Friday, October 15, 2010

Recipe: Burmese Khowswey

My friend Sheryl blogged the other day about making Khowswey for a dinner party that she hosted. I hadn't made Khowswey in awhile and the idea was planted in my head with the cravings increasing daily.

My usual recipe is closer to Sheryl's Khowswey Recipe with a fair amount of cutting and grinding involved. But I'd recently picked up a copy of Tushita Patel's Flash in the Pan Flash in the Pan: What to cook, and how which had a much much simpler recipe and that's the one I decided to try today.

As my regular readers know, I can never adhere to instructions in a recipe, so I did tweak it a bit. Here's the recipe I used, with my alterations. I do like my gravy thicker, so it feels more like a curry and less like a soup, but you can change the amount of liquid to suit you. I made the dish for 2 of us, but it can be easily ramped up for large parties.

1/2 kg chicken (I used thighs today, but I think boneless tikka kebab sized pieces work best)
1 tsp gram flour (besan)
2 cups thin coconut milk (I diluted a 200ml pack of Coconut milk to 500 ml thin milk)
1 packet egg noodles - cook as per instructions on packet.
1 tbsp oil

3 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
2 tbsp oil
2 tsp chilli powder (adjust to taste)
1 tsp Turmeric powder
2 tbsp fish sauce (I'm not sure how I feel about this ingredient, in this dish. It gave a fishy smell to the gravy which overpowered the kitchen when cooking, but was very lightly flavored once cooked)
salt to taste

1 Finely sliced Onion
4-5 cloves of garlic Finely sliced
1 spring onion chopped
crushed peanuts
red chilli flakes
chopped corriander
lime wedges
Sliced hard boiled egg

Mix all the ingredients for the marinade and marinate the chicken in this for at least one hour.
In a pan, warm the oil.
Fry the garlic slices till crisp and light brown, remove. Reserve for topping
In the same oil, fry the sliced onion till crisp and caramelised, remove.
To the same oil, add the marinated chicken and the marinade. Cook for 15 minutes.
Stir in the gram flour and the coconut milk and cook on low heat till the chicken is completely cooked.

If serving khowswey at a dinner, its really pretty and attractive to serve each topping in its own bowl and let the guests assemble and flavour their own portions. See Sheryl's Khowswey Post for serving ideas.

Since I was cooking it for just the 2 of us, I assembled each dish myself. Noodles on the bottom, Add some curry and chicken and then sprinkle whichever toppings you like on it.
You can add any number of toppings. You can add vegetables like baby corn, snap peas and broccolli to the curry in the final cooking stage, if you want to sneak veggies into the dish.

Maybe I will post my other recipe too sometime. Tastewise I prefer the other one, but this is so quick to assemble that its worth adding to your files.

Edited on 17th October to add:
A big question with Khowswey is what to do with leftovers. Especially the toppings.
Fresh ingredients like chopped spring onions, onions, green chillies, corriander, don't keep very well for more than 12 hours, even refrigerated. So I normally add these to the curry before refrigerating leftovers.
The fried garlic, fried onions, boiled eggs will keep relatively well. So pack them individually in air tight boxes. Onions and garlic will keep outside for a couple of days depending on temperature and humidity. Eggs go in the fridge.
Peanuts, chilli flakes can be put into their original boxes if they have remained clean and dry.

If I don't have much left, I just put them all into the curry before refrigerating it.

If you have a lot of curry left and not too much noodles, you can serve the curry with rice the next day. Warm it up and add some fresh herbs on top.

If like me, you run out of curry, you can turn it into a stir fry. I shredded the chicken and stir fried what was left of it with the noodles, some baby corn and topped it with some fresh herbs. (Mushrooms too are ideal at this stage, but I didnt have any fresh ones in stock)


Sarah said...

Now I feel like making Khowswey too....:).. My recipe too has the fish sauce and ur right, once the fish sauce cooks in the gravy, its not too strong at all..

The Suisse Miss said...

Thanks so much for the link to my blog Kim! Your version looks super. Love the leftover stir fry idea :)

theadams said...

I don't know that Khow Suey is kinda 'famous' in this region. Maybe because of the 'curry' base...
Well, the fish sauce they means 'nothing' actually, the Thai use it as we use salt in cooking. They don't give any fish flavor, but they do give the 'essense' of fish usually for salad or any uncooked dishes.

Kim said...

@Sheryl: Anytime :)

@Shilme: You are right Khowswey is quite popular in some parts of India. Its a popular street food in Gujarat, esp during Ramadan. They say its because of the trade relations of old. But the spicy flavours and curry made it easy to adapt to the Indian palate I guess :)

Regarding the fish sauce, I've used it in dressings and stir fry's, but this was the first time I was "boiling it" and the kitchen was smelling really strongly of fish for quite awhile. I was actually worried that BB might not eat it, given how strong the smell was. Fortunately, I finished cooking the curry before he came home and turned on the exhaust and chimmney and ac's :) so the smell was gone and it hardly smelt in the curry itself :)


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