I find most restaurants that serve Chinese food with a smattering of Thai or Malaysian based dishes describe themselves as ‘ Pan Asian’ restaurants. Most of the time it’s just Indianised Chinese fare that we are comfortable with but to really understand what sort of cuisines are included in this ‘ Pan Asian’ list, one needs to have a broad mind and a slightly adventurous palate. There is a certain thrill and excitement in discovering new food that only a curious eater will understand. Travelling always helps but the readiness to embark on a culinary adventure isn’t what every so called Foodie is equipped with.
My favourite kind of food is anything South East Asian based and Chinese in particular. It is the exciting marriage of sweet, salty, spicy and various textures that I love the most. I find most Asian food to be multi-dimensional in terms of taste and there is a certain comfortness that is evoked with every steaming plate of noodle or curry. I find my best foodventures are taken in the city of Singapore – a food enthusiast’s delight. It helps when the founding blocks of a nation are attributed to the Malay, Chinese and Indians which means that their cuisine is heavily influenced by these three and the end result is a symphony of flavour and variety. I find that my trips to Singapore always include blissful sessions at their common Hawker Centers devouring as much as humanly possible or then visiting local markets to see what they eat and cook. I’m not a stranger to the city or its food but it was only on a recent trip there when I tasted my very first Char Kwey Teow.
For those familiar with Singapore and the dish, you must think I’ve been living under a rock and believe me, two bites in and I thought the very same thing. For someone who adores Asian flavours, especially South East Asian and Chinese, not to mention a devout noodle consumer, this dish is a little piece of heaven. Such a simple recipe that’s easily whipped up within minutes but full of bold flavours and much depth. The thing is for some reason this is the one dish I had heard a lot about on my trip from folks who live in Singapore and I thought since its come highly recommended then it must be special. I’d be a fool not to take up any food recommendation especially from a local because who better to guide you? It isn’t possible to sample everything on your own and recommendations make a big difference and help me discover more. In some cases even helps to get out of your comfort zone and try more adventurous food.
While I enjoy food and eat almost everything, there is a big emphasis on almost. I’m not the biggest fan of certain ingredients and squirmy squiggly cockles are one of them. This ugly shellfish is considered an integral ingredient to some for the Char Kway Teow and in a bid to be more adventurous with my food choices I gave in and couldn’t be happier.
In an ode to showcase my own #Foodventure after eating my way through Singapore for five glorious days, this is my home style version of a streetfood/hawker center favourite – Char Kwey Teow. ‘Char’ meaning fried and ‘Kwey Teow’ are the Chinese style Rice Noodles so this fried noodle dish isn’t like you’re pan fried or Hakka noodle that is commonly available but a Singaporean delicacy that is integral to their local cuisine and just absolutely tasty. While cockles aren’t available everywhere this recipe doesn’t have them but should you be able to get your hands on some please go ahead and add them! They’re a flavour game changer!
125g Chinese sausage or any chicken/pork sausage of your choice
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chopped garlic
1/2 tsp chopped ginger
4 tblsp oil
2 cloved of garlic chopped
4 whites of the spring onion chopped
4 greens of the spring onion chopped
250 grams prawns
250 grams squid
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
600 grams rice noodles ( kway teow)
2 tblspoon dark soy sauce
2 tblspoon light soy sauce
1 tblsp oyster sauce
1 tblspoon chilli sauce
1 egg beaten
2 Chinese Celery ( optional for garnish )
Salt and pepper to taste
Soak the rice noodles in a pot of cold water for a minimum of 30 minutes or till they soften up. In a separate bowl, add all the sauces together and mix well.
Heat the 2 tablespoon of oil in a wok and fry the garlic, whites of the green onion and the chopped sausages over a medium heat till they are soft.
Add the prawn and fry for 3-4 minutes and then add the mushrooms and fry again for another 3-4 minutes. Please note the prawns need a total of 8 minutes to cook well. To the mixture add a few spoons of the sauce mixture.
Add 3/4 of the bean sprouts and cook for another minute.
In the wok, add the noodles and fry. Add the three sauces mix well and then the beaten egg and mix well. Try not to break the noodles but keep mixing it all together
Add the greens of the spring onions and keep cooking the noodles. Stir constantly so it doesn’t stick. Towards the end add the rest of the bean sprout a minute before you switch off the stove.
Serve hot and garnish with spring onion and celery.
If you’re an adventurous diner then you need to check out the #Foodventures by Axis Bank Dining Delights Website ( click here ) and share your own #Foodventures
Watch Vikas Khanna give an interesting twist on his #Foodventures with a special schezwan style seviyan recipe!