Lockdown Recipe Series: 3 street food favourites with Lap Cheong – Cheat’s Claypot Rice, Glass Noodles & Char Koay Teow
If there’s one type of food I’ve craved this lockdown period in London more than anything else, it would be the street food of home and the rest of South East Asia.
This brings me onto one of my favourite ingredients – Lap Cheong (Chinese dried sausage). Made from pork and pork lard, these air-dried, cured sausages are typically seasoned with rose water, rice wine and soya sauce which give them their trademark sweet & savoury flavour. They can be stored at room temperature for many months (especially when vacuum packed) making them fantastic to have tucked away in the store cupboard for a rainy day.
Lap Cheong can be found in a whole host of hawker food dishes across the Far East. Penang’s iconic Char Koay Teow comes first and foremost to my mind, closely followed by the Claypot Rice dishes of KL and the Fried Glass Noodles of Bangkok’s Chinatown. Here are 3 recipes with Lap Cheong that I hope will bring the streets, hawker stalls and food courts of South East Asia into your homes!
Cheat’s Claypot Rice with Lap Cheong & Soy Cured Yolk
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 2 small cups jasmine rice, uncooked (total uncooked weight 280g)
- 2 small cups water (total volume 360ml)
- 80ml sweet soy sauce mix (see below)
- 2x Lap Cheong Chinese sausages (about 100-120g total weight)
Soy-cured egg yolks:
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp light soy
- 1 tbsp mirin
- 1 tbsp water
For the sweet soy sauce mix: (makes about 100ml):
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 clove garlic.lightly crushed
- 1 stalk spring onion, roughly chopped (reserve green bits for garnish)
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp hot water
- Pinch of white pepper
- Cure the egg yolks: Mix 2 tbsp light soy, 1 tbsp mirin and 1 tbsp water together in a small ramekin/bowl. Carefully add the 2 egg yolks in and refrigerate for 6 hours. Pour away the liquid after 6 hours – the yolks will have firmed up slightly and soaked up the sweet-savoury flavour of the soy sauce & mirin.
- Prepare the sauce mix: Heat up the vegetable oil in a small saucepan. Over a medium heat, fry off the garlic and spring onion for 2 to 3 minutes until the garlic is golden and the spring onions are fragrant. Let the infused oil cool down, then strain the oil into a small bowl (discard the garlic and spring onion). Add the rest of the sauce mix ingredients into the oil and mix together until combined.
- Wash the rice grains in a large bowl of water. Drain the cloudy starchy water through a fine sieve (this will result in lighter, fluffier rice and help prevent the rice from burning at the base of the pot when cooking).
- Place the washed rice, 360ml of water and 80ml of the prepared sauce mix (reserve 20 ml of the sauce mix to adjust the seasoning to taste later) into a rice cooker pot or medium-sized saucepan with lid. The level of the liquid should be about 1.5cm above the level of rice. Use the ‘finger tip dip test’ by dipping your index finger into the water until it touches the top level of the rice grains. The water level should just come up to the first finger joint. Before setting the rice to cook, nestle the Lap Cheong sausage (left whole) into the rice grains. As the sausage cooks with the rice, the flavour will infuse into the rice grains.
- Cook the rice. If using a rice cooker, simply switch it on and it will turn itself off when cooked. If using a saucepan, bring the rice, cooking liquid and Lap Cheong sausages to a simmer. Turn down the heat to low and cover with a lid and cook the rice on a low simmer for 12 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice cook for another 3 minutes. When the rice is fluffy and has soaked up all the liquid, it is ready. Taste the rice and adjust the seasoning with the leftover sauce mix if needed.
- Remove the sausage from rice, and slice thinly at a diagonal. Fill a small bowl with the rice and top with the sliced Chinese sausage and cured egg yolk. Garnish with some sliced spring onions and serve up!
Stir-fried Glass Noodles with Lap Cheong and Crab Meat
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 150g dried mungbean ‘Glass’ noodles, soaked in hot water for 2 minutes until pliable, then drained ready for stir-frying
- 100g Lap Cheong Chinese sausauge, thinly sliced
- 100g white crab meat (fresh is great, but tinned works fine too)
- Ginger 3 thumbnail slices
- Garlic 2 cloves, finely chopped
- 150g Chinese leaf, sliced (or any other leftover vegetables)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 150ml chicken stock
- 2 tsp dark soya sauce
- 2 tsp tbsp sweet soya sauce
- 1 tbsp light soya sauce
- 1 tbsp fish Sauce
- 1 tsp palm (or light brown) sugar
- Optional: ½ tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
- Heat up 2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a wok. Fry off the Lap Cheong slices for 1 to 2 minutes until they start to caramelise slightly. Add the garlic and ginger and continue stir-frying for another minute.
- Add the vegetables and stir-fry for a couple minutes then add in the Glass noodles and ¾ of the sauce mix (reserving a quarter to adjust the seasoning to taste later).
- Stir-fry for a couple minutes until the noodles have taken up the sauce, then add the crab meat and stir through. Taste the noodles – if they require more seasoning, add some of the remainder of the sauce mix to adjust to taste. Serve up!
Ingredients (serves 2 to 3)
- 150g dried Koay Teow (flat rice noodles) – blanched in hot water for 8 minutes then drained (if using fresh noodles, use about 250g weight)
- 60 ml vegetable oil
- 50g pork lard, cut into small ½ cm cubes (for non-pork eaters, beef fat works well too!)
- 50g Lap Cheong Chinese sausage, sliced finely at a diagonal
- 6 raw king prawns (shelled / deveined)
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 100g beansprouts
- 6 stalks chives, cut into short 3cm strips
- 2 eggs (duck eggs preferably for extra creaminess)
Sauce mix (premix ahead of cooking):
- 2 tsp chilli paste (make your own by soaking deseeded dried chillies in hot water, draining, then processing to a fine paste)
- 3 tbsp light soya sauce
- 1 tsp dark soya sauce
- 1 tsp sweet soy
- 1 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 2 tbsp hot water
- Make sure all the ingredients are prepared and within reach!
- Heat up the oil in the wok until it just starts to smoke.
- Add the pork lard to the wok and fry off for about 30 seconds until it starts to crisp up and release it’s own fat.
- Add the chopped garlic, prawns & Chinese sausage and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
- Add the noodles and 3 to 4 tbsp of the prepared Sauce (to your personal taste). Stir-fry for 1 minute.
- Add the beansprouts and fry for an additional 30 seconds.
- Add the egg (breaking the yolk and mixing through). Follow immediately with the chopped chives then stir-fry everything together for another 1 minute. Serve immediately if possible. If cooking multiple batches for a large group, repeat steps 1 through 6 above, scaling up the recipe accordingly.