KWAY chap is a Teochew dish of flat rice noodles in a dark soup of meat braised spices and herbs.
The name literally means batter with gravy and is a street food that is common in Penang, Sarawak, Johor and neighbouring Singapore.
While it is usually served with sliced pork, offals, braised tofu and egg, it is more common that you get braised duck with kway chap in Penang.
Although braised duck has a strong Teochew influence, our localised recipe features the addition of galangal and lemongrass.
Some stalls make their own curled noodles, but many use large sheets of uncut kuey teow noodles.
This recipe for kway chap produces thicker noodles than store-bought ones. Although they are not as springy, these home-made noodles do not have chemical enhancers, which alter the texture.
If you don’t want to make your own curled noodles, you may substitute with uncut kuey teow sheets or chee cheong fun noodles.
I like to eat this dish with a huge dollop of my wife’s calamansi chilli sauce, which gives that kick of tanginess to counter the fattiness of the duck.
This chilli sauce uses a whole calamansi lime, including its zesty skin, but you may remove the seeds to reduce its bitterness.
Many people are used to eating hard-boiled eggs that have a dark ring around the yolk.
But this is an indication that the egg has been overcooked and sulphur extracted from the yolk.
A chef taught me to lower the egg into simmering water for exactly 10 minutes and then plunge it into cold water immediately to stop the cooking process.
You will get a perfectly cooked egg with a fluffy yolk without a dark ring.
If you want an onsen egg with firm whites and runny yolk, simmer for seven to eight minutes.
If you are able to prepare this dish ahead of time, then you can marinate the hard-boiled eggs in the soup longer to allow the flavour and colour to penetrate deeper into the whites of the egg.
You will need at least an hour for it to turn a darker colour; thus overnight marination is recommended.
Braised duck with curled noodles
Ingredients1 duck, about 2.5kg
5 pods star anise
2 sticks cinnamon
4 dried chillies
2 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
1 tbsp white peppercorns
10 bulbs shallots
1 whole bulb garlic
1 knob ginger
1 knob galangal
2 stalks lemongrass
120ml light soy sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
30g rock sugar
2 tsp five spice powder
1 tbsp bean paste
2 litres cold waterCurled noodles240g rice flour
120g tang mien flour or wheat starch
25g green bean flour
1 tbsp salt
600ml cold water
Calamansi chilli sauce10 red chillies, stems removed
6 calamansi limes, seeded
1/2 bulb garlic, peeled
1 knob ginger, sliced
1 tsp salt to taste
1 tsp sugar to taste
Garnish5 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
Chinese parsley, chopped
MethodClean duck of all innards and feather bristles.
Remove and discard the rump end.
Cut off the head, neck, legs and the entire spine and place them in the bottom of a stock pot.
Cut the remaining duck into two or four pieces to fit into the pot.
Add all the spice ingredients and top with water.
Bring to a boil, then simmer for about an hour.
Turn off the heat when the duck is tender, remove from soup and allow to cool completely before slicing.
In a separate bowl or glass jar, pour soup over hard-boiled eggs until completely submerged.
Marinate in soup for at least one hour before cutting into halves for serving.
To make the curled noodles, combine all ingredients into a batter.
Heat a frying pan with a little oil, pour in a ladleful of batter and cook on only one side into a very thin round sheet.
Lift up from pan to cool before cutting into triangular pieces.
When ready to serve, skim off excess oil from the soup and bring to a boil.
Bring a pot of water to a boil.
Blanch the noodles briefly in boiling water until they curl up.
Dish up immediately into a serving bowl and pour in hot soup.
Arrange sliced duck meat and egg half on top of noodles.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley and fried shallots and serve immediately with calamansi chilli sauce.
To make the chilli sauce, blend all ingredients in an electric mill into a fine paste.
Store in a glass jar until needed.