Stir-fried flat rice noodle or known as char kwe tiau in Hokkian dialect is a highly popular dish across Southeast Asia. With that said there are also myriad of varieties of char kwe tiau out there.
This particular one that I made is called Bagan Char Kwey Tiau from the city of Bagan si api api. Bagan si api api or also called Bagan for short, is one of the cities in the Province of Riau, Indonesia. How they came about the Kwey Tiau, I’m not really clear. All I know is every time I went back to visit my parents, my mom would bring me to this shop that sells Bagan Char Kwey Tiau and it is THE BOMB!!!! If I can’t make it to anywhere else to eat my favorite foods during my visit, I must at least have Bagan Char Kwey Tiau. That’s how good it is!!! It’s one thing you must eat when you are in Medan for sure! It looks red (thanks to the chili) and saucy. The char kwe tiau is not insanely hot, but just enough heat from the chili and being served straight out from the wok….SO GOOD!!
Making this Bagan-style stir-fried flat rice noodle also doesn’t require lots of ingredients. Chili, eggs, oil, beansprouts, garlic, soy sauce and you are good to go! The main key in making good char kwe tiau is to cook them in cast-iron wok and heat up the wok until it is really STONKING HOT! Getting the wok hot enough can impart some of the “smoky” flavor into the noodles, which is what people looking forward to the most in their char kwe tiau dishes or in fact, many stir-fried dishes in Asia.
I’ve made this dish several times and I made it again and perfected the recipe 😉 My tongue said “HAPPY”!! It doesn’t taste exactly the same as the one in Medan. I think it’s impossible to unless I get the recipe straight from the seller lol! But it’s close enough to satisfy my cravings for now.
BAGAN CHAR KWEY TIAU / BAGAN-STYLE STIR-FRIED FLAT RICE NOODLE (2-3 servings)
- 1 lb (450 g) fresh wide flat rice noodles / kwe tiau. If using dried, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes then discard water
- 2 handful of beansprouts (washed)
- 6 cloves of garlics (finely chopped)
- 4 eggs
- 2-3 Tbsp of soy sauce or more as needed
- 1 small cube of chicken bouillon
- 6 Tbsp of ground red chili paste
- 1/4 cup of canola Oil + 4 Tbsp of canola oil (Lard for best result)
- 3 cups of hot water
It is best to use wok (iron cast) if you have one. Preheat until the wok is stonking hot and smoke started to rise. Add in 1/4 cup of oil and the flat rice noodles and stir fry for about 30 seconds, splash in 2 Tbsp of soy sauce. Dish out and set aside. You may end up with some "crust" on the wok from cooking the noodles. Scrap them off with wooden spoon
Preheat the wok again until really really hot. Then add in about 4 Tbsp of canola oil and add in the garlic and ground red chili paste and stir-fry until fragrant, another minute. Push it to the side of the wok, crack in 4 eggs and stir to break the yolk a little bit and then let it cook for about 1 minute, then stir to mix everything. Add in the hot water (it's important that it's hot so you won't reduce the temperature of the wok too much) and chicken bouillon and bring it to a boil for about 1-2 minutes. Add in the rice noodles that you have stir-fried earlier, and soy sauce. Stir to mix everything, have a taste and add more soy sauce if needed
Lastly add in the beansprouts and turn off the heat. The beansprouts should be still crunchy. The fried noodles should be red in color and a little bit saucy, but not entirely soupy. Give it a stir one more time to mix everything. Portion into individual serving plate. Serve immediately