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04 September 2007

a toast tonight for better times for Burma -- Khowsuey recipe

Abbas Halai said...

not to sound too indifferent but you just reminded of one of my favourite dishes of all time, khowsuey. google it some time. i think i'll make some tomorrow.

Tuesday, 04 September, 2007


Look, the unhappiest of places and the most dreadful of situations still have wonderful food, music, art, crafts. As Jim Carrey surprisingly directs our thoughts toward the Burmese people and Aung San Suu Kyi, why not rattle the pots and pans and sample a little Burmese Happiness -- and as we gobble the Khowsuey, toast for Happier Times.

Let me know what you think of this filched recipe, all advice and tips greatly appreciated. I am not exactly world-renowned for my achievements in Asian cuisine. If you got a better recipe, don't be shy.


from (India)

Chicken Khowsuey
(famous Burmese dish)

by Chandri Bhat

Preparation Time: 15 - 30 minutes

1 chicken (about 1 kg)
1 big coconut
2 medium tomatoes
1 big onion
1 bulb/pod garlic
3 cm ginger

(I guess this means to cut a 3 centimeter chunk from a fresh ginger root. This whole recipe is a big back-alley brawl between English kitchen measure and the Metric System. No winner in sight.)

2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 tablespoons besan (chickpea flour)
4 tablespoons oil
salt to taste

1. Clean and joint (debone?) the chicken.

2. Extract 2 cups 1st milk and 2 cups 2nd milk from the coconut.

(If anyone has experience cooking with fresh coconuts and can tell Vleeptron what the heck 1st and 2nd milk are, I'd be grateful. I usually get my coconut milk from a can.)

3. Peel the garlic and grind to a paste with ginger. Mix with coriander, cumin and chili powders. Chop tomato and onion.

4. Heat a kadai on low flame and roast the besan without adding oil, till light brown. Remove and keep aside.

5. Pour oil in the same kadai over medium flame. Add onion and fry till brown. Add the masala paste and fry well.

(I'm guessing that the masala paste which Chandri hasn't yet mentioned is Step 3, above.)

Add the tomato and fry till pulpy. Add chicken pieces, 2nd coconut milk and salt. Cover and simmer on low flame till chicken is cooked.

6. Add besan and 1st coconut milk. Give one boil and remove from fire. Serve hot on a bed of cooked noodles, topped with fried noodles, fried potato sticks, spring onions and lime juice.

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despicableteacher said...

I think this is your answer :)

Coconut milk is made by combining equal parts water and shredded fresh or desiccated coconut meat and simmering until foamy. The mixture is then strained through CHEESECLOTH, squeezing as much of the liquid as possible from the coconut meat. The coconut meat can be combined with water again for a second, diluted batch of coconut milk. Coconut cream is made in the same manner, but enriches the mix by using 1 part water to 4 parts coconut. Milk can be substituted for water for an even richer result. Discard the coconut meat after making these mixtures. Coconut milk and cream also come canned and may sometimes be found frozen in Asian markets and some supermarkets. Do not confuse sweetened "cream of coconut" — used mainly for desserts and mixed drinks — with unsweetened coconut milk or cream.

© Copyright Barron's Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on THE FOOD LOVER'S COMPANION, 2nd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst.

Jim Olson said...

I concur with despteach...Though, if you have a fresh coconut, on opening it, you do get a liquid that is quite delicious. I suspect that the first milk is made from mixing the liquor you get upon first opening the coconut and then processing it as despt. described.

Masala paste could be the thing described above as well, though, I think it is more complicated than of those ingredients you just know what it is and how to use it only if your grandmother used it when she taught you how to cook.