Cookbook Challenge (rice/noodles) – Char Kway Teow

cookbook challenge

I am always envious of those that have acquired culinary and cooking knowledge from their parents or grandparents. Many of you will speak of being in the kitchen with mums or grandmas and learning from them. I used to watch grandma cooked but that did not last long. And as my parents were working to support a young family, there was little time to cook and mum never baked. I never had to cook for myself. And even when I came here more than a decade ago, I survived on instant noodles and microwaved food.

Fast forwarding to 2011. I am confident in saying that I can do better than instant noodles now. I did come a long way but I still yearn for family guidance. How does it feel like to have an elder giving me cooking tips? And finally, after so many years, I have that experience. It is a very simple dish but I love it. It was also a first time since Mister and I have been together that we had a Chinese New Year dinner with relatives! You see, Mister’s auntie and cousin were in town over CNY. We were invited over to their service apartment for dinner. It was simple and a very simple pork dish stood up. Auntie 4 gave me the ingredients and the method and tips. I had to try it.

The simple dark sauce pork is actually Auntie 4 signature dish. At the dinner table, everyone just keep going back for the pork. It is years of cooking experience in a dish. In a simple dish. There was no exact amount of seasoning. I used my own initiative. And the tip is to make sure the the pork is continuously fried in high heat and also once the oil starts coming out from the pork pieces, it is done. You just need to trust and have faith that it is cooked. I did just that and it works. Still not as good as Auntie 4 but I think with practice, I will get it right. I am pleased.

This may not mean anything to you but it does to me. It is not some fancy recipe but I never really had someone guiding me. I have tips from you guys out there, recipe books, food TV channels on Foxtel but this is different. It does not look like anything much but it is a family recipe.

dark sauce pork

dark sauce pork

As this is a cookbook challenge, I took the reference from Authentic Recipes from Singapore. This char kway teow recipe is so heavily adapted and this is my version. Most likely not authentic but it is my interpretation. I wished it had more wok hei and also not over do my bean sprouts. So make sure that the bean sprouts is only chunk in at the very end and stir them through really quickly.

Char Kway Teow

Char Kway Teow

View what the rest cooked in our cookbook challenge forum. And it is not too late to join us! :)



Noodles and seafood

  • 500g of fresh flat rice noodles
  • 1 squid, cleaned, scored and sliced
  • 250g of prawns, shelled and deveined
  • 2 lup cheong or dried chinese sausages, thinly sliced
  • 1 packet of puffy tofu, sliced into half
  • 4 cups of bean sprouts
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1tbsp of sambal belacan (chilli paste)
  • 3 finely chopped birds eye chilli
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 2tbsp of dark sauce
  • 1tbsp of dark caramel sauce
  • 2tbsp of light soy sauce
  • 2tsp of sugar
  • Salt and white pepper for seasoning
  • 4tbsp of peanut or sunflower oil
  • pork fats (optional)

Dark sauce pork

  • 250g of pork belly
  • 1tbsp of black sauce
  • 2tsp of light sauce
  • 1 cloves of finely chopped garlic
  • 1tbsp of sugar
  • Good pinch of salt
  • 1tbsp of peanut or sunflower oil


Dark sauce pork

  1. Remove the skin from the pork belly and cut the pork into 1cm x 1cm cubes. Try and make sure that most of the pieces have some fats on it. Set aside the pork skin and excessive pork fats if any
  2. Marinate the pork with the rest of the ingredients and leave it for at least an hour
  3. Add oil to the wok and make sure that the oil is really hot before adding the marinate pork. Do not stop saute-ing the pork pieces. The pork is ready when you start seeing oil coming out of the pork pieces. It usually take a2 -3 minutes. Set aside


  1. Blanch the rice noodles in hot water and break the noodles apart
  2. Prepare the seafood. Clean and then score the squid underside Slice into bite size pieces. Score and devein the prawns
  3. Heat up the wok with 2tbsp of oil. Add the pork skin and fats and allow it to render off with the oil. This is optional. Make sure the wok is very hot. Quickly stir in the garlic and chopped chilli. After 10secs, add the sambal or chilli paste. Stir and spread and then add the chinese sausages. Allow the sausages to crisp up around the sides and then add the seafood. Stir fry for about 30seconds and move it to the side of the wok
  4. Prepare the liquid – dark sauce, caramel sauce, light soy and sugar. Add the noodles to the work and pour 3/4 of the sauce and combine for a minute. Then allow it to sit and allow to “burn” a little and then turn and do the same
  5. When the noodles look nice, dark and slightly “burnt”, set aside. Add another 2tbs of oil. Add the tofu and then evenly drizzle the eggs over. Leave the eggs to cook and then scramble it slightly. I like to leave big chunks of eggs
  6. Mix with the rest of the ingredients. Add the remaining dark liquid, bean sprouts and dark sauce pork. Quickly combine. Taste and season with salt and white pepper
  7. Serve hot