Khow Suey is a Burmese (from Burma) noodle dish with a delicately spiced coconut milk sauce and is served up with an array of different contrasting condiments/toppings that takes this dish to the next level and give it a burst of amazing flavors.
My mom made Khow Suey as a Sunday special family meal when I was growing up and it was easily one of my favorites, still is. I can’t quite pin point what it is about this dish that I love so much, whether it’s the delicate yet creamy coconut milk sauce, the tanginess of the lime you add at the end or the mix of garnishes you put on top…the crispy garlic and onion with the freshness of cilantro and green onion…not to mention the heat when you bite into a sliced chili pepper…..yummm. I’m drooling just thinking about it.
My mom always used spaghetti instead of traditional egg noodles and it worked so well, I’ve just always stuck with it. So while this may not be a traditional version of the dish (I also don’t use any flour/lentil for thickening), it’s my mom’s recipe…the one I love.
Do let me know in a comment below if you try it and like it…I’m excited to share this one!
- 1 pack (1lb) of Spaghetti
- 2 large Chicken breasts
- 1 tbsp grated garlic (about 4 cloves)
- 1/2 tbsp grated fresh ginger (about an inch)
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 4 dry red chili peppers
- 10-15 curry leaves (can you Thai basil instead)
- 2 cans (14oz each) Coconut milk
- 1/2 a lime
- Salt to taste
- 6 eggs
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2-3 shallots
- 2-3 green onions
- handful of chopped cilantro
- lime wedges
- 1-2 chili peppers
- 3-4 tbsps vegetable oil for frying
- – Start by cutting the chicken breasts into small bite sized pieces and toss them in a bowl.
- – Add 1 tablespoon of freshly grated garlic and half that of freshly grated ginger to the chicken.
- – Sprinkle over the turmeric powder and some salt. Mix everything well so that all the chicken pieces are coated in the marinade. Let the chicken sit in the fridge, marinating while you get everything else ready.
- – Next, prepare all the toppings and garnishes. Hard boil the eggs, roughly chop the cilantro and finely slice the green onion and chili peppers at an angle. Set them aside in little condiment bowls.
- – Finely slice the shallots and garlic (I used a mandolin slicer).
- – Heat 3-4 tablespoons of oil in a small wok/skillet. Then fry the garlic slices until they turn a light golden. Remove them as soon as they turn golden (it’s literally a few seconds from golden to burnt) using a slotted spoon and place them on a paper napkins to drain the excess oil.
- – Separate the onion layers, into strands and fry them in the same oil the same way you fried the garlic, 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 onion with a slotted spoon and drain it as well.
- – Transfer the same oil (now flavored with garlic and onion) to a large pot. We’ll use it to brown the chicken and make the sauce.
- – In the meantime, boil your spaghetti according to the instructions on the packet. you can use chinese style egg noodles, but I’ve always just preferred spaghetti for this dish although it’s not traditional.
- – Once the oil is hot in the big pot, work quickly and add the cumin seeds, dried red peppers and curry leaves to the oil. They’ll immediately start sputtering and will brown quick so give it a stir.
- – Add the marinated chicken pieces and fry them with the spices until they turn white or brown slightly..
- – Lower the heat to low-medium and pour in the 2 cans of coconut milk (I used one regular and one can of lite coconut milk) and season it with salt. Bring it up to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
- – Once the sauce has been simmering for about 10 minutes and the chicken is cooked through, turn off the heat. You can add the noodles to the sauce and mix it together or serve the sauce separately….but before you do squeeze the juice of half a lime into the sauce for a touch of tanginess. It lifts up the whole dish, I promise!
- – Serve the noodles hot with all the assortment of condiments/toppings/garnishes so everyone can customize the dish to their taste. I personally like all the toppings…and lots of it! Sluuuurp!
My husband asked me to make Khow Suey for him (his mouth was watering as he spoke about having it at his friends house as a kid and that his friends mum’s khow suey was the best!)I’d never heard of it- tried your recipe and he couldn’t stop praising me. It was delicious. Thank you. Last night he had his friends over for the first time since our marriage so I made it again and the guests were so impressive with it. they enjoyed putting on the toppings and my husband was so proud of me. So I made a promise to write to you and thank you, and you mum!
That is so lovely to hear Fatema. Khow Suey brings back such warm memories for me, it’s easily one of my favorites. It’s a fairly simple recipe to make too. Thanks for writing in, it was truly heart warming to hear your story. =)
I really want to try this. What are the eggs for though? They are not shown in the last picture nor mentioned in the process of recipe
The hard boiled eggs are a garnish as shown in the last picture.
I’m completely obsessed with this recipe! Khow Suey is one of my most favorite and memorable recipes from childhood, and I’m so excited to be able to make it now! I have made this for SO many people and they all rave about it.
Kasturi Ray says
Was searching for an authentic khow shey recipe. Happy I reached your site. Will be making it for my family tomorrow. Loved the way you have meticulously explained every step & the quantities to be used.
My Mom grew up in burma ,spend her whole life there. This is not an authentic recipe. It misses the chicken gravy which we put in it alongside coconut gravy.
As stated in the post Huma, this isn’t a traditional Khow Suey recipe, it’s a personalized version of it.
Faiza LiaquatMerchant Hussain says
Yup that s the one my family uses
Your recipe left out the gram flour (basin flour) which is a vital ingredient for khao swè. Also, the true Burmese recipe will not need the cumin powder. Adding cumin powder to it Indianises this Burmese delicacy into an Indian curry. Also left out were the fried hard tofu, another vital ingredient,
As CLEARLY stated in the write up before the recipe, I have made note that this isn’t the traditional recipe (just my version of the dish) and have even mentioned leaving out the gram flour for thickening. If you’re looking for an authentic Burmese recipe, please look else where.
Faiza LiaquatMerchant Hussain says
We never used gram flour or tofu and the dish was handed from a Burmese family
Tried this recipe tonight and it turned out fantastic!! I did add chilli flakes and slit green chillies to the gravy while it was simmering because I eat spicier food than most but other than that followed everything as explained. My inlaws are memon and tend to cook this often but they spend literally a better part of the day preparing, took me barely 45 minutes! Thanks so much for this! This is going in my recipe book!
Tried a veggie version of this and it turned out delicious! Thank you so much for such a quick and easy khow suey recipe 🙂
Hi! This is my family’s favourite too! I too have a recipe handed down from my mom ( similar to your’s) but I like mine with meat as it has a more robust flavour. I’m making it tonight but I wanted to compliment you on your wonderful site……….great pictures and very easy recipes.
Hi there Noreen,
Your Khow Suey recipe is superb! and delicious. I cooked it yesterday and everyone went slurppp!
My mother use to cook it for us when were kids. Besides the toppings you have my mother use to add roasted peanuts nicely crushed as one of the toppings.
You have presented the recipes in an easy and a meticulous way and the pictures are excellent!
Thanks so much for the compliments.I have no idea why I have never done roasted peanuts as a topping?! It sounds perfect and very fitting for the dish. I’m definitely going to try it next time! Thanks!
I’ve made this dish from several iterations of my mom’s, aunt’s and other family members Khow-suey recipes, and since we are Anglo-Indian we too use Spaghetti noodles versus the real deal, and I too like it this way. Here in California, I’ve had several opportunities to make this dish for work events, family dinners and it’s always been a huge hit. It was nice to incorporate some of the nuances of your recipe and I’ve enjoyed re-making it with some twists, thank you so much for the excellent explanation and the wonderful pictures of this very tasty dish.
Hi Noreen, I was brought up with Khow Suey from the minute I could eat solid food. My parents were born in India, although from Portuguese/British descent and I was born in England two years after they emigrated to England in 1966. My mother befriended a young girl who had travelled across land from Burma to India when war broke out in Burma in the early 1940s, which is how they came across the recipe. My children have also been brought up with Khow Suey, but when my daughter asked me to make it recently, I panicked because I couldn’t find the recipe. Luckily I found you!! Am about to try it out this weekend, so I’ll let you know the results! Thank you.
Love this dish. I use egg noodles and I also fry some to use as topping. They are in most supermarkets. Can use Singapore noodles also. Delicious. Thank you.
I followed your recipe to the letter except I used angel hair pasta. Turned out delicious. Thank you.
Manolo Cura says
It’s my first time to cook & try. Unique & outstanding incomparable!!! Love it…..
Manolo Cura says
Everyone wants me to cook often!
Faiza LiaquatMerchant Hussain says
This is a quick Khao Sai will be making it tonight
I used your recipe to make Khow Suey for the first time. Both my husband and I were craving it. Your recipe is just the best! We both loved it! it’s super easy, and the flavors are amazing. I’ll be making it again for my husband’s birthday when we have friends over in a few days. Thanks to you and your mom:) Meanwhile I’ll also try out some of your other recipes!
Hi Jisha, Thank you so much for the compliments and I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe!
Wow, I am definitely try it.
Ratish Mehrotra says
Why is spaghetti used here? Can ordinary noodles be used instead?
If you actually read the post I explain why I use spaghetti. It’s personal preference, you can use traditional egg noodles or any kind you like instead.
One word ma’am, FANTABULOUS!!! (if that’s a word, :P) I tired your version, spiced it with red fried chilli and roasted groundnuts as garnish. And it was just superb. Into my personal recipe book for Sure. A big thank you!!
Sanah Dewan says
Hi, what a great recipe! Was just wondering if it would be required to add Besan (Gram flour) and chicken stock as well? (As seen in other recipes)
You can definitely use besan for thickening the sauce to your desired consistency. I don’t use chicken stock as the chicken pieces flavor the sauce enough, but you may add it if you’d like.
This recipe looks so delicious. I am a vegetarian, could you please let me know how to customize this for vegetarians? Just replace chicken with vegetables?
Amazing recipe!! So simple and well explained. Have sent it to my son to try out too. Thank you very much Noreen for sharing your mums recipe. Will surely try more of your recipes.
I must say i tried this and it was just drlicious. Thank you
Amazinggg recipe! So easy and absolutely delicious
Thank you for this amazing recipe. Absolutely yummy and oh so easy. I made it for dinner tonight and my family enjoyed it!
Also, I don’t know why you are receiving so much flak for this not being authentic – it tasted amazing and that matters the most! 🙂