Sunday, January 15, 2017

Noodle in Burmese coconut and chickpea broth (Oh- no-khao-swe)

 I am going back to my hometown Yangon in a week. It seems unreal to me that I have been in the United States for 8 years. Seriously, 8 freaking years? Like I said in my IG post before, I have always wondered when I will become more American than Burmese. The other day I woke up, tripped and blurted out “Jesus Christ” rather than “ Lord Buddha”. I guess this is it. I am officially more American than Burmese. But, I have to admit though even before this life-defining moment happened, there were instances that served as warning signs. Below are a few:

I started ending my emails to my parents with “I love you”, especially on their birthdays. I sometimes gag when I reread the emails I sent to them.

I know different types of cheese and am able to actually pronounce them.

I have to order two servings in most restaurants in Myanmar. American portion sizes have abused and stretched my formerly tight stomach.

My family members did not say that I am skinny anymore. In fact, I think if I gain 5 more lbs., I will probably receive Asian relative’s love pep talk, titled “You are fat”.

I freaked out at the fact that restrooms in Myanmar don’t use toilet paper.

I once tried to split the bill at a dinner with my relatives. A proper etiquette would be to fight for the bill, and actually pay for all of it, no matter how broke you are from your student loans.

I hiked and queued in a line. Voluntarily.

One time in Bagan, a little girl approached me and asked me if I wanted to buy a postcard in ENGLISH. I replied in Burmese, and she yelled “OMG. A Burmese?”. Then, she ran away.

I, apparently, dress like a sloth and my family members have to beg me to dress nicely whenever I go out in Yangon. In Yangon, you need sparkles on your belt, shine on your shoe, and straight collars on your shirt whenever you go out. I love sweatpants now.

I don’t understand current Burmese pop culture. Like at all. I don’t know any new singers, actors, models or slangs. But, I can recite almost all Taylor Swift’s songs.

But, then again I still retain many traits. I still talk loud. I love busy restaurants and potlucks, and hate fancy dinner parties with name cards. I still avoid talking about my problems heads-on. The thing about leaving your hometown at a weird age of 16 is that I no longer knew where the hell is my home anymore. I don’t fit in Yangon, and I certainly don’t consider the US as my home. Life is weird and messy and that’s what I find most beautiful about it.

About the recipe and #noodleholicsparty

Obsession is personally an understatement when it comes to noodles. Whether as a maruchan ramen in the middle of late night studying during college or as a heaping pile of chow mien during celebration of my grandmother’s birthday, noodles have always been there. There is nothing more comforting for me than the sight of noodle dough being pulled to shreds, or the smell of the strands being stir-fried in high heat of a wok or tossed in aromatic garlic oil while they are piping hot. When I came to the United States, I was suddenly exposed to noodles from all different types of culture. Admittedly, it was paralyzing in the beginning but my curiosity for noodles has grown exponentially during the last three years, after I start to understand Italian pasta. My obsession has now almost become sheer madness for noodles and this #noodleholicsparty, a virtual collection of noodle recipes by talented and accomplished bloggers, was born out of it. And, I cannot thank enough for all the bloggers, most of whom have never actually saw me in person but still participated. 

This Burmese coconut curry noodle dish (Oh-no-khao-swe) is probably the most well-liked Burmese dish internationally. When I was little, I would eat this noodle as breakfast at least 2 to 3 times a week. I would eat mine with lots of sliced onions and a big cake of coagulated duck blood right before I went to school. My breath would smell rancid at school for a coupe of hours, and my friends would often times call me out. 

Especially when weather turns chilly in mid bleak winter like right now, I start to crave this indulgent bowl of noodle. Yes, I admit this noodle bowl is rich and filled with calories, but you have to admit that this is exactly what you want to cuddle with during harsh winter nights. There are several reasons why I am very much addicted to this dish. First, the addition of chickpea flour gives the broth unparalleled thick unctuousness that perfectly hugs each noodle strands. Second, there is something harmonious about earthy turmeric and rich coconut cream that is utterly addictive.  Topped this indulgent noodle broth with crunchy yet acrid onion slices, herby cilantro and eggs, you get the most perfect bowl. I often made this whenever I have friends or families visiting, and so far, I have not heard of anyone complaining.

Here are bloggers and their respective dishes. Go check out their amazing work.

Indonesian boiled noodles (mie rebus) | Piquecooking

Noodle in Burmese coconut and chickpea broth

Soe Thein
Published 01/15/2017
Noodle in Burmese coconut and chickpea broth
This creamy coconutty Burmese noodle soup, thicken by chickpea flour, is perfect for any meals.


2 lbs. of chicken thighs (with bones and skins)
4 quarts of water
2 medium yellow onions
5 cloves of garlic (peeled)
1.5 cup of Thai Kitchen Coconut Cream, 13.66 oz. (NOT coconut milk)
¾ cup of flavorless oil
4 tsps. of turmeric
2 tsps. of paprika
1/3 cup + 2 tbsps. of fish sauce
1 cup + 6 tbsps of Laxmi Gram (Besan) Flour - 2lb
1 inch of ginger knob
5 small shallots (optional)


Separate the meat from the bones from the chicken thigh. If you don’t want to go through this trouble, you can buy 1.5 lbs. of dark meat and 0.5 lbs of chicken bone instead.

Put the flesh in a food processor, along with a teaspoon of turmeric and salt. Process until you get coarse mixture. You don’t want ground chicken. What you are looking for is unevenly chopped miniature chicken dices. Let the chicken marinate in salt and turmeric for about 15 minutes in the fridge, while you get on other stuffs.

Place the bones in 4 quarts of water. Bring the water to a boil, and turn down to simmer. Be sure to scoop out the gunks accumulated on top of the broth when you can.

While the stock is boiling, place onions, ginger and garlic in a food processor, and process until you get very mushy mixture. Heat up ¾ cup of oil in a pan, and when the oil is sufficiently hot, throw in the processed mixture. Sprinkle the rest of the turmeric, 2 tbsps of fish sauce and paprika, and cook while stirring constantly on medium high heat. The mixture will turn into the most aromatic ruby-tinged golden.

Throw in your chicken and cook for a good 15 minutes until you cannot detect any raw chicken pieces.

Plunge in the chicken mixture into the simmering broth, along with 2 cups of coconut cream. I have to be bossy here and tell you that it has to be full fat coconut cream, which is significantly richer and more coconutty than coconut milk. Stir carefully so coconut cream dissolves well into the broth. 

Whisk together chickpea flour and 1.5 cup of water until the flour dissolves. Pour the flour into broth. Add the rest of the fish sauce. At this point, your broth should look milky yellow. Bring the broth to a boil and then simmer for 45 minutes.

You can also throw in whole mini shallots in the broth if you want. They don’t add much flavor, but I quite like how they got soften and turn extremely sweet among hot coconutty broth.

I love fresh Asian egg noodles for this broth, but if you cannot find it spaghetti surprisingly works incredibly well. Regardless of your noodle choice, I beg you to top the dish with thinly sliced onions. Yes, they do make your breath smell bad, but the acrid taste of onions really serve as a palate cleanser for this rich broth.

If you have leftover, store them in a fridge. The next day, you can thin out the broth by adding more water and re-seasoning until the desired flavor and texture is achieved.

Yield: 8-12 servings
Prep Time: 0 hrs. 15 mins.
Cook time: 1 hrs. 00 mins.
Total time: 1 hrs. 15 mins.
Tags: noodle, coconut, asian, curry, soup


  1. My mouth is watering like crazy! This looks like an amazing dish. Thank you so much for organising the #noodleholicsparty. It's such a blast!

    1. thank you for participating. I cannot wait to see all chinese new year sweets :D

  2. I will pretty much guarantee you that your parents are not gagging when you write "I love you" on the email. I've never met them, and of this, I am SURE! :)

  3. Hi, thanks for sharing the recipe and your #noodleholicsparty, just one thing though: where do You put the fish sauce to use? Right now my soup is simmering for the final 45 minutes and I realized that I haven't used it. There's not much to do for me and my soup but to enjoy it without the fish sauce, but just as a suggestion for future cookycats..

    1. OMG I am so sorry. I now fixed the recipe. Thank you for letting me know.

  4. Hi! What do you suggest I use in place of chickpea flour, without compromising flavor (What is used in Burma? I live in Thailand). Tapioca flour or cornstarch? Thank you! I can't wait raid the market for all your yummy Burmese dishes :)

    1. Hi Jillian, you can actually use dried chickpea instead of chickpea flour. In this case, soak 3 cups of chickpea with 8 cups of water and 1 tsp. of baking soda overnight. Boil the chickpeas with four quarts of water for 2 hours until chickpea are fully cooked. DO NOT OPEN THE LID when the chickpeas are cooking. Otherwise, they will not get soften. When sold, use blender to blend the chickpeas, and you will get chickpea soup (kinda). Use this to make the stock. Proceed as described above for the rest of the step. Hope it makes sense.

    2. Thank you! That makes sense :)

  5. Hi Soe. I am probably not reading the instructions properly, but I can't see where and how to add the chickpea flour? This looks soooo delicious!

    1. That was my fault. For some reason, the sentence about the chickpea flour get left out. Thanks for letting me know. It should be fixed now :D

  6. Wow super , I like noodles recipes very much and this is new recipe for me thank you very much for your article.keep it up!

    1. Thank you so much. Let me know if you try this

  7. I love reading your stories through your recipes. And your pictures are beyond amazing. Where can I find chickpea flour?

    1. Thank you so much Amy. You can buy chickpea flour easily at a local indian store (also called besan flour or chana flour).

  8. It's on the hob as I type! Smells amazing... What herbs are you using as your topping?

  9. I'm not going to make any noodles, but the part about whether your are more Burmese or American is totally brilliant! I can relate! Good writing!

    1. Aww thank you. But, please make noodles. For me?

  10. I 100% need to make this! I looks fantastic!

  11. Fidelity offers investors the opportunity to participate in both the new issue and secondary bond markets. Investors pay no commissions or concessions when participating in new issue offerings, but Fidelity charges a mark-up or mark-down in the secondary maintenance agreements