Sarawak Special: Tomato Kueh Tiaw

Happy Malaysia Day! I hope September has been treating you well so far. I’m definitely having a lot of fun! To the point I haven’t even had the chance to do any exciting dishes. So those of you who have come to this blog fromΒ “The Star” article, I’m going to do this space justice by posting an unique recipe today from Sarawak.

I have long felt that Malaysia day is more relevant to us because the Independence day (31st Aug) really only applies to the Peninsula Malaysia. 16th Sept marked the day Sarawak and Sabah joined the country, so today I shall introduce to you a very special dish that I loved (and still do) growing up: Tomato Kueh Tiaw, a dish most Sarawakians (and Kuching people especially) enjoy on a regular basis. It’s good that a lot of the West Malaysians are starting to get to know Sarawak cuisine, as back in the days if you mention Tomato Kueh Tiaw the hawker would probably give you a plate of Kueh Tiaw and a Tomato. Now, we can enjoy a good plate of this at 7th Mile Kitchen, Taman Bahagia, and few more others (feel free to recommend more places, by the way)

Tomato Kueh Tiaw looks a lot like Watan hor (Hor Fun with Eggy gravy), except the gravy is of red-orange hue from well…. tomato! A good gravy should have a nice balance of tangyness and sweetness, andΒ  thick enough to coat the noodles. You can either order this with crispy noodles, or like how I prefer it, with fried kueh tiaw. Both are good in their own ways. Here’s a picture of what I cooked:

Tomato Kueh Tiaw
Tomato Kueh Tiaw

The toppings varies from stall to stall but the basic would be some seafood (Prawns and squid usually, sometimes fish cake), vegetables (Choy Sum and sometimes Carrot too), and meat (Pork or Chicken). Having said that though, you probably won’t get prawns as big as these ones. Ahh…… that’s the beauty of home-cooking!

The process is rather simple, and I have referred to the recipe by Kimba’s Kitchen and adapted to my own taste.

Mise en place, missing some cornstarch and chicken stock.
Mise en place, but missing some cornstarch and chicken stock.

Ingredients: (Serves 1)
One portion of Fresh kueh tiaw (in some supermarket, you get to choose the variety for either soup or frying… go for the latter of course)
1 tablespoon Sweet soy sauce)
1 Clove Garlic, minced
Half Chicken Breast, sliced
4 Prawns (of any variety, I used large tiger prawns), de-shelled and de-veined.
Handful of Choy Sum, cleaned and snap in halves (sounds violent huh?)
1 pinch of Chicken Stock Cube (I use only ones without MSG) mixed with 1/2 cup of water
1 teaspoon cornflour mixed with few tablespoons of water (might need more to adjust the consistency)
1 1/2 tablespoon Tomato sauce to taste (I usually just eyeball it, Heinz Ketchup is pretty rich in taste, so if you are using other brand you might need more)
1 teaspoon Tomato Puree
1 teaspoon Oyster sauce (mine’s vegetarian because I have a vegetarian at home)
White pepper to taste
Extra water as required

Loosen the Kueh Tiaw and fry them in high heat with a little oil, adding Sweet Soy Sauce as you go until evenly coated. Don’t overcook as they will become sticky and clumpy.

Smelling pretty good at this point, and it's just noodles!
Smelling pretty good at this point, and it’s just noodles!

Using the same pan, add a little more oil and saute garlic with chicken, follow by prawns. When the prawns and chicken are seared on both sides, pour in the chicken stock, followed by tomato sauce and puree, and oyster sauce. Bring sauce to boil and add Choy sum. Thicken with cornstarch and simmer for another minute or two until everything is cooked.

Bubbling away and loving the colours!
Bubbling away and loving the colours!

Once you are happy with the sauce (might need to adjust with more water), turn off heat and pour the sauce over the Kueh Tiaw. Finish with some white pepper (and chili if you wish) and serve immediately.

Mmmm..... Perfection on a plate.
Mmmm….. Perfection on a plate.

It’s amazing how such simple dish can be so delicious. Savoury sweet soft noodles, piping hot sauce to bring that piquancy, with plenty of juicy prawns, tender chicken (secret is not to overcook chicken breast, always), crunchy vegetables. That made me a very happy girl! In fact I think I might cook another plate later.

Oh... will you look at that?!
Oh… will you look at that?!

So have you ever tried Tomato Kueh Tiaw before? What do you think of the taste?

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48 thoughts on “Sarawak Special: Tomato Kueh Tiaw

  1. to be honest, i don’t quite likey tomato mee/koay teow.. during my four years in Bint-ulu, i think i have only eaten once.. just don’t likey the taste but i mad love Sarawak Laksa! hehe

      1. Yup! Sibu too – not great, more like kway teow with tomato sauce, thick! The Kuching ones are not the same…and have prawns like Kelly’s, plus sotong too. Don’t dream of getting those if you order this in Sibu. 😦

  2. First had this in Kuching way back in the 70’s – I like the lighter tomato gravy and I still prefer those at some selected places there – I’ve tried the ones we have here in Sibu. They’re nice too but I’ve yet to find one that comes close.

  3. hi kelly, coming over from FB. I remember seeing a few of them cooked this dish during the sarawak MFF last year…looks absolutely delish! Let me chk out that star article, missed that but i happened to see your winning entry in that hashbrown competition in a magazine. Congrats!

  4. Kelly, you have been unfair to its sister, tomato mee! That is actually more unique than tomato kway tiao due to its crispy nature. By the way, your look yummy with enough tomato sauce. Cheers to tomato noodles.

    1. Oh btw I don’t think they are sisters, just the same dish with different variations, just like Kampua can be eaten with mee pok, and I prefer the mee pok version. Something about flat noodles that works better for me. The crispy thing is done by the Cantonese too with their watan hor.

  5. i don’t think i’ve ever had tomato kueh tiaw, but it sounds and looks like fun. i wouldn’t mind having a kuey tiaw “tasting buffet” someday, trying all the different sorts of kuey tiaw recipes we can find! πŸ˜€

  6. congrats on the Star article! ur tomato kueh teow looks divine, bookmarked for future reference! fyi, the other day i just tried another one of your Sarawak recipes… the manicai with eggs. πŸ™‚ Thanks for all the good recipes! πŸ™‚

  7. Babe, my first attempt didnt turn out as it is. I followed your recipe but the gravy was a bit dry….:( and the kway teow was soggy, thinking i prolly got the wrong kway teow?

    1. The amount of water you will have to eyeball, since I never measure and just add until I feel is right. You can see the amount of liquid in my pan. Kueh tiaw tends to go soggy if you cook for too long, there’s also a specific type for frying. Hope you get to try again. πŸ™‚

  8. I’m not a fan of kueh tiaw so I use mee instead… and it works! I’ll try egg noodles next time.

    Thanks for this recipe! Much love from the Philippines.

    1. Great! Yes you can definitely use different type of noodles. In Sarawak sometimes they deep fry the egg noodles so it’s super crispy with the sauce pour over.

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