Recipe: Burmese Khao Suey

Khao Suey is a full meal, made with boiled noodles, various condiments, curried meat and coconut-flavoured broth.

Shafia Agha February 03, 2013

I first tasted Khao Suey a couple of years back and since then, my love for it has made me test and re-test various recipes and come up with my favourite version.

Contrary to popular belief, Khao Suey is not a ‘memoni’ dish but a Burmese one which is served widely in northern Laos and northern Thailand. It’s a full meal, made with boiled noodles, various condiments, curried meat and coconut-flavoured broth.

I usually serve Khao Suey mixed together but to cater to different palates, it’s best to serve the condiments separately.


For the condiments:

Boiled eggs 6

A bunch of fresh coriander

A bunch of fresh scallions

Green chilies 6-8

Lemons cut into wedges 3

For the chutney:

Cooking oil 1tbsp

Bulb of garlic

Turmeric 1/2 tbsp

Boiling water 1/2 cup

For the chili oil:

Cooking oil 1/2 cup

Red chilies 15-20 whole

For the curried meat:

Breast of chicken 2

Beef 750 g

Onion chopped 1

Cumin seeds 1 tbsp

Ginger 1 tbsp

Garlic paste 1 tbsp

Tomatoes 2 ripe

Green chilies 3-4

Salt, Black pepper, Ground coriander, Ground cumin, Red chili powder 1 tbsp each

Turmeric 1/2 tbsp

Oil 2 tbsp

For the coconut broth:

Coconut milk 250 mls

Gram flour 1 cup

Salt 2 tbsp

Turmeric 2 tbsp

Garlic paste 1 tbsp

Water 1.5 pints

One whole packet of egg/semolina noodles — cooked as per instructions on the packet


For the condiment: Chop boiled eggs into bite-sized pieces and mix finely chopped scallions, coriander and green chilies together.

For the chutney: Coarsely chop garlic and sauté in oil. Add boiling hot water and turmeric and let it simmer until the garlic turns soft and mushy and oil surfaces.

To prepare the chili oil: Heat oil in a pan and add red chilies. Cook for a minute or two and set it aside. Cool and blitz in a food processor. 

For the curried chicken

Slice meat into bite-size pieces. Blend tomatoes and chilies with a cup of water and set aside.

Sauté onions in a heated pan with oil and add whole cumin seeds, ginger/garlic and the tomato-chili paste.

Cook for 2–3 minutes and add salt, black pepper, coriander powder, cumin powder, red chili powder, all-spice and turmeric.

Cook on low heat, stirring and adding a bit of water until oil separates. Then add meat and cook on low heat until the meat is tender and oil surfaces. Set it aside. 

For the coconut broth

Blend gram flour with coconut milk and add water, salt, garlic and turmeric.

Boil the mix and then lower heat and cook for an hour.

Finally adjust seasoning and ‘bhagaar’ with 10 whole red chilies, 10 — 15 curry leaves and a teaspoon of cumin.

Layer noodles in a bowl, top with curried chicken and coconut broth and add condiments to your liking. Serve with masala papri, Slims, crushed peanuts and Thai 7-spice powder.

Preparation time: 45 minutes

Cooking time: 1.5 hours

Shafia Agha works as a PR consultant and runs a food blog: She loves trying out new recipes. Follow her on and @shafiaagha

Published in The Express Tribune, Ms T, January 27th, 2013.

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sebastien | 8 years ago | Reply

cumin, tomato and curry leaves would never would be used in Burma/Myanmar for this dish.. The gram flour has to be roasted/browned slightly before adding to the gravy, again the recipe makes no mention of this.. There's no mention of fish sauce either here, arguably the most important seasoning! what is masala papri and slims btw, are they traditional?

Parvez | 8 years ago | Reply

The small Burmese restaurant off Zam Zama that closed down some time back did a decent version of Khao Suey..............shame it shut down.

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