Basic Burmese kyay oh (475 calories per serve)

‘Kyay oh’ is one of my favourite comfort foods. I described it to my husband as the Burmese equivalent of the Vietnamese noodle soup, ‘pho’. Whereas ‘pho’ is commonly made with beef, ‘kyay oh’ is made with pork and served with a variety of toppings such as pork liver, pork intestine and quail eggs. I like it without these extras and therefore prefer it as a ‘basic’ kyay oh. If you are adding on extra ingredients, you can halve the pork ball mixture.

There are two ways to eat this – the soup noodle version and the dry noodle version (si chet).

Serves 4

Prep time 20 mins
Cook time 1.5 hour

300g rice vermicelli (dry weight)
200g gai choy, chopped
Fried garlic, immersed in peanut oil
For the broth:
500g pork ribs
2 tbsp salt (or to taste)
1 tbsp sugar (or to taste)
2cm piece of ginger, sliced
6 garlic cloves
1 spring onion
3L water (plus more for top up)
For the pork balls:
500g minced pork
Dash of white pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp corn starch
1 egg
Optional ingredients (not included in calorie count):
Boiled quail eggs
Pork intestines
Pork liver
Fish balls
Egg on top

Parboil the pork bones in a large pot and drain and wash. Bring the pork back to the oil with approximately 3L of water. Add the ginger, garlic and spring onion and let it boil for an hour.

Meanwhile, prepare the pork ball mixture by mixing all the pork ball ingredients together. It should form a soft, malleable paste.

Bring the broth to the boil and spoon the pork ball mixture into the soup, one at a time. The pork balls are cooked once they float to the top. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pork balls and place into the prepared bowls.

Prepare the rice vermicelli according to packet instructions. Blanch the gai choy and prepare your other toppings.

For the dry noodles, simply spoon one ladleful of soup into a bowl, add 1 tsp of oyster sauce and 1 tsp of soy sauce and add the noodles and toppings on top. Add a generous spoonful of fried garlic and peanut oil and serve.

For the soup noodle version, simply add the noodles and toppings of your choice into the bowl. Spoon over the boiling hot broth to cover the noodles and serve immediately.  You may want to serve with some chilli sauce and fried garlic but they are optional.

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