Known as Khow Suey, Khao Suey, Khao Soi or Khausa, this is a recipe that has as many adaptations as names. Whichever version of it you eat, every bite of this coconut flavored Burmese curry is pure heaven . Burma, or as we know it today, Myanmar, had a huge Indian and Muslim presence in the past, one of the largest groups settled there being the Memons, who were business owners from Gujrat, India. It is believed that they were originally deployed to Burma during World War II, many chosing to make it their permanent home after the War. Primarily businessmen and traders, they continuing to do business with their family and acquaintances in India, the curry thus traveling with them and finding a second home in India. After the partition of Pakistan and India in 1947, the recipe travelled to Karachi, Pakistan along with the migration of the Memons and it is believed that "Khausa" as they call it is such an integral part of their cuisine, many don't even realize that it is of Burmese origin.
From what I've heard and researched, the original Burmese recipe is more like a light soup with chicken, coconut milk and gram flour that is enjoyed at breakfast and dinner. The Memons, traditionally curry eaters, adapted it to suit their tastebuds and it evolved into more of a thick coconut curry, often made with beef as well as chicken. The recipe that I am familiar with and sharing today was handed down to me by a dear cousin and is a little different from both of these, but over the years I have tasted multiple varieties of this delectable dish and none have ever disappointed.
Besides being delicious, I find this recipe very quick and easy to make as it's all cooked in one pot (some methods have have multiple steps and require multiple cooking utensils but my recipe is very straightforward) . It's perfect for when you're entertaining a small group of people as all the toppings make for a beautiful presentation and it allows your guests to pick and chose what to add based on their personal preferences. I serve mine with egg noodles but the traditional Burmese recipe calls for Spaghetti and either one will work great for the base ( a friends son even likes his with Rice! Feel free to experiment and add your personal touch) .
INGREDIENTS FOR CURRY ¼ Cup Cooking Oil 2 Pounds Boneless Chicken ½ cup Besan(Gram Flour) 2 Medium Tomatoes* 1 Teaspoon Garlic 1 Medium Onion 2 Teaspoons Red Chilli Powder ½ Teaspoon Turmeric 2 Teaspoons Salt ¼ Cup Oil 1 Can Coconut Milk 1 Packet Egg Noodles TOPPINGS Hard Boiled Eggs Chopped Green Onions Chopped Crunchy Noodles** Lemons Quartered Crushed Red Pepper DIRECTIONS 1. Heat The oil and brown the chopped onion in it . 2.Add the cubed chicken pieces with the garlic and sear till the pink disappears. 3.Add the spices and sautÃ© for 2-3 minutes. 4.Add the besan(gram flour) and roast for a minute or two. 5.Then add the tomatoes and 2 cups water to mixture.*** 6. Stir to ensure there are no lumps in the mixture and simmer for 15 minutes. 7.Then add the coconut milk and simmer for another 15 minutes.
*If you don't have fresh tomatoes on hand, or want added convenience, you can add a ⅓ cup of crushed canned tomatoes.
** These are the crunchy noodles I use as my topping.
***At this point the mixture will look sludgy and almost like a butter chicken. After it simmers for a while and once you add the coconut milk the consistency will be perfect and as seen in the picture.