Awhile ago one of my blog reader, Kevin, put in a request for Kuy Teav Cha គុយទាវឆារខ្មែរ(Cambodian Fried Rice Noodles) recipe. He wanted to see the difference and similarities between the Cambodian version and the Thai version. After I replied to his question my childhood memories came through.
When I was in grade school I lived in a very large Cambodian community called Park Village (known to Cambodian people as Oak Park) in Stockton, CA. The complex consist of about 300+ Khmer refugee families. It was like a mini Cambodia. Many people use their 2-bedroom apartment to sell groceries, candies, home made goods, cigars and alcohol. I remember one lady who used to make Kuy Teav Cha for sale. She put them into a zip lock size bag. It only cost $1 at that time. The bag cames with fried noodles, shredded eggs, peanuts and a little small container of fish sauce. She was my favorite Kuy Teav Cha vendor. I enjoyed going to her house on weekends to buy them. It’s been long since I’ve made this dish and with a few pointers from my Mother during my last visit I decided to do tackle it again.
I think it’s a cross between the infamous Thai version of fried noodles known as “Pad Thai” and the Vietnamese cold rice noodle mixed with fresh and pickled vegetables topped with some sort of meat and fish sauce known as “bun thit”. Cambodian fried rice noodles is much easier to make than Pad Thai or Bun Thit. It requires very few ingredients. What makes a delicious Cambodian fried noodle and the most important ingredient is the fish sauce dressing. It is what binds everything together and completes the dish.
1 lb dried rice noodle stick (small size) pre-soak in warm water for 30 minutes until soften
4 large (jumbo) eggs, beaten
5 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts, chopped or crushed
fish sauce dressing (see recipe)
assorted fresh herbs such as mint leaves, Asian mint (coriander), and basil
Heat a non-stick pan until hot then lower to med-high heat. Use cooking spray if your pan tend to stick. Ladle about 1/3 cup of beaten eggs and pan fry the eggs forming a pancake like-shape. Use a spatula to flip and cook the other size. Since they are thin it should not take long to fry them. Once they are cook remove to a plate and set aside. Repeat the same process until all the beaten eggs are gone.
Cut the stacked fried eggs in half. Then fold the bottom half up and thinly slice them leaving you with shredded fried eggs. Set aside.
Next, drain the soak rice noodle sticks and add 5 tablespoons sweet soy sauce. Use either your hands or chopsticks to toss and coat the rice sticks.
Now it’s time to fry the noodles. Heat (again) a non-stick pan and add noodles to your liking. You can also add cooking spray to prevent the noodles from sticking to the pan. Use chopsticks to toss them so that they cook evenly. The noodles can still be sticky. Do not be alarm. Just sprinkle some water to soften and separate them. This step also goes by fairly quickly so do not step away!
Once your noodles are fried transfer it to a serving dish. Add shredded fried eggs, sprinkle some chopped peanuts and add the fish sauce dressing. The amount of these toppings will vary depending on your liking. I personally like lots of eggs and peanuts on mine. Throw in your favorite fresh herbs and combine everything together. It is now ready to eat. Adjust to taste. You will notice that after adding the fish sauce dressing the noodles have loosen up a bit making it a bit easier to toss and combine.