Everyone is familiar with the smoky and aromatic Penang Char Kuay Teow (Stir-fried flat rice noodles) packed with pork lard and cockles. But have you tried Char Kuay Teow Basah i.e. wet Char Kuay Teow? This version is predominantly sold by Malay vendors so it doesn't feature any pork lard. Rather, the sauce is seafood-focused and tastes sweeter than the dry version.
I was determined to find cockles to complete my Char Kuay Teow but unfortunately, the market gods were not on my side. It's not all doom and gloom though, as I manage to find some amazingly fresh squids and mantis prawns instead (okay, actually mom spotted them but I'll take the credit). It's going to be one luxurious and cholesterol-laden plate of Char Kuay Teow Basah!
Char Kuay Teow Basah
Serves: 3-4 pax
Cook & Prep Time: 30 minutes
2 medium squids
2 small mantis prawns
2 handfuls of peeled small prawns
1 pack of kuay teow (450g) - preferably the thinner type
2 handfuls of bean sprouts
3-4 stalks of chives
6 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of oil
4 cups of water
Prawn shells (from the peeled prawns)
4 tablespoons of kicap manis (sweet soy sauce)
5 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
4 tablespoons of oyster sauce
2 tablespoons of chilli sauce
Generous dash of white pepper *Add 1-2 tablespoon(s) of chilli boh (chilli paste) if you want it spicy. I skipped this as I'm serving it with homemade sambal rather than the conventional preserved green chillies.
Cooking Directions : 1. Boil the prawn shells in 4 cups of water for 10 minutes. Sieve to remove the shells and set the broth aside.
2. Peel and mince the garlic and shallots.
3. Clean the seafood. Cut the mantis prawns lengthwise and squid into bite-sized rings.
4. Wash the beansprouts and chives. Cut the chives into 5cm lengths.
5. Blanch kuay teow to remove the stale oily smell. Drain immediately to prevent cooking it.
6. Heat oil over high heat and stir in minced garlic & shallots. Also to add in chilli boh if you're making the spicy version.
7. When garlic and shallots turn brown, turn heat to low and add mantis prawns and warm prawn broth. Wait till it simmers.
8. Add squid, kuay teow, and all other sauces & seasoning. Turn heat to medium and stir gently for 1-2minutes to prevent breaking the kuay teow.
9. Add chives and eggs. Stir until well mixed.
10. Stir in beansprouts. Of course, you can add your beansprouts earlier if you prefer it more cooked - I like mine quite crunchy.
And we're ready to serve!
If you have time, I'd strongly recommend cooking each portion separately to better control the ratio of the ingredients for each portion. Also, please don't make my mistake of serving it on a deep plate as it fails to showcase the basah-ness. Sigh, I was really scatterbrained that day, first the eggs then the choice of plate....maybe I was too hungry! Anyway, this version is just a bomb of seafood-y goodness given how much fresh seafood I used. If you're only using prawns or small squids, you can add some anchovies bouillon or MSG to enhance the flavour. And yes, do add cockles if you manage to find some. Please.
Till the next cook, stay safe & makan well!