Looking for a delicious creamy noodle dish? Why not try making Myanmar’s khow suey, the culinary, cross-border cousin of Northern Thailand’s equally popular speciality, khao soi.
What is it?
This fragrant Burmese noodle dish, which originated in Myanmar’s Shan State, is a riot of flavours and textures that can be served as a ‘build your own bowl’ crowd-pleaser. It is very similar (and potential predecessor) to the more internationally-recognised dish khao soi, which is a firm favourite in Northern Thailand (particularly in the markets of Chiang Mai) and Laos, with the delicacy largely using the same ingredients but being spiced to suit local tastes.
Ingredients (serves 4)
For the curry paste:
5cm (2in) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped into large pieces
5 large garlic cloves, peeled
2–3 red chillies
1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
For the curry:
1 tsp turmeric powder
1kg (2lb 2oz) skinless and boneless chicken thighs, cut into 2.5cm (1in) pieces
800ml (1⅓ pints) coconut milk
1 tbs chickpea (besan) flour
370g (13oz) dried egg noodles
salt and pepper to taste
For the toppings:
bunch of fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves and stems, roughly chopped
1 cup chopped spring onions (scallions)
1 red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced
4 hard-boiled eggs, cut into wedges
4 lemons, cut into wedges
chilli powder, gently roasted in a pan or oven
How to cook
Step 1: To make the curry paste, grind the ginger, garlic, red chillies and onion into a thick paste in a mortar and pestle or food processor.
Step 2: Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a heavy-based pan and add the curry paste and turmeric. Heat gently, stirring, until fragrant.
Step 3: Add the chicken, season with salt and cook until tender, 10–15 minutes.
Step 4: Add half of the coconut milk and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
Step 5: Stir the chickpea flour through the remaining coconut milk and add to the pan, warming through on a low heat.
Step 6: Cook the egg noodles in a pan of boiling water and drain.
Step 7: Heat 1½ cups of vegetable oil a small pan until very hot (about 5 minutes). Taking 2 cups of the cooked noodles, fry about ½ cup at a time, spreading them out thinly with a fork to ensure they cook through.
Step 8: When golden, remove with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels and break into smaller pieces for serving.
Step 9: To serve, place the boiled noodles in a bowl and spoon over the chicken curry. Top with coriander, spring onions, red onion, hard-boiled egg wedges and fried noodles. Squeeze over lemon juice and a sprinkle of roasted chilli powder.
Slurp up the silky egg noodles coated in creamy coconut curry and savour the freshness of the coriander (cilantro), spring onions (scallions) and ginger. Enjoy the crispy texture and audible crunch of the fried noodles then wait for the roasted chilli powder to deliver its earthy kick. Be sure to squeeze a generous amount of lemon juice over your bowl to add another taste element and make every ingredient sing. Party time? Khow suey is ideal for entertaining large groups – line up the noodles, curry and assorted toppings and invite your guests to ‘build your own bowl’, tailor-making their dish to their own palate.
Other recipes in this series:
US-style eggs baked in avocado
Indonesian nasi goreng
Have you recreated any of the dishes featured in this series so far? Share your pictures with us on Twitter and Instagram by tagging @lonelyplanet. For more great recipes, check out Lonely Planet’s book The World’s Best Bowl Food.