I really like noodles – all kinds of noodles. And when the recipe involves pan-searing the noodles over high heat with savory, spicy seasonings, shrimp and scallions, I’m all over it. Especially when I can get my husband to toast the shrimp paste for me.
We actually decided to make this dish as a result of my picking up a bottle of dry muscat wine from our local wine shop. It claimed to go well with spicy Asian food, so we figured we’d make some. As it turned out, it worked pretty well with the noodles – but the wine turned out to be so yummy, next time we might just drink it all by itself!
Penang-style Char Kuey Teow
from Cradle of Flavor by James Oseland
- 8 ounces flat rice noodles (we used dry rice sticks, but fresh is probably better)
- 3 dried red chiles
- 1 tsp dried shrimp paste
- 3 Tbsp oil or lard
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp water
- 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 7 ounces peeled prawns
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cups mung bean sprouts
- 5 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
If using fresh noodles, rinse and drain them. If using dried, cook them in boiling water – this takes anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on the noodles. Drain and rinse. Toss the noodles with a little oil to prevent clumping.
Combine the soy sauce, sugar and water in a small bowl and set aside.
To make the spice paste: Stem the chiles and break them in half, then put them in a bowl and cover with warm water. Soak 20 minutes to soften them. Wrap the shrimp paste in foil to make a little flat packet and toast (more about toasting shrimp paste here). Remove the shrimp paste from the foil and put it and the chiles in a small food processor. Puree, adding water if necessary.
Heat 1 Tbsp of the oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the chile-shrimp paste mixture and saute until the sauce and oil begin to separate. Scrape the sauce into a bowl and set aside.
In the same pan, heat 2 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until just golden, then add the chile paste back in. Stir well, then add the shrimp and up the heat to high. Stir-fry until the shrimp is just cooked. Add the noodles and the soy sauce mixture and stir fry until everything is hot through and the noodles have absorbed all the flavorings. Make a well in the noodles and add the egg. Scramble it with your spatula until it sets, then mix it into the noodles. Add the bean sprouts and scallions and stir-fry just 30 seconds longer. Salt to taste and eat immediately.