Burmese chicken coconut noodle soup (ohn noht kauk swe)

There are two ‘great’ noodle soups in Burmese cuisine: ohn noht kauk swe (coconut noodle soup) and mohinga (fish noodle soup). When I was young, I didn’t like coconut noodle soup and preferred mohinga instead. My middle brother, on the other hand, loved coconut noodle soup. I also found out that my youngest brother also liked coconut noodle soup so I have been making it a little more often.

My mom told me that coconut noodle soup was basically a chicken curry turned into a soup with some coconut milk added into it. How much coconut milk you added depended on how rich a broth you wanted. I like a ‘lighter’ soup so that it does not leave you feeling overly lethargic. I also do not know how to make a ‘small’ batch of this as it’s one of those dishes that can feed a ‘village’.

Note that this recipe requires toasted chickpea powder. I had some that my mom brought for me from Myanmar but you could toast your own from store-bought besan that you can find at your local Asian grocer.

Serves 12

Prep time 20 mins
Cook time 30 mins

1kg chicken thigh fillets, diced into small pieces
1 tsp tumeric powder
1 tsp paprika powder
1 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 cup neutral oil
3 onions, chopped finely
8 garlic cloves, minced
3L water
3 tbsp toasted chickpea powder (besan)
2 tbsp condensed milk (pro tip from Hsaba)
400g can coconut milk
1.5kg egg noodles
8 eggs, hard-boiled and sliced
1 bunch coriander, chopped
100g fried noodles
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
4 limes, quartered (optional)
dried chilli flakes (optional)

Marinade the chicken pieces with tumeric powder, paprika powder and fish sauce.

In a large pot, heat the oil and sautee the onion and garlic until it starts to brown. Then add the the chicken and brown all over. Add some water, until the chicken is half-covered, and let it simmer for 20 minutes or until the oil ‘returns’ to the top.

Add 3L of water, toasted chickpea powder, coconut milk and condensed milk. Bring to a boil and skim off the oil and scum that rises to the top.

Season liberally with fish sauce to taste. I found that it’s best to season only with fish sauce as it has a much more ’rounded’ taste than just salt.

Pour over with egg noodles and top with some hard-boiled egg slices, coriander and fried noodles.

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