STB called char kway teow a Teochew inspired dish. Penang folks will jumped in anger, Hokkien friends will raise in protest. Nevertheless, it is a National Dish of Singapore that would warm the cockles of any Singaporean heart.
Don’t flame me, this is my version – recorded for my princess to follow.
Ingredients (for one-two pax)
- 200g kway teow (flat rice noodles) (That’s 500g of kway teow in the picture, enough for 4 pax on its own, remember you will be adding noodles)
- 50g yellow noodles
- 70g caixin vegetables
- 70g fish cakes, sliced diagonally
- 1 Chinese sausage, sliced diagonally
- 50g cockles + 3 tbsp cockles juice (picture show 1kg of cockles with shells shucked into a canteen, around 300g there)
- 50g beansprouts
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp deep fried diced pork lard
- 1 tbsp dark soya sauce
- 2½ tbsp sweet soya sauce (kecap manis)
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- some cooking oil (or oil from processing the pork lard is best)
Processing the “hum”
No CKT can do without “hum” – wrongly called cockles because technically they are clams. After washing, pry open cockles shell with a small sharp knife and remove the cockles, the juice is the “blood” of the cockles. Add some water if it’s not enough to make up the quantity.
Remember, cockles are highly perishable and with the heat and humidity of our city, high vulnerable to bacteria grow. So I suggest not to keep them out in the open for too long. Put some ice and salt (to lower the temperature) while you are harvesting the cockles.
- Prepare all the ingredients as required. Separate the kway teow and yellow noodles first if they are all lumped together and place them on a large flat plate.
- Add in 1 tbsp of the pork lard oil into a large wok. Add in the Chinese sausage and minced garlic with the deep fried pork lard and stir fried until aromatic. Most recipe adds the sausage with the fish cake later in the process, but I like to use Hong Kong hand-made sausage that need a bit of heating to release the fragrance and umami.
- Turn to high heat and add in the kway teow and yellow noodles. Add in the dark soya sauce, fish sauce and kecap manis. This is the wok hei step so you will need to toss the noodles rapidly for even caramelisation of the sauces.
- Add in the fishcakes, caixin and beansprouts. Stir to mix well.
- Make a well in the middle of the noodles and add in the egg. Stir until the egg is dried up. If you like the CKT wet, add water only after the egg is cooked, not before of you get egg-knocked soup.
- Lastly add in the cockles and cockles juice (more if you like wet CKT). Stir briefly for around 15 secs to mix well (if you prefer more raw cockles, you can reduce the time). Off the flame immediately.
- Serve hot immediately.
- It’s not economical to heat up a small quantity of oil for 1 tbsp of pork lard. Hence, I prepared more and keep the rest for future use or other dishes.
- Adjust the sweet soya sauce (kecap manis) according to your preference of sweetness for the dish.
- You can reduce the time to cook the cockles if you prefer them to be more raw.
For those who can’t be bothered, here’s some exemplary examples of CKT in Singapore.