Khow Suey (Pakistani Curried Noodles) is a one-pot soup of Burmese origin that cooks in just 30 minutes. Prepared with curried meat and coconut milk, the soup is thickened with gram flour. Served over a bed of egg noodles and accompanied by an array of condiments, it makes for a delicious meal.
Pakistani cuisine has many adaptations of recipes, such as Khow Suey, that have originated from countries that have influenced its history. Some of the most popular ones are authentic Pakistani chicken mulligatawny soup, Indo-Chinese chili chicken, chicken shashlik, and chicken corn soup recipe.
This recipe, known as Khow Suey, Khao Suey, Khao Soi, or Khausa, has as many adaptations as names. Today, it's a very popular recipe in Pakistan and India alike. Whichever version of it you eat, every bite of this coconut milk curry inspired by Burmese Cuisine is pure heaven.
The recipe I am sharing with you today was handed down to me by my cousin's wife. It's not a traditional Memon or Gujarati version, but it's one of the easiest versions I've come across and will always remind me of her.
Why you'll love this recipe
- One pot recipe - Many Khow suey recipes require a separate preparation of the soup and the curried meat. In my recipe, you'll cook everything in just one pot, simplifying the cooking and cleaning process.
- Hearty & filling soup - This is a filling soup. A little goes a long way with the meat, egg noodles, boiled eggs, coconut soup, and toppings.
- Customizable recipe - The condiments alone allow customization of the soup. But if you want to go a step further, change the type of meat or noodles you use for the recipe and personalize it to suit your taste.
- Feeds a large crowd - This is a great recipe for feeding a large crowd. It's very easy to batch and cook it in a larger quantity.
- Chicken tenderloins - Cubed chicken tenderloins are juicy and work best for the coconut curry.
- Cooking oil - Any neutral cooking oil such as canola, avocado, sunflower, or peanut, with a high heat index, can be used for this recipe.
- Onions - I like to use yellow onions for my curries and substitute red onions when I can't source them.
- Garlic paste - Homemade garlic paste always tastes better, but if you don't have time to make it, use store-bought paste.
- Tomatoes - Not everyone adds tomatoes to their Khow Suey, but the recipe I inherited includes them, and my family loves it this way.
- Gram flour - Gram flour, known as 'besan,' is derived from ground chana dal (split brown chickpeas). Chickpea flour is made from white chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, so it is slightly different. For an authentic taste, try and source actual gram flour.
- Spices - This recipe is full of flavor but is not supposed to be spicy. For this reason, I add a simple mix of salt, turmeric, and red chili powder.
- Coconut milk - I always try using full-fat coconut milk for my Khow Suey, as the soup tastes silkier and more delicious this way.
- Egg noodles - Egg noodles are perfect for this curried soup. Their soft and slightly chewy texture holds up well in the curry and doesn't get mushy like other varieties.
Please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions.
Substitutions & variations
- Alter the spices - Add curry paste to the Khow Suey or try cumin, coriander, or lemongrass to add flavor.
- Attempt a vegetarian version - You can still enjoy the curry if you’re a vegetarian! Add vegetables such as baby corn, green beans, bell peppers, and other favorites instead of the meat.
- Make it healthier - Use light coconut milk and whole wheat egg noodles for a healthier version of the Burmese Khow Suey.
- Experiment with different noodles - Egg noodles are my go-to, but spaghetti is a common pairing with khow suey and tastes just as delicious. Try it for a change.
- Try a gluten-free version - Rice noodles make an amazing gluten-free version of the Khow Suey.
- Vary the toppings - Fried onions, fried garlic slices, chili oil, and chopped green chilies all work great as toppings. Get creative and experiment as much as you like with the condiments.
- Use a different meat - Many people make Khow Suey with beef, and some even make it with shrimp. Switch it up once in a while and try a different version.
- Add some broth - To give the base more flavor, add broth instead of water as you cook the curry. This will add more nutritional value along with flavor.
- First step - Dice the onion and saute it in preheated oil. It must be cooked to a light brown color before the garlic paste is added and sauteed for 30 seconds.
- Second step - Add the cubed chicken tenderloins and saute them till they turn opaque.
- Third step - Add all the spices when the chicken is halfway done and mix until all the pieces are coated.
- Fourth step - Add the gram flour to this mixture and stir it to roast it.
- Fifth step - Roast the chicken, onions, garlic, spices, and gram flour until everything is well roasted and smells nutty. If the gram flour starts to stick to the pan, reduce the heat and splash the mixture with some water at periodic intervals.
- Sixth step - Add the tomatoes and saute until they start to water. Add the 4 cups of water, cover, and cook till the tomatoes completely dissolve, the chicken is cooked, and the curry thickens.
- Seventh step - Add coconut milk, cover, and cook for a few minutes to fuse the flavors.
- Eighth step - Uncover and check the curry to see if it coats the back of the spoon. If it needs to be thicker, cook it uncovered till it's ready.
- Dry roast the gram flour - Do this in a non-stick frying pan to bring out the nutty aroma of the gram flour.
- Keep water nearby - This will help if the gram flour sticks to the bottom of your cooking pot. Splash small amounts of water as you roast your meat mixture and gram flour.
- If you want a thicker curry, use coconut cream - If you want a thick curry in a short time, use coconut cream instead of milk. You won't have to spend much time reducing the soup this way.
- Do a final check for salt and chilies - The gram flour and coconut milk absorb a lot of the flavor in the curry, so I always do a final check and adjust the salt and chilies after I add the coconut milk to ensure the soup isn't bland.
Burma, or as we know it today, Myanmar, had a huge Indian and Muslim presence in the past. The Memons, business owners, and traders from Gujarat, in India, fell in love with the recipe, and it traveled back with them to India. After 1947 and the partition of Pakistan and India, it found its way to Pakistan.
If you've dry-roasted the gram flour, you don't have to worry about roasting it after you add it to the meat mixture. Rely on the water to help prevent it from sticking to your pan, and cook on medium heat at this point. The water will make a thick slurry. Make sure to add water 1 cup at a time from this point on to prevent lumps from forming, and continue to cook on medium heat. If the flour does stick, don't scrape it off. Just leave the burnt residue in the pan and shift your soup to another pan to keep it silky smooth.
Khow suey lasts 3-5 days in the fridge in an air-tight container. I usually mix the noodles and curry in a bowl to reheat and then heat it in the microwave. Freezing the Khow Suey isn't something I recommend, but if you decide to do so, freeze the noodles and curried soup separately. Defrost it in the fridge overnight, combine it in a microwave-safe dish, heat, and enjoy.
Other recipes you may like
For more Pakistani recipes like this, check out 20 popular Pakistani recipes. If you decide to try this recipe, Please don't forget to leave a rating and comment below! If you take a picture then tag me on Instagram! Thank You!
Khow Suey (Pakistani Curried Noodles)
- ¼ cup cooking oil
- 1 onion
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- 2 lbs boneless chicken
- 2 tsps red chilli powder
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 2 tsps salt
- ½ cup gram flour (besan) (see notes)
- 2 tomatoes (see notes)
- 4 cups water
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 package egg noodles (see notes)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 eggs
- 4 green onions
- ½ cup crispy noodles (see notes)
- 2 lemons
- 4 tbsp crushed red pepper
- Heat the cooking oil and saute the finely diced onion in it.
- Once the onion is light brown, add the garlic paste and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add the cubed chicken pieces and sear them till they are no longer pink and translucent.
- Add all of the spices and saute for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the gram flour(besan) and roast for a minute or two (see notes)
- Add the diced tomatoes and saute till they release water.
- Add the 4 cups of water to the mixture, stir, cover, and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes (see notes)
- Add the coconut milk and simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Fill a 6 quart cooking pot ¾ full of water, add a teaspoon full of salt and bring the water to a boil.
- Once the water is at a rolling boil, add the packet of egg noodles to it and boil till the pasta is cooked.
- Drain the water and toss the pasta with the 2 tbsp of olive oil so it doesn't stick together.
- Hard boil the eggs, and then cool, peel, and dice them.
- Chop both the green and white parts of the green onions.
- Quarter the lemons.