Char kuey kak

Char kuey kak

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2
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Billy Law

Char kuey kak is also known as chai tau kway and means ‘stir-fried rice cake cubes’. It is another variation of a hawker-style noodle dish, and is very similar to its more famous cousin, char kuey teow. The rice cake is very easy to make and only requires a few ingredients. Traditionally shredded white radish (daikon) is also added, but I haven’t used it here. Many Malaysians prefer this version over the char kuey teow, as the cubes of rice cake offer a soft chewy texture typical of classic Chinese comfort food.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
2-3 strips salted radish, rinsed and patted dry, finely chopped, (see note)
1 lap cheong, thinly sliced, (see note)
6 raw prawns, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons dark soy caramel
pinch white pepper
1 egg
handful bean sprouts
handful garlic chives, cut into 5 cm lengths
sriracha chilli sauce, to serve

Rice cake

Quantity Ingredient
110g rice flour
2 tablespoons potato starch
220ml water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil
pinch ground white pepper

Method

  1. To make the rice cake, mix the rice flour, potato starch and water together to form a smooth batter. Add the sugar, salt, sesame oil and white pepper, and stir to mix well. Pour the batter into a large pot or wok over medium heat, and stir until the mixture thickens to a wet paste. Remove from the heat, then pour the mixture into an 18 cm (7 inch) square baking tin. Use a greased palette knife to spread the mixture evenly.
  2. Place the tin in a steamer or in a wok on a rack over a saucepan of simmering water. Steam the rice cake for 30 minutes; test its readiness by inserting a chopstick into the cake — it should come out clean. Remove the rice from the steamer and set aside to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate to set. Tip the rice cake out onto a board and cut into 1 × 3 cm blocks.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a nonstick wok over high heat, then add the garlic and strips of salted radish and fry until fragrant. Add the rice cakes and fry, stirring occasionally, until charred with crispy edges on all sides. Add a little more oil if the rice cakes are too sticky.
  4. Add the lap cheong and prawns and stir-fry until the prawns are cooked. Add the soy sauce, dark soy caramel and white pepper, and give it a quick stir to make sure the rice cakes are well coated in the sauce.
  5. Push the rice cakes aside and make a clear space in the wok, then add the remaining tablespoon of oil and crack the egg into the oil. Stir to break up the egg with a spatula, then quickly cover it up with rice cakes and let it cook for 10–15 seconds before you start stir-frying again. Add the bean sprouts and garlic chives, then turn the heat off and give everything in the wok a gentle toss to combine. Tip out onto a serving plate and serve with sriracha chilli sauce.

Note

  • Salted radish is a preserved vegetable that usually comes in a sealed packet in Asian grocers. Ask your Cantonese-speaking shop owner for ‘choy bo’.

    Lap cheong is also known as Chinese sausage, and is widely available in Asian grocers or the Asian ingredients aisle of major supermarkets.
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