A perfect dish for winter nights – this is a simple dish with heartwarming flavors. It is a warm bowl of noodle soup with hearty coconut flavored broth, eggs, and meat for protein, an assortment of veggies, and other toppings. This is one of those dishes that you can make for a group and everyone can customize it to have it their way.
About the dish
One can find many variations of one-pot hearty soupy noodles in South East Asia. They vary in flavors but all follow the same concept – noodles, a flavorful broth, protein of your choice, and other toppings to adjust to your taste. With the variety of flavorings like chili oil, soy sauce, fried onions, and spices it is easy to customize these to fit your taste buds.
Khow suey is such a noodle soup typically made with egg noodles, beef or chicken, coconut, curry spices, and a variety of toppings. This dish traces its origins to Burma. Burmese diaspora brought it to different parts of the world – East India, Memoni communities in Pakistan, and Nepal to mention a few. Depending on the cook the taste will change, but all recipes will have – noodles, coconut milk, some protein, and curry spices.
Long egg noodles are the traditional choice to make Khow Suey. But, use any noodles you have – angel hair pasta, spaghetti or, my favorite, rice noodles.
Coconut milk curry is the soup base. There are onions, ginger, garlic, curry spices, and coconut milk. Add a few drops of fish sauce, sprigs of cilantro, stalks of lemongrass, and shrimp paste to the stock to give it more authentic southeastern flavors.
I have used chicken in this recipe, but thinly sliced beef or lamb are great too. Or add leftover curried meat or rotisserie chicken.
A variety of toppings make this dish even more delicious. My favorites are the boiled eggs and the fried onions. The caramelized flavors are great in curry and no doubt go great with the soup. Veggies – steamed or fresh are great toppings as well or can be added to the stock as it cooks.
This here is a hearty bowl of soup. I have used cubed chicken and an assortment of veggies here. My favorite toppings are on it as well – boiled eggs and caramelized onions. This is the cold weather version. On warmer days i would be serving it with more fresh veggies and broth :-).
Making it vegetarian or vegan
For vegetarian vegan adaptations of this dish don’t use the meat and eggs and add tofu or increase the vegetables.
Cultures around the world evolved using locally available resources to the best of their abilities and that included meat and seafood. Is there a need to reinvent these dishes? In my opinion, no. Just take the ingredients that you like and make a vegetarian, vegan or any allergen-free version. It is an adaptation of the original dish and may be a stepping stone to creating an entirely different recipe worthy of its own fame.
- 1 lb Egg Noodles or Rice noodles
- 1 Can Coconut milk
- 1 Onion Medium
- 1 inch Ginger
- 4 cloves Garlic
- ½ tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tsp Chili powder adjust to taste
- 2 tsp curry powder or
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1-2 tsp Fish Sauce optional
- 1 tsp shrimp paste optional
- 1 stalk Lemon grass
- Cilantro few sprigs
- 1 Lime Optional
- 4 C Vegetables (beans, bell pepper, mushroom, broccoli florets, baby corn etc.) thinly sliced
- 1 lb Chicken Sliced thin
- Salt & Pepper to taste
Garnish or toppings
- Fried onion
- Crispy fried garlic
- Fried peanuts Crushed
- Fried noodles
- Spring onions chopped
- Boiled eggs
- Soy Sauce
- Chilli oil as required
To make the curry soup base
- Coarsely grind onion, ginger, and garlic. You can also finely mince or grate them.
- Heat oil in a stockpot. When hot add the ground paste and stir fry for 5 minutes until the excess moisture evaporates. Add the spice powders, lemon stalk, and cilantro. Cook until the raw smell of onions disappears.
- Add 6 cups of water and 1 cup of coconut milk. Add a pinch of salt, mix, and bring to a low simmer. Add any uncooked meat or vegetables that need cooking at this point. Mix in fish sauce and shrimp paste, if using. Let it simmer for 20 minutes or longer if the meat or veggies need to finish cooking.
- Remove the lemongrass and cilantro stalks. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
How to serve Khow suey
- Keep the soup base warm.
- Before serving cook noodles as per package instructions.
- When ready to serve stir in the rest of the coconut milk and bring it to a gentle boil. Turn off the heat and season with lemon juice.
- Take a wide bowl or noodle bowl. Place a scoop of the boiled noodles and pour a large ladle full of stock and vegetables over it. Add a dash of chili oil and a sprinkling of chili flakes (as per taste).
- Use the remaining topping as per your taste.
- Shrimp paste, soy sauce, and fish sauce are high in sodium. If using any of these add very little extra salt.
- Total calorie content of this dish depends a lot on the meat, type of noodles and coconut milk used and of course the toppings.
Important: Nutrition Values are estimates. Actuals vary based on ingredients and serving size.