Exploring Burmese Cuisine: Khow Suey (Curried Chicken and Noodles in Coconut Milk Broth)

Exploring Burmese Cuisine: Khow Suey (Curried Chicken and Noodles in Coconut Milk Broth)

Burma (officially known as Myanmar); a small landlocked nation in South Asia overshadowed by giants such as China, India and Thailand. Mostly in the news for political reasons, its cuisine has yet to be explored. Culinary conversations about South-East Asian food always revolve around Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, hence Burmese cuisine always manages to slip through the cracks. To any food lovers surprise, this undetected culinary gem is exploding with taste, colors and aromas. The only way to bring Burmese cuisine to the fore is by understanding their flavors and creating them in your kitchen.

Heavily inspired by the fare of its neighbors, China, Thailand and India, Burma adapts foreign flavors into local manna to make it their own signature dish. One such dish that I have had at numerous occasions, mostly home-cooked, is Khow Suey. In essence the use of coconut milk can be attributed to Thai influence, but when the whole dish comes together, along with the use of various condiments, the dish stamps its own individual identity. For years I have been searching the internet and various cookbooks to find the recipe for Khow Suey, but the results were fruitless. Either they were unnecessarily complicated or very bare. To my surprise, where most entries on a search engine coughs up millions of hits, Khow Suey barely had any. It was then when it dawned upon me, the fragrance and taste of this dish deserved more, it had to be made public knowledge. The solution was research and compilation. It required me to study the information I had on hand and then use the bits that were necessary. After that it was simply a test of my own palate. Luckily, first time proved to be a charm.

Chicken Shopping Tip

Buy whole chickens and ask the butcher to quarter them for you. You will save an average of $5 per pound, or more.

Chicken Cooking Tip

Allow meat to rest for at least ten minutes before slicing into it; otherwise, the juices will leak out.

Chicken Wine Pairing

Pinot noir, gamay, merlot, zinfandel, carménère, pinotage, or grenache with grilled, roasted, or other simply cooked chicken; chardonnay, pinot gris/grigio, pinot blanc, or chenin blanc with chicken in cream or light tomato sauce or with chicken crêpes or croquettes; sauvignon blanc or sémillon with fried chicken; viognier with spiced chicken dishes.