Originally from Burma, Khao-Suey is a popular dish among the Memon & Gujrati community of Pakistan. It comprises of noodles in a coconut or yoghurt based curry, with spicy chicken or beef and an array of condiments which will always include crisps or Slims and a squeeze of lemon juice.
I first heard about Khao Suey at my university when I started my Bachelors – an exotic sounding dish that is a regular dinner meal among the Memon & Gujrati community. The origins of this dish are from Burma, where there used to be a thriving community of people from the sub-continental due to historical trading ties. Burma itself had a trading port setup by the British at Akyub (present-day Sittwe). In March 1962, when the army overthrew the current government industries were nationalized and foreigners (including South Asians) were discouraged from staying and this led to them coming back in settling in present-day India & Pakistan bringing with them back their dishes from back. The above history is from Burma:Rivers of Flavor – this absolutely brilliant book by Noami Duguid on Burmese cuisine.
This is my version of Chicken Khao Suey, made after trying out various versions of the dish, and then tweaking around with recipes till I found out the version I loved.
Khao SueyPrint Recipe
- Coconut Curry:
- ½ tablespoon oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic paste
- 1 tablespoon turmeric/haldi powder
- ¾ cup gram flour/besan, toasted
- 1 can coconut milk (300 ml)
- Salt, to taste
- 3 cups water
- 4 tablespoon oil, divided
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 tomatoes
- 3 green chilies
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon ginger
- 1 tablespoon garlic paste
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric/haldi
- 600 grams boneless chicken, sliced
- 3-4 green chilies, finely sliced
- Fresh coriander, chopped (approximately 1/2 cup)
- 2 spring onions, sliced thinly
- 3 boiled eggs, chopped
- 5-6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced and fried
- Half medium onion, thinly sliced and fried
- Chili Oil/Paste
- 3 lemons, cut into wedges
- Fried Slims, Crisps or Papri for topping
- 600 grams egg noodles - 3 packets of 200 grams each, boiled
For the coconut curry:
Heat oil, and saute garlic paste and turmeric for a minute till the raw flavor is removed.
Add coconut milk, and whisk in the the toasted gram flour/besan making sure there are no lumps. Add salt & water. Keep heating the mixture till it comes to a boil, then lower the heat and cook for 30-45 minutes till it thickens.
Keep stirring after 15 minutes or so.
For the chicken:
Heat 2 tablespoon oil, saute onions till light golden.
Add tomatoes & chills and saute for 2-3 minutes till tomatoes are soft.
Pour the onion, tomato & chilli mixture into a blender and blend with water to a smooth paste.
Add 2 tablespoon oil into the same pan, and turn to medium heat. Add garlic & ginger paste, along with whole cumin seeds and saute for a minute till the cumin seeds pop.
Add the blended tomato-chili paste, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add salt, black pepper, coriander powder, cumin powder, red chili powder and turmeric.
Turn heat to low, and cook for a minute then add sliced chicken.
Cook for a few minutes, then add a cup of water and cook the chicken till meat is tender and oil surfaces. Set it aside.
Warm up the noodles, coconut curry & chicken separately and then take them out in bowls.
The variety of condiments is on personal preference, but lemon, crisps & some form of spicy element (whether chili paste, chutney or raw chilis) is necessary to balance flavors.
Keep condiments in little bowls.
To make a bowl of Khao-suey, first add the noodles in the bowl, then add coconut curry and chicken. Top with your preferred condiments and then mix it up.
Add lemon & crisps right at the end.