinion that the best char kway teo was at the tiny Carlton Noodle Cafe on Rathdowne St. Now they are gone and Emma is sad :(


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