Prepare your own amazingly tasty Char Koay Kak (Fried Rice Cake), a popular Penang street food. Very quick and easy using prepackaged rice cake.
Char Koay Kak (Fried Rice Cake), also known as Chai Tau Kueh is a very popular street food on the island of Penang, Malaysia. It is normally eaten for breakfast or late supper. Housewives doing their groceries in the early morning would gather around the stall to trade gossips while waiting for their orders of Char Koay Kak. The hawker will fry batches of cubed rice cakes in a flat pan about 2½ feet in diameter. The large pan enables him to cater for “special dietary needs” by frying at different corners of the pan. Egg-free, no problems. Sometimes you can even request for extras like shrimp. The biggest batch is always the super spicy because many Penangites love spicy food.
Ideally the rice cakes should have radishes in them but it has been simplified over time to fit the breakfast budget. This delectable dish is a treat on a shoestring. While its flavors and preparation are similar to its more famous cousin, the Penang Char Koay Teow, nevertheless Char Koay Kak holds a very special place in the hearts of many Penangites. Some may remember mom coming home from the market with the much anticipated triangular newspaper bundle tied with a rafia string.
This dish is hardly found outside of Malaysia and Singapore. The only way to enjoy it here is to make it at home. This can be a rather involved process as the rice cake has to be made first. When I saw these ready made rice cakes at the Asian grocery store, I was delighted. The taro in there is minimal and the taste hardly noticeable.
I used the Korean chili paste (gochujang) as it is the closest substitute to the kind of chili paste used in Malaysia. I also threw some Chinese chives for added flavor and color. Below is my rendition of this popular and amazingly tasty dish.
Update: I no longer use gochujang for this dish since I started making my own Fried Chili Paste.
Note: In my haste to taste the dish, I forgot to take step-by-step pictures but you get the idea. 😉
- 1 packet (32 oz/900g) taro or plain rice cake, cut into ¾ inch cubes
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp chopped pickled radish (chai poh)
- 2 tsp chili paste
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 large eggs
- 8 oz (225g) bean sprouts
- 4 oz (115g) Chinese chives, sliced into 1-inch lengths
- Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large non-stick fry pan. Pan fry cubed rice cake until lightly brown, about 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Add remaining 3 tablespoons vegetable oil into the pan. Sauté garlic and pickled radish until lightly brown. Stir in chili paste.
- Add pan fried rice cubes, dark soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Push rice cubes to the side of pan with spatula. Add eggs and toss rice cubes over eggs. Stir to get rice cubes coated with egg.
- Add bean sprouts and Chinese chives. Stir fry for another minute.
- Remove and serve immediately.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 😎