Ohn No Khauk Swe (ohn no khao swè, ohn no kauk swe) is a Burmese noodle dish with a spiced chicken coconut broth. This is a great curry for those who don’t like a lot of heat. I was able to keep it lighter for myself and topped Chad’s with the red chili powder to his taste. This recipe uses thin egg noodles, but I have seen others with rice noodles.
Ohn No Khauk Swe is similar to and influenced the Chiang Mai Khao Soi.
I found this recipe in The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook: Home Cooking from Asian American Kitchens, written by Pat Tanumihardja. I had the opportunity to meet Pat a few months ago. I was looking over the calendar of events at a nearby Whole Foods and saw her name under a cooking demonstration for Healthy Asian Takeout at Home. During the demo, she prepared the following recipes from her cookbook: Suan La Tang (Hot and Sour Soup), Wok-Fried Bok Choy, Pad Gkaprow Mu (Thai Basil Pork), and Long-Life Noodles. It was so great to be able to see her in action. Pat also has these blogs: The Asian Grandmother’s Cookbook and Pickles and Tea via the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.
When mixing the chicken into the sauce, wear gloves to keep your nails from being stained yellow by the turmeric.
Don’t skimp on the garnishes. They definitely add to the meal. I topped the soup with sliced hard boiled eggs, soaked yellow onions, green onions, limes, and cilantro (I omitted the red pepper on my bowl due to pregnancy heartburn). Other possible garnishes include fried noodles, fried onion or shallots, and bean fritters.
Garbanzo bean flour (besan, chickpea flour, gram flour) is a popular component in Burmese cuisine. It is made by grinding garbanzo beans into a powder and is used as a thickening agent or to make Burmese tofu. I was able to find it in the gluten free section in the grocery store. It is also available in South Asian food markets and on Amazon: Bobs Red Mill Garbanzo Bean Flour, 16 Ounce (Pack of 4).
Ohn No Khauk Swe (Burmese Chicken Coconut Noodle Soup)
Adapted from The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook: Home Cooking from Asian American Kitchens
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 pounds boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups chopped yellow onions
2 teaspoons ground paprika
5 cups (three 13 1/2 ounce cans) coconut milk
7 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour
2 pounds fresh or 1 pound dried thin Chinese egg noodles
6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices
4 tablespoons ground dried red chilies, pan roasted until fragrant
1 large sweet or red onion, halved, cut into thin crescents, and soaked in water
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup fresh cilantro
3 limes, quartered
Fish sauce to taste
In a medium bowl, whisk together the fish sauce, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and turmeric. Mix in the chicken using your gloved hands.
In a large pot, drizzle oil over medium high heat. Once thoroughly heated and shimmering, add the onions. Cook, stirring often, until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes. Mix in the paprika, then the chicken with marinade. Cook, stirring often, until all sides of chicken are browned, 4-5 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and chicken stock. Stir constantly and once it begins to boil, reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk the garbanzo bean flour with 1/2 cup warm water until smooth. Stir into the soup and bring to a boil. Continue to simmer over medium low heat until slightly thickened, 5-10 minutes. If too thin, add more garbanzo bean flour mixed with water. If too thick, add a little more water. Season with fish sauce or soy sauce to taste. Keep over low heat until ready to serve.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook just until al dente, just tender. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drizzle a little oil and mix to keep the noodles from sticking.
Divide the noodles among serving bowls. Top with the chicken coconut soup. Garnish as desired with hard boiled eggs, red chili powder, soaked onions, cilantro, lime, and fish sauce. Serve immediately.