It’s the hottest dish on party menus these days. Everywhere I go, be it a house party, a wedding, a formal business event, or a carnival… they all have Khau Suey on the menu. And everyone is raving about it, “Oh you must try the Khau Suey.” So what is all the clamour about? While the origin of this dish is still under debate—Burma or Thailand (though I’d like to believe it’s the latter), it surely is a hit in our space. Khau Suey is warm, aromatic and comforting, a blend of different textures and flavours. It is essentially a one-dish meal comprising noodles in a soup of curried vegetables in coconut milk, served with a variety of contrasting accompaniments. When served at parties, each of your guests can individually mix the rich array of accompaniments to create their own taste sensation.
The ingredients that make the difference are fried garlic, coriander, lemon juice, fried onions and chillies. A wholesome dish, very filling and satisfying, it looks great on presentation and easy to assemble. It’s the preparation that takes a while though. With so many condiments, Khau Suey seems like a lot of work but the good news is that you can prepare a lot of these things in advance. The chicken or vegetable stock, boiled eggs or even the curry itself can be made a day before. You need to get all the ingredients ready before hand, set them up in different bowls and when ready to serve, add the desired toppings and hand out. It is best in case of entertaining to make a vegetarian broth, and then add meat only if the person asks for it.
● 1 tbsp oil
● 1 cup chopped shiitake mushroom
● 1 medium zucchini, chopped
● 1 small carrot, chopped
● 1/2 cup chopped baby corn
● 2 tbsp red curry paste or according to taste
● 1 tsp curry powder or according to taste
● 1 tsp ginger and garlic paste each
● 1 tbsp light soy sauce
● 1 tsp dark soy sauce
● 1 tsp brown sugar
● 2 cups coconut milk
● 1 cup water
● 2 cups fresh Chinese egg noodles (if not, substitute with regular dried egg
● 1 cup bean sprouts
Toppings and garnishes:
● 1 cup noodles, deep-fried till crispy
● 1 cup boiled chicken shredded
● 1 cup boiled shrimp
● ½ cup crispy deep fried onions
● 3-4 boiled eggs, yellow removed and whites grated
● ½ cup deep fried crispy chopped garlic
● 3-4 lime wedges
● 3-4 red chillis chopped
● Chopped cilantro
● Chopped green onion
● ¼ cup roasted and salted peanuts
Heat a large wok with oil. Add shiitake mushroom, zucchini, baby corn and carrot and stir fry on high for about 2 minutes. Then add curry paste and curry powder. Toss to coat the vegetables. Add light soy sauce and cook about 30 seconds so the vegetables absorb the liquid. Add dark soy sauce, brown sugar and coconut milk. Let the curry simmer for 2 minutes. Pour in water and bring back to a simmer. Taste curry and adjust soy sauce, and sugar to taste.
Bring a large pot full of water to boil noodles. If using dried noodles, cook in boiling water till noodles are al dente. If using fresh noodles, boil for about one minute. No matter what noodles you use, make sure not to over-cook them. Drain well. Set aside.
When ready to eat, serve the curry in a big bowl and set all the condiments in smaller bowls by the side. Serve each individual as per his or her taste. Pour some of the curry first, them some boiled noodles, some may like meat, some egg, some only vegetarian. Top them all with fried onion, garlic, red chilli, spring onion, peanuts and some crispy fried noodles.
The writer is the author of Aapplemint, a food, travel and photography blog