Burmese Noodle Dish — A Memorable Meal
Growing up in India, this meal was one Mom made when we were having lots of people over. You basically make noodles, a coconutty Burmese gravy or sauce, and an array of contrasting toppings and accompaniments. Serve it family style and everyone customizes their bowl to their own liking
This dish reminds me of my childhood because eating Khau Sway meant we had cousins, friends, extended family, or neighbors over, usually for a long, wonderful, delicious Sunday afternoon meal. Not sure what I love most about the meal – the delicate, creamy coconut sauce, the tangy lime juice squeezed over, the crispy garlic or fried noodles, the freshness of the cilantro or the heat of the green chilies and red chili powder – but together they create this amazing burst of flavor. MMM, I can just taste that right now!
I have also had the opportunity to eat this in a traditional Burmese household when visiting Singapore which lets me know that my Mom’s recipe is pretty authentic. At home we always made this with chicken, but I have some vegan options listed in the notes at the bottom of the recipe. The noodles and gravy are fairly simple to make, but all the toppings and accompaniments take a while to prepare – believe me, though, it is worth the effort. Since this recipe scales well for a crowd, it is a perfect recipe for a family gathering. At this time of year in India, when many festivals are being celebrated, I can’t help reminisce about those happy times gorging myself on this amazing dish.
I love bringing back all those happy memories from my youth, and invite you to BE BRAVE, let your tastebuds take a trip around the world and be sure to let me know what you thought of the adventure.
1 lb boneless chicken *
2 medium sized onions, roughly chopped
10-12 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of chickpea flour
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1 teaspoon of red chili powder
1 ½ cups chicken stock *
½ cup of unsweetened thick/regular coconut milk
1 cup of unsweetened Light coconut milk
1 lb thin egg noodles or spaghetti or rice noodles *
2 tablespoons of Unflavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Salt to taste
Toppings and Garnishes
Chopped, deep fried garlic
Chopped hard boiled eggs
Fried uncooked noodles
I cup Fried Onions (French’s)
3-4 green chilies or Thai chilies
1 bunch cilantro or parsley
1 cup mint
4-6 spring onions
Small bowl of Red chili powder or cayenne powder
3-4 limes or lemons
Cut boneless chicken into bite sized portions. Roughly chop the onions and then puree in a food processor. Put aside.
Separately puree the garlic cloves or put the cloves through a garlic press.
Make a thickish slurry by mixing a little water and the chickpea flour. Ensure there are no lumps. Put aside
In a Dutch oven or deep saucepan, heat the oil and add the ground onions. Cook stirring well for 4-6 minutes. Add the pressed garlic and stir, cooking another 4-5 minutes till you smell that garlic aroma.
Add the chicken pieces and stir, cooking for an additional 5 minutes, then add the turmeric and chili powder and cook 3-5 minutes more until the chicken is well coated with the onion mixture and beginning to brown.
Add stock and bring to a simmer. Add the thin/light coconut milk and when it starts to simmer add the chickpea flour mix. Keep stirring till the sauce boils and starts to thicken. Reduce the heat and cook for 5-8 minutes to ensure the chicken and the chickpea flour are fully cooked. Add salt to taste and stir well. Remove from heat and begin to prepare the toppings and garnishes (see below)
When ready to serve, cook the noodles according to package directions.
Re-heat the Khau Sway sauce ensuring that there is enough liquid for a good amount of gravy, adding more stock as needed. When hot add the thick/regular coconut milk, stir and heat through. Serve the gravy and noodles family style with dishes of toppings for individual customizing.
Preparing Toppings and Garnishes
Heat ¼ cup oil in a saucepan on medium heat
Break some uncooked noodles into small pieces and fry till light brown and crunchy. Remove and place on a paper towel, then remove to a dish
Thinly slice 6 cloves of garlic. Add to the hot oil and cook until light brown (be careful not to let it burn). Remove and place on a paper towel, then remove to a dish
Boil eggs (1 egg for every two people you are serving). Peel and chop and place in a dish
Chop the mint, parsley/cilantro, spring onions, chilies into separate dishes.
Place a tablespoon of red chili powder or cayenne powder in a small dish, cut limes or lemons into wedges in a separate plate.
Serve the French’s Fried Onions in a dish.
How to Serve
Serve the noodles and gravy in separate serving bowls in the center of the table.
Place the smaller dishes of toppings and accompaniments along the table.
Each guest helps themselves to some noodles, then gravy and any combination of accompaniments they prefer (don’t bypass the lime or lemon juice though!)
Total Time: 60-75 minutes
* You can make a fabulous vegetarian/vegan version by substituting the chicken with a combination of cauliflower, green beans, zucchini, mushrooms, tofu or veggies of your choice and also substitute the chicken stock with a vegetable stock
* I bought my egg noodles at a local Asian market, but you can also substitute with regular thin spaghetti or rice noodles to make it gluten free.
Categories: Entrée, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Khau Sway, Khow Swey, Khao Sway, Burmese Noodle Dish, Chicken, Toppings, Fried Garlic, Fried Noodles, Coconut Milk, Egg Noodles, Vegetarian Entrée, Show-Stopper Entrée, Plant Based Meal, Entertaining, Coconut Curry
This reminds me of a Thai dish I learned to make from a Thai chef: Chaing Mai Noodle Curry. Will have try this Burmese recipe out!
Yes Susan, this is very similar to the Thai version, but this is the one that I grew up on, and I love it!!
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