Burmese Days: Ohn no khao swè (Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup)

While I was home in California neglecting you all, I made a variety of delicious Burmese dishes that I want to share with you now. Burmese food can seem a bit involved but it is delicious and worth any extra effort it may require. My mom is burmese and she has seven brothers and sisters. Thus our family gatherings were always huge and held glimpses of our asian heritage. The center pieces of our meals were almost always huge pieces of roasted meats but these often came with a side of rice and weird burmese condiments that were spicy and smelled like fish. Other times we were offered pork or shrimp curries along side our roasts. At home my mom made Burmese food from time to time but it definitely wasn’t a constant for us. When she did, ohn no khao swè was always the one I got the most excited about. What’s so great about chicken cooked in a mixture of coconut milk, turmeric, and chicken broth served over chewy egg noodles and garnished with crunchy fried noodles, lemon, and onion? I say, what’s NOT to love? The name is fun to say (pronounce it like 0h no cow sway) and its creamy and thick and delicious! So great. Oh, and did I mention it is SO easy to make??!?

Fun Fact: Burma invented cubed chicken.

We all know I’m a huge fan of soups but this one may really be the king of all soups in my heart. I’ve been eating it for most of my life so it has become synonymous with homey and comforting. The warm, thick, creaminess along with the subtle hits of turmeric and the strong sweet flavor of coconut just sweep me off my feet every time. The noodle and the crunchy fried noodles floating around on top seal the deal. It is AWESOME. I wish I had some to eat RIGHT NOW!! I like it that much. I’ll probably make some tonight. Cause it’s that easy. It all begins with the classic base for most Burmese foods. Diced onions, garlic, and ginger sautéed in oil till they reach the “sizzle point.”

The sizzle point!! Golden, oily, and deliciouss

The sizzle point is when almost all of the moisture in the onions, garlic, and ginger has cooked off so all that is left is the sizzling and boiling oil. You can tell that they’ve gotten to this stage when the onions are translucent and the whole mixture is a nice golden brown. There will also be little to no steam coming off the pan as all the moisture will have evaporated off. It takes some time but it’s worth the wait.Once your onions hit the sizzle point its time to add the seasoning. There isn’t much, just a bit of turmeric, salt, and pepper. Give it a good stir and watch everything magically turn yellow! So cool. Then add in your chicken, giver a good stir, and cover your pot for about ten minutes, or until your chicken is mostly cooked through.

Into the pot!
Nice and cooked and funny colored. Love it!

Once your chicken is cooked its time add in the broth. This part varies from person to person, depending on your tastes. I like mine to be creamy but not super thick so I add half a can more chicken stock than coconut milk. Other people do a one to one ratio. Start off with less, you can always add more coconut milk or chicken broth! Once you’ve added the broth let it simmer for at least twenty minutes so it can thicken up and cook down a bit.

Broth fixins and spices
Looking good Ohn No!!!!

Once it has simmered for about 20 to 30 minutes and it is at your desired thickness/flavoring it is done and ready to eat. Yeah, I wasn’t kidding when I said it was ridiculously easy! Ohn no is served over boiled fresh egg noodles, which you can find in pretty much any grocery store in the same section as tofu. They only usually need to be boiled for about 3 minutes so you can easily take care of that while your ohn no is simmering. The condiments vary from boiled eggs to cilantro to fried egg noodles. I personally always like mine with fried noodles or crunchies (you can find them in the “asian section” in big bags), lemon, and some thinly sliced onion. YUM.

Ohn no condiments! Can you say dragon breath??
Who could say no to that beautiful bowl of heaven?!

Ohn No Khao Swè

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, diced
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 tblsp vegetable oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 1/2 – 2 tsp turmeric, depends on taste
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • ~ 1 1/2 cans coconut milk, about 600 mL
  • 2 cans chicken broth, about 600 mL
  • 2 small packages of fresh asian egg noodles
  • 3 cups fried egg noodles
  • 2 lemons, cut into quarters or smaller, depending on taste
  • 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
  • chili flakes for light garnish

In a large heavy bottom pot, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot add onion, garlic, and ginger and sauté until golden brown, translucent, and no longer steaming. Make sure that the only moisture left in the pot is from the cooking oil, this should take around 10-15 minutes. Stir constantly and do not let mixture burn or stick to pot. Add turmeric, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Add in cubed chicken and stir till thoroughly coated. Cover and let cook for about ten minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Add coconut milk and chicken stock, stir, cover, and let cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. While ohn no is cooking, boil egg noodles then drain and rinse with hot water to keep the noodles warm and to keep them from sticking. Serve broth over a handful of warm egg noodles. Garnish with fried noodles, onion slices, chili flakes, and lemon juice.


7 thoughts on “Burmese Days: Ohn no khao swè (Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup)

  1. This our family’s favorite too! I like to add a little ground chili in with the turmeric for an added kick!

  2. Amazing recipe! I am making it right now for the..fifth time? My family loves it and demands that I cook for them now, haha.

  3. thanks a ton hon . was not sure how this was made, jus had an idea. wil definately try this out as soon as i can get some egg noodles! 🙂

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