Here’s my vegetarian version of the hearty Burmese khow suey! Learn how to get the authentic Burmese curry broth flavours, so you can tuck into this warm bowl of comfort food whenever you want a pick-me-up!
Whenever we visit an Asian restaurant, I insist on ordering the Khow Suey (curry noodle soup) just because it’s one of those meal experiences that I can build on my own meal (extra garlic chips, anyone?). Apart from personalising my bowl of Khow Suey, I actually like that this meal is even better shared. Makes for a very romantic date 😉
This Khow Suey recipe looks a mellow yellow but it’s bursting with flavour - bold Southeast Asian flavours from the curry paste, the creamy comforting coconut milk, the noodles which I like to slurp up, the heat from chillies, and the crisp crunch of fried garlic chips and onions. I can eat bowl after bowl of it and still not get enough 🙂
This Vegetarian Khow Suey has a bunch of elements in it, which need to be separately made. Let’s break it down so you can see that while the ingredient list looks long, it’s actually pretty easy!
Curry Paste for Khow Suey
This paste forms the base of the Khow Suey, and gives it that distinct flavour. It uses typically Asian fresh ingredients like garlic, ginger, coriander stems (don’t throw them away, they pack in so much flavour!), peppercorn and green chillies (See recipe card for full list). These ingredients pack a punch into the dish. Grind these ingredients into a fine paste and keep aside.
The broth gives the dish the body, that soupy consistency which makes this dish so hearty and comforting. We start by cooking the curry paste with more aromatics, gram flour to thicken and for that nutty flavour, and water or veg stock. Allow this broth to simmer for about 20 minutes with veggies. At the very end, add coconut milk and mix it well.
This is by far the simplest part of the process. I like using egg noodles which are available easily in Indian supermarkets, but to make it vegan you can use plain flour or rice noodles . You can also choose options like ramen noodles or angel hair noodles. Make sure you splash some cold water on the noodles after draining them. Mushy noodles are never nice to eat, so don't overcook them.
The toppings are my favourite part! That’s where I go crazy! Here’s a list of toppings you can add to your Khow Suey:
- Fried shallots or onions
- Sliced Onions
- Fried or fresh Ginger
- Fried Garlic Chips
- Finely chopped green chillies
- Lemon wedges
- Spring onions
- Crushed chilli flakes
- Chopped coriander or cilantro
- Crispy fried noodles or wonton strips
- Chopped or coarsely powdered groundnuts (Whole groundnuts will also do)
How to Serve Khow Suey
If you order this at a restaurant, you’ll be served a big bowl of Khow Suey with several mini bowls full of toppings like crunchy groundnuts, burnt garlic and ginger, crispy noodles and shallots. These little additions make the entire Khow Suey eating experience so much fun. Just place some big bowls next to this steaming hot soup, and sit back and watch as the food disappears in a matter of seconds… Oh wait! Don’t forget to take your lion’s share of the bowl of happiness!
You can also add your choice of protein like chicken, prawns and boiled and halved eggs. These are all yummy additions to this bowl of coconut-ty goodness.
This dish is great for both situations - when you have a big gang over or if it’s date night with your loved one. Tell me your happy and hearty Khow Suey experiences in the comments section!
More Asian One-Bowl Meals:
- Vegetarian Pho
- Chinese Hot and Sour Soup
- Spicy Thai Curry Pumpkin Noodle Soup
- Thai Carrot Ginger Soup
- Veg Noodle and Manchurian
Watch Burmese Khow Suey Recipe Video
Vegan Khow Suey
- 8-10 cloves Garlic
- ½ tablespoon Ginger
- 3 tablespoon Coriander stems only
- ½ teaspoon Whole Coriander Seeds
- 2 teaspoon Fresh Turmeric
- 2 Shallots
- ½ teaspoon Whole Peppercorns
- 2 Green Chillies
- 2 tablespoon Oil
- 4-6 Garlic sliced
- 3-4 Shallots sliced
- 2 Birds Eye Chillies slit lengthwise
- 8-10 Curry Leaves
- 4 cup (24.62 floz) Vegetable Broth/Water
- 2 tablespoon Besan Gram flour
- 2 stalks Lemongrass white part only
- ⅓ cup Carrot thickly sliced
- ¼ cup Green Beans cut into 1 inch pieces
- ⅓ cup Bell Pepper diced
- ½ cup Mushroom quartered
- 1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ½ cup cubed Tofu
- 1½ cups Thick Coconut Milk
- 250 gram (4.17 cups) Noodles
- 1 tablespoon Oil
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 2-3 tablespoon Coconut Oil
- ¼ cup Shallots thinly sliced
- 1 inch piece Ginger julienned
- 1 tablespoon Garlic thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup cooked Noodles
- ¼ cup Groundnuts (peeled)
- 3 Green Chillies thinly sliced (optional)
- Grind all the ingredients into a smooth paste using a blender or food processor. Add a little water while blending. Set aside.
- Use a mortar and pestle to lightly crush the lemongrass for the broth.
- Heat oil in a large pot or wok. Add the garlic and sauté lightly. As the garlic begins to gain colour, add the shallots, fresh red chilli and curry leaves. Stir and sauté for 2-4 minutes until the shallots become slightly translucent.
- Add the ground paste and cook over a medium flame for 4-5 minutes or until the raw smell goes away. Add the gram flour and stir to combine. Cook further for 2 more minutes, stirring continuously. Slowly add the vegetable broth and keep mixing till there are no lumps.
- Add the vegetables, crushed lemongrass, soy sauce, salt and simmer for 20 minutes and let the flavours infuse well in the broth. You can simmer it for longer for a more intense flavour.
- Add tofu and coconut milk and mix well. Turn off the flame and set aside to serve.
- In a stockpot, bring water to a boil. Add some salt and oil to the water to prevent noodles from sticking. Add the noodles and follow the package instructions to cook it.
- In the absence of cooking instructions, simply add the noodles and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the noodles are soft but still have a slight bite to it. Drain the noodles and give it a quick rinse in cold running water and set aside.
- Heat coconut oil in a saucepan over low heat. Add sliced shallots and fry till it becomes golden brown. Use a skimmer to remove the shallots and place over a paper towel to remove excess oil.
- In the same pan, add garlic and fry till it browns. Remove and place over a paper towel.
- Now add ginger and fry it for a minute till the ginger softens. Remove and place over a paper towel.
- Next fry the noodles till golden brown to make it crunchy. Remove and place over a paper towel.
- Wipe down the pan and add the groundnuts and lightly dry roast them for 1-2 minutes and keep aside.
- To serve, assemble all the toppings on a serving platter. Arrange a bowl with fresh noodles, top it over with the coconut milk broth and add your choice of toppings and enjoy it hot!
- Lemongrass use fresh lemongrass to make the broth as it is imperative to the flavour of the dish. If you can't get your hands on fresh lemongrass, use dry lemongrass leaves. Tie them up in a muslin cloth and simmer along with the broth, discard before serving.
- Toppings the toppings can vary based on your taste. You can also add sautéed chicken or prawns if you like to make it a whole meal.
- Gram flour is used in this recipe not just for thickening but also adds to the flavour. If you don't have gram flour, you can use cornflour.
- Vegetable Broth as this is a vegan recipe, I've used vegetable broth. It can be substituted with chicken broth as well. You can even use ready store-bought boullion or stock cubes, dissolved in water.