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Khow Suey -- A Burmese soup

Updated: Apr 23, 2021

We love Burmese food at home. I grew up having this soup at home, the perfect blend of Indian and Asian flavors had me hooked from the first time I tasted it.

This is my mother's recipe. She got it from a family that fled Myanmar a generation ago. The extra work is so worth the effort. Finally, the accompaniments make this soup special. These sides provide a variety of additional flavors, textures and aromas.

For more recipes created by me click here.

Serving size is for 12-15

For the broth:

2 cups besan flour (Chickpea flour)

1 can coconut milk

1 onion diced fine

1/2 teaspoon haldi, or fresh turmeric. I like the fresh better

Water 8-9 pints

2 tablespoons oil

Salt to taste

Sauté the onions in the oil till light golden. Add the turmeric, stir till cooked, add besan and water, Make into a smooth curry. I make it easier by using a hand blender for a few seconds to break up the lumps and puree everything. Simmer for 20-30 minutes till cooked. The consistency should be fairly light but must coat a spoon completely. Set aside. It should feel like silk on your tongue, just yummy. 


1 1/2 kg mutton, chicken or beef, cut into small cubes (or tofu for vegetarians)

1 3/4 kg onions sliced fine

3-4 potatoes, peeled and diced to bite sized pieces (Optional)

1 tablespoon ground fresh ginger

2 tablespoons ground fresh garlic

Chili powder to taste

1 tablespoons cumin powder

2 tablespoons coriander powder

1 teaspoon black pepper ground

Salt to taste

3-4 tablespoons oil (low fat version)

Heat oil and sauté the onions on high till well browned. Add ginger and garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes more. Add all dry spices and sauté for 1 minute more. Add meat and sear till the meat is cooked on the outside. Add a water and simmer slowly for 2 hours, stirring occasionally till the meat is fork tender. You can add the potatoes during the last 30 minutes, if using. Can pressure cook at this stage too. When cooked the curry should be fairly thick and the oil should have separated from the gravy. Taste for seasonings and adjust. 


I serve with both:

Vermicelli noodles - Vietnamese bean noodles and 

Chinese egg noodles about 4mm thick. 

Cook as per packet instructions. Do not mix, I let each guest choose which they would like. 

To serve:

Heat the meat curry, the coconut curry and noodles in three separate bowls. Each person chooses the combination and how much of each they would like. Some folks like their soup runny withy more soup, while others like it thicker with more curry.

Toppings: any or all of these

Lime wedges

Sliced green chilies, jalapeños or Thai birds chilies, fresh

Pickled Thai birds eye chilies, red or green or both, a must, any Asian store. Or the Indian pickled chilies in vinegar.

Fried sliced garlic

Sev, extra fine variety

Spicy peanuts

Barista, fried onions, Asian store or grocery store in the salad aisle

Scallions or spring onions, sliced

Finely diced fresh cilantro

Chili oil, Asian store. I use a Spicy Japanese oil with mustard oil and Japanese chilies. Called La-Yu.

Boiled eggs quartered or I prefer quail eggs whole. Fried eggs, sunny side up also work wonderfully.

Pickled green peppercorns, available in Asian stores in the Thai section. 

Fresh basil

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