Chefs' Recipes

Tony Tan's char kway teow

Char kway teow is a perennial Malaysian favourite for a reason. Tony Tan shows us how it's done.

By Tony Tan
  • 10 mins preparation
  • 10 mins cooking plus soaking
  • Serves 2 - 4
  • Print
"A popular street food, the best char kway teow is smoky and laced with lard, Chinese sausage and prawns," says Tan. "Made with fresh rice noodles, it's my go-to dish when I yearn to eat Malaysian food. It's best to cook one serving at a time so the noodles take on the charry taste of the wok. In Malaysia char kway teow traditionally also includes blood cockles, known as kerang."


  • 5 dried long red chillies, torn and softened in hot water
  • 300 gm fresh flat rice noodle sheets (see note)
  • 125 ml (½ cup) vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 8 small green prawns, peeled, tails intact, deveined
  • 1 lap cheong (Chinese sausage), thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp dried turnip (optional; see note), finely chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 handfuls of bean shoots
  • 30 gm garlic chives, cut into 5cm lengths


  • 1
    Drain chillies and blend to a fine paste with 3 tbsp water in a small food processor (see note).
  • 2
    Cut noodle sheets into strips about 1cm wide and carefully separate them with your fingers.
  • 3
    Heat half the oil in a wok over high heat. Add a tablespoon of chilli paste and half the garlic. Stir fry for 5-10 seconds – the chilli paste burns easily. Then add half the prawns, half the lap cheong, half the dried turnip and half the noodles, toss well to coat and combine, and stir-fry until lightly charred (3-4 minutes).
  • 4
    Push noodles to the side of the pan and add half the beaten egg. Add half the soy sauces, half the bean shoots and half the garlic chives, stir-fry to combine (about 1 minute), season to taste, then transfer to a serving plate.
  • 5
    Wipe wok clean with paper towels and repeat with remaining ingredients to make a second serve.


Fresh rice noodle sheets and dried turnips are available from Asian grocers. If rice noodle sheets are unavailable, use refrigerated pre-packed noodles brought to room temperature; they're brittle when cold. As an alternative to blending dried chillies, use shop-bought sambal oelek.
Drink suggestion: Cold bottle of Tiger lager. Drink suggestion by Max Allen.