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Vegetarian Khow Suey: Making it the original way

Khow Suey is a Burmese noodle dish with coconut milk curry or gravy & a lot of vegetables. This dish is served with an array of condiments like fried onion, fried garlic, peanuts, lemon, coriander, spring onion, chilli flakes, fried noodles etc. These contrasting toppings help in making the dish even more aromatic & flavourful.  The traditional dish is generally made with beef/ chicken but the vegetarian version of the dish tastes equally great. Vegetable Khow Suey is rich in vegetables & there’s no set must include veggies for it. You can run your imagination wild & use any kind of vegetable that you are fond of. The cooking time for a traditional Khow Suey is close to 50 mins but I understand that not everyone has that kind of time in hand & hence I will now show you both the ways to make the dish: the traditional way & the quick way. 


Cooking time: 50 mins / 25 mins Prep Time: 15 mins Ingredients Curry Paste Ingredients

  • Curry Paste Ingredients

  • 5-6 Kashmiri Red chillis, remove the head 

  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds (use coriander powder if seeds aren’t available)

  • 8-9 black peppercorns 

  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds

  • 1/2 tbsp turmeric powder

  • 1 small chopped garlic (7-8 cloves)

  • 3 tbsp freshly grated coconut (white area)

  • 2 tbsp freshly grated ginger

  • 3 tbsp poppy seeds (thus -khus) It gives the whole dish a distinct flavor

  • 2 tbsp chopped cashewnuts

  • 1.5 inch stalk of lemongrass (need the bottom white bulbs)

  • You will need a mixer grinder to make this all a paste.

  • Curry Ingredients: Vegetables

  • 4-5 baby corn diced in circular fashion (boil them along with other vegetables for easy pan cooking)

  • 1/2 cup peas (boil them so that it can be easily cooked in the pan)

  • 1 medium orange carrot, peeled and sliced semi circularly or thin circles (This will help it cook faster)

  • A cup of cauliflower florets (You can add or reduce the amount of veggies basis your liking)

  • A cup of peppers/ capsicum (green, red & yellow). I like to add more of peppers & less of other veggies. This also gives a good colour to the curry.

  • A cup of broccoli florets 

  • 1 yellow zucchini, sliced and halved with skin (semi circular)

  • 5-6 French/ haricot beans, sliced diagonally (again, do adjust the quantity as per your liking)

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped

  • 1 cup of cut mushrooms

  • 8-10 medium sliced tofu. Tofu is a coagulated soy milk. It’s different from Paneer. I have seen some Indian homes using Paneer instead of Tofu but usually in South East Asian cooking Tofu is widely used.

  • Other ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp oil (Prefer sesame seed oil but any regular oil would do)

  • 1 cup grated tomato

  • 1 medium finely chopped onion

  • 2 cups coconut milk

  • Salt to taste

  • 1 tsp sugar

  • 2-3 bay leaves (optional)

  • Noodles : I generally use one set of it. The noodles usually come in nicely bonded sets. If you don’t have such noodles use around 120 grams of the noodles or 3 cups. Boil it with some salt. 

  • For Garnishing

  • 1/3 cup roasted peanuts

  • 1 medium thinly sliced onions (vertical slicing)

  • 5 thinly sliced garlic cloves (circular slicing)

  • Few freshly cut coriander sprigs 

  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes

  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  • 3-4 cylindrically cut spring onion (both greens & white)

  • 1/2 tsp chilli oil

Cooking Method: The traditional way



  1. Prepare the paste by adding all the ingredients mentioned above in a mixer grinder. Add half a cup water to it. Grind it till the paste becomes smooth. 

  2. Heat sufficient water in the deep non-stick pan & add a little salt to it. Add noodles when it is sufficiently hot. Boil the noodles for 3-5 mins on medium flame. Please note: The best type of noodles to be used for this is rice noodles or rice vermicelli however, you can use regular noodles too.

  3. Drain the noodles & put some cold water to it so that the noodles don’t become sticky. Transfer it to another bowl.

  4. Now that your paste is ready too, please warm the deep necked wok & add oil to it. Allow it to warm & add bay leaves to it (adding bay leaves is optional but this does help in increasing the aroma).

  5. Add onions to the wok & sauté them for 2-3 mins until they are light brown.

  6. When the onions are done, please transfer the paste that we have just prepared to the wok & sauté it for another 2 mins.

  7. Add grated tomatoes to this & saute it for another 2 mins.

  8. We will now add the coconut milk to this mixture but do ensure that your gas is on low flame as otherwise sometimes the coconut milk tends to get spoiled. Please whisk the milk while adding.

  9. Keep stirring at regular intervals & let it mix over gas for another 3-5 mins. Add 1tbsp of sugar to it & add salt according to your taste. Mix the ingredients well. 

  10. Switch the gas off & let’s work on the garnishing now.

  11. Heat some oil in a deep non stick pan on medium flame, when the oil heats up, lower the flame to minimum & then add chopped garlic to it. Fry the garlic till they are medium brown & then take them out & put it on an absorbent paper.

  12. Now fry some onions on low flame. This will take you a little time but please be patient with this. Keep this aside on an absorbent paper.

  13. Our cooking is done & we can now proceed to serve this. It is generally served in a deep bowl like a soup bowl. Add the noodles to it & over the noodles, pour the curry.

  14. All the garnishing can be served in small common bowls & it can be added right at the top. Do add some fried garlic, onion, fried noodles, spring onions & finely chopped coriander to the top.

  15. Don’t forget to sprinkle some lemon & add some chilli flakes with chilli oil to it.

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