Khao Suey (Burmese Style Curried Noodle Soup)

February 24, 2015
7 Ratings
Photo by Alpha Smoot
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

Khao suey is a rich and indulgent curried bowl of coconut soup that is cooked with noodles and served with a delightful melange of garnishes. In fact, the garnishes remind me of the concept of deconstructed ramen. This dish was exported from Myanmar to Eastern India and I have fond memories of it from childhood. I never did have a clear recipe for those brimming bowls of goodness that my grandmother affectionately served up; however, over time I have created my own recipe using fresh rice noodles, which keeps the recipe gluten-free and also gives it a softer touch. It can be made with regular noodles if desired, and for a vegan version, you can use shitake mushrooms instead of the chicken. —Rinku Bhattacharya /Spice Chronicles

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Rinku Bhattacharya /Spice Chronicles is a spice-loving blogger who lives just outside of New York City.
WHAT: A spicy, coconutty soup to give everyday chicken soup a run for its money.
HOW: Chop up all the vegetables in your CSA share and simmer them with chicken and rice noodles in a rich coconut milk broth. Garnish with fresh vegetables and eggs, and slurp every last noodle.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The cozy, comforting nature of chicken noodle soup gets kicked up with spices, long rice noodles, and lots of vegetables—and gains creaminess and sweetness from coconut milk. We may never go back to the chicken broth-and-carrots stuff. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the curry base
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken, cubed
  • 2 teaspoons powdered coriander
  • 1 teaspoon powdered cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3/4 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup puréed tomatoes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 3 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped cauliflower
  • 6 ounces rice noodles (medium thickness), preferably fresh
  • 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • To garnish
  • 1/4 cup oil for frying
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • Sliced jalapeno peppers
  • Sliced scallions
  • Thinly sliced carrots
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil, add the red onion, and cook for about five minutes, until soft and wilted. Keep stirring until the onion begins to turn pale golden at the edges.
  2. Add the finely grated ginger and the garlic and mix well.
  3. Add the chicken, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and red cayenne pepper and mix well.
  4. Cook the chicken for about 2 minutes, until no longer pink.
  5. Add in the puréed tomatoes if using and the tamari or soy sauce. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Mix in the broth and the coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Add the zucchini, red bell pepper, and the cauliflower and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.
  8. Add in the noodles and cook until they're al dente (if using fresh rice noodles, this will only take a couple of minutes).
  9. While the soup is cooking, heat the oil and fry the garlic until crisp and golden. Lift out with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl.
  10. Add the thinly sliced shallots to the hot oil and fry until crisp and place in a bowl.
  11. Arrange the remaining garnishes in individual bowls and serve with the noodle soup.
  12. Cut the lime, squeeze the juice into the soup, and add in the chopped cilantro. Serve with the garnishes.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • sevenfaces
  • AntoniaJames
  • Chelsey1818
  • clcatto
  • QueenSashy

15 Reviews

skeefer January 20, 2020
Fabulous soup, will add this one to the rotation!
Amanda January 21, 2019
Thank you for sharing this recipe! It was SOOO DELICIOUS and easy to make!
Janet February 1, 2016
I just finished eating this for lunch. It is absolutely delicious! I added a splash of lemongrass-mint vinegar to my bowl just before serving. Next time I will use thicker noodles. I only had brown rice ramen on hand which worked fine but it is too thin to cook al dente. I will make this again!
sevenfaces October 21, 2015
This recipe scratched my burmese noodle itch! Didn't have cauliflower or bell pepper, and I added some splashes of fish sauce to the soup at the end. Really good. The next time I make this will involve several types of tofu - can't wait!
AntoniaJames August 17, 2015
Excellent dish! I made this on Friday using fish and good homemade fish stock. I don't care for bell pepper, so I left it out, but did at the last minute thrown in some leftover cooked Blue Lake beans. Fish (cod end pieces - cost effective and perfect for this) went in at the very end as well. I used fresh thin lo mein noodles from Chinatown, as my family likes them. I'll definitely make this again, also with chicken. ;o)
Chelsey1818 August 15, 2015
clcatto August 14, 2015
I fell in love with the vegetarian version of this dish in Chiangmai. Can't wait to try this one! It brings back great memories
Rinku B. August 14, 2015
If you try it do let me know what you think.
SS August 13, 2015
Step 10 says to fry the thinly sliced shallots, but I don't see shallots listed in the recipe. Is that supposed to refer to the scallions?
Rinku B. August 14, 2015
Yes, good catch!
QueenSashy August 13, 2015
What a gorgeous soup and I so enjoyed discovering your blog! It is a treasure of recipes. Congrats on being the finalist.
Siggy March 20, 2015
Hi! Im planning to make this and I'm wondering why you made the puréed tomatoes optional to the dish. What's the difference with or without the tomatoes?
Rinku B. August 13, 2015
Hi Siggy,

I personally love tomatoes and feel that it adds a nice tangy depth to the dish. Having said that it is my addition to the recipe, not really traditional hence it is optional.
Annie S. March 4, 2015
This was absolutely delicious! I was so happy that there were leftovers because I woke up thinking about it. I have good Burmese cookbook ( recent purchase) and I just needed a slight push to get started. Now that I have tried this I will continue along that road.
Rinku B. March 9, 2015
Thanks so much for testing my recipe!