If you’re a noodle fan, you’ve most likely enthusiastically tucked into a bowl of char kway teow. The fabulously smoky flat-rice noodle dish hails from Malaysia’s foodie island, Penang, and gets its signature charred flavour by being cooked in a wok at high heat. A wok is essential, so if you don’t have one it’s worth borrowing or buying one.

This version is by Malaysian-Australian cook Diana Chan, who won Masterchef in 2017. After her success she quit her job as an accountant, launched a pop-up restaurant in Melbourne, filmed two seasons of SBS Food show Asia Unplated and developed at-home dumpling packs. Last weekend she was at the Brosa Stage at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (she’s a Brosa ambassador) making this recipe.

“Ensure your wok is well seasoned and cook on a high heat at all times, moving the ingredients around the wok,” Chan tells Broadsheet. “Prepare all the ingredients in advance as the cooking process is super-fast and takes no time at all. I just love this dish as the flavours are amazing and it reminds me of home – nostalgia at its best.”

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Char kway teow
Makes 1 serving
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes


15ml oyster sauce
15ml dark caramel soy (or kecap manis)
30ml light soy sauce

30ml pork lard (or any neutral-flavoured oil with a high smoke point), extra for frying
250g fresh flat rice noodles
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried chilli paste
30g lap cheong (pork sausage), sliced
3 prawns, peeled with tail intact
1 egg
30g bean sprouts
20g garlic chives, chopped

Mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a jug and set aside. Heat a wok on high, almost to smoking point, then add in the lard or oil and swirl it around to coat the wok. Add the noodles to char slightly.

Next, add the garlic and chilli paste and mix through. Add in the lap cheong and prawns and cook for about 30 seconds. Push the noodles to one side of the wok and crack in an egg. Let it sit for 10 seconds before mixing it through. Add in the sauce and mix to coat thoroughly.

Lastly, add in the bean sprouts and garlic chives and toss through until just cooked. This should take approximately 30 seconds. Remove from heat and serve warm.

There will be more free Brosa Stage cooking demonstrations at Melbourne Food and Wine Festival this weekend, Saturday April 2 and Sunday April 3.

If you want some tips on buying and seasoning a wok, see Kylie Kwong’s tips here.

Looking for more recipe ideas? Visit Broadsheet’s recipe hub.