Khow Suey (Burmese Noodle Soup)
Updated: Feb 19, 2021
Wishing everyone a Happy New Year! If you're looking for a comforting dish to ring in the new year, and are a fan of Vietnamese pho or Japanese ramen, this soup is for you! Khow Suey is a delicious Burmese noodle soup made up of egg noodles, curried beef or chicken, and coconut milk, and it's served with a variety of condiments. I was first introduced to this soup by my friend and since then, it has become a family favorite at my house. We could all use a little more warmth in our lives during the winter and I would encourage everyone to add this hearty soup to their rotation this season.
What I love best about this soup are the condiments, which can be customized to suit one's preferences. Like my daughter says, Khow Suey is definitely a messy food with all the slurping, but so worth it for the taste! The delicate yet creamy coconut milk sauce, the tanginess of the lime, the fresh garnishes on top along with the crispy garlic and onion, not to mention the heat when you bite into a sliced chili pepper- I'm drooling just thinking about it.
Tips for the best Khow Suey: I use homemade chicken stock since it's easy to make and can be frozen for other meals but of course, store-bought stock will work fine. Also, I use thin pasta (spaghetti) for my recipe instead of egg noodles, but you can use whichever you prefer.
Khow Suey (Burmese Noodle Soup)
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
For the soup
2 large chicken breasts (if making chicken stock, use the meat from the chicken)
1 tbsp grated garlic (about 4 cloves)
1/2 tbsp grated fresh ginger (about an inch)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
5-10 curry leaves
1 small onion sliced
4 cups of chicken stock (store-bought or homemade chicken stock )
2 cans (14 oz each) coconut milk
One cup of water
Salt to taste
For the Toppings/garnishes
1 pack (1lb) of spaghetti or a packet of egg noodles
6 cloves garlic
2-3 green onions
A handful of chopped cilantro
5-6 chili peppers
3-4 tbsp vegetable oil for frying
Cut the chicken breasts into small, bite-sized pieces and toss them in a bowl. Add the freshly grated garlic and grated ginger and mix to combine. Cover and let the chicken marinate in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. If using the chicken used to make the stock, just shred the chicken and put it directly in the soup.
While the chicken is marinating, start to prepare the toppings and garnishes. Hard boil the eggs, roughly chop the cilantro, and finely slice the green onion and chili peppers. Set them aside in small condiment bowls.
Prepare your spaghetti or egg noodles according to the instructions on the packet.
For the crispy condiments, finely slice the shallots and garlic. Heat 3-4 tablespoons of oil in a small wok/skillet and fry the garlic slices until they turn light golden. Remove them as soon as they turn golden (keep a close eye on them as it's only a few seconds between golden and burnt) and using a slotted spoon, place them on paper napkins to drain the excess oil.
Separate the shallot layers into strands and fry them in the same oil until it turns golden. It’s best to do them in batches if your pan is small so that it browns evenly. Remove the fried onions with a slotted spoon and drain them on paper napkins.
Transfer the same oil (now flavored with garlic and onion) to a large pot. Once the oil is hot, add the curry leaves and onions and cook until the onions become translucent in color. Add the turmeric and mix well.
Next, add the marinated (or shredded) chicken and fry until browned. Add the chicken stock to the pot and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat to low-medium and pour in the coconut milk, water, and salt to taste. Bring it up to a simmer, stirring occasionally. You can skim off any excess fat if you wish. Once the sauce has been simmering for about 10 minutes and the chicken is cooked through, turn off the heat. You could add the cooked noodles in the soup now or later just before eating.
Serve the soup hot with any condiments/garnishes you prefer. I personally like all the toppings (and lots of each)!
For the soup (without toppings)