We love Kawsay at my house. Kawsay or khow/Khou suey is a comforting burmese dish made with meat and spaghetti in coconut milk. There are so many variations to the dish. Like a thai curry, you can make a red version or a green version, use noodles or spaghetti, chicken or lamb and the list goes on. This is a version I learnt from my inlaws.
Khou Suey or Khao Soi
I first came across Kawsay, Khou Suey or Khao Soi at my inlaws house. See, i am indian but from a ‘bharuchi’ background and my husband is from a ‘surti’ background. It basically means that we are from different parts of India and the way we speak gujarati is different too. When i first got married, i hadn’t come across any ‘bharuchi’ household making Kawsay but it was commonplace in ‘Surti’ households.
Kawsay is very often topped with coriander, onions, lemon and the fried pastry used to make samosas or samosa par. This makes a crunchy and delicious topping.
Navigating Khou Suey
I remember the first time we sat around the table and i attempted to eat kawsay without making a mess. My mother in law (and me now) like to use chicken on the bone in this dish. There are many complications to eating an on the bone spaghetti dish with a table full of people when you are new to a family. I slowly died inside when i watched my inlaws eat it so expertly and i was left staring at the bowl. Man i so wanted seconds, but it took me long enough to negotiate the first bowl. Mainly because i was trying to be elegant and It was like an obstacle course. Now, i can happily have a couple of bowls and I navigate the bowl like a pro. Also all the awkwardness of being the new face is gone, so I am happy to dig in.
Kawsay is delicious. It is delicately spiced and subtle in flavour and i love to add extra chillies to mine! It is like an infused coconut broth with chicken and spaghetti.
It is also very easy to make. Yesterday i made it in our back garden over a camping style gas fire!
To make an authentic version, you would need to use chicken thighs and remove the meat off the bones then process till the pieces are smaller but nowhere near ground.
You make a Khao Soi Paste with Dried Chillies, Shallots, Garlic, Ginger, Coriander leaves/stems and ground, Turmeric and Curry Powder and add it to a Soup made fromCoconut Milk, Chicken Stock, Noodles, Fish Sauce, Brown Sugar and Salt. The bowl is usually topped with Bean Sprouts, Red Onions, Coriander, Fried Onions, Fried Garlic, Chilli Oil and Lime wedges.
How to make Khou Suey my way
Make the spaghetti according to the pack instructions but reduce the time by half. Drain and set aside.
Heat oil and add onions. Cook on medium/low for 10 – 15 minutes.
Add the garlic, ginger, green chillies, coriander, cumin, mint, salt and pepper to a blender and blend with a little water.
Add the paste to the cooked onions along with the chicken. Cook covered, on medium low for 10 minutes.
Add coconut milk and stir throughly. Simmer for 15 – 20 mins covered.
Stir in the Spaghetti and cook for a couple of minutes.
Ladle into bowls and serve with a squeeze of lemon juice and toppings of your choice.
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Kawsay or Khow suey - Chicken and spaghetti in coconut milk
We love Kawsay at my house. Kawsay or khow/Khou suey is a comforting burmese dish made with meat/chicken and spaghetti in coconut milk. There are so many variations to the dish. Like a thai curry, you can make a red version or a green version, use noodles or spaghetti, chicken or lamb and the list goes on. This is a version I learnt from my inlaws.
- 500 g Spaghetti
- 2 tbsp Oil
- 2 large Onions Diced
- 8 cloves Garlic
- 1.5 inch Ginger
- 3 - 7 Green chillies I use 7
- 1 Large bunch Coriander Leaves and Stems
- 1 tsp Mint leaves Optional
- 1 tsp Cumin powder
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 Chicken cleaned and cut into 8 pieces or just use legs/thighs
- 2 tins Coconut milk
- 1 Lemon/Lime Juice only
Make the spaghetti according to the pack instructions but reduce the time by half.
Drain the spaghetti and pour a tbsp of oil over the top to stop it from sticking together.
In a large non stick pan over medium/low heat, cook the onions in the oil until golden brown. This takes about 10 - 15 minutes.
Whilst the onions are cooking, in a food processor, add water, chillies, ginger, garlic, coriander, mint (If using), cumin and salt and pepper. Blend to a paste.
Once the onions are cooked, pour the paste into the pot and add the chicken.
Turn the heat down and cook covered for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally during this time to make sure the mixture isn't sticking.
Now pour over the coconut milk (including water).
Bring to a boil, cover the pan and simmer gently for 15 - 20 minutes or until the chicken is tender. (Cooking time will depend on the size of the chicken).
Stir the spaghetti into the pot.
Ladle into 6 bowls and squeeze a bit of lemon over the top.
You can add a variety of toppings to Kawsay. These include fried onions, red onion, coriander, fried pastry, chillies, boiled eggs, fried garlic.
You can also add 4 or 5 kafir lime leaves when you add the paste and add fish sauce and palm sugar too.