Coconut chicken noodles

This soupy noodle dish is a classic in Burmese cooking.

Known as ‘ohn no khauk swe’, this coconut chicken noodle dish is the main dish Emily and Amy Chung, aka the Rangoon Sisters, cooked at their first ever supper club.

“It’s a real family favourite for us, one that we always used to serve up for birthdays,” says Amy. “It’s a real tradition for us and it’s a big crowd-pleaser – one we’ve been serving up many times since.”

When you mix everything into the dish, Amy says it has a “bold, delicious, crunchy texture – it’s real comfort food”.

Coconut chicken noodles recipe

(Serves 6)

5tbsp oil (vegetable, sunflower or peanut), plus extra for browning the chicken
5 medium onions, chopped
10 garlic cloves, peeled
2 thumb-sized pieces of ginger, peeled
8 skinless and boneless chicken thighs, chopped into 3cm pieces
2tbsp paprika
1tsp turmeric powder
2tsp chilli powder
100g creamed coconut (the solid block type), or 200ml coconut milk would work
2tbsp gram flour, sifted and evenly toasted in a dry frying pan
600ml chicken stock
2–3tbsp fish sauce
400ml cold water

To serve:

6 nests (450–500g) dried chow mein or egg noodles, cooked
3 limes, cut into wedges
6 hard-boiled eggs, cut in half
Coriander leaves
4 shallots, thinly sliced
200g crispy fried rice noodles
Chilli flakes or chilli oil
Fish sauce

Coconut and chicken noodles


1. Heat the oil in a large casserole dish set over a medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook slowly, turning down the heat to low-medium and stirring every four to five minutes until softened and starting to lightly brown in colour and become oily but not crispy – this should take about 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, crush the garlic cloves and ginger to a paste using a pestle and mortar, or blitz in a food processor.

3. Once the onions are ready, add the garlic and ginger paste and fry for two minutes to release the gorgeous flavours. Add a splash more oil, then brown the chicken pieces with the onion/garlic/ginger mix. Add the spices and creamed coconut, breaking it up into smaller pieces as you stir – it should melt. Stir in the toasted gram flour, followed by the chicken stock, fish sauce and the cold water. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer, uncovered, over a low, gentle heat for about 30 minutes. If the broth is too thick, add some water.

4. For the crispy fried rice noodles, pour vegetable, sunflower or peanut oil into a wok or deep saucepan to a depth of 5cm and set over a medium-high heat. Line a large bowl with kitchen paper and have a heatproof strainer or sieve ready for fishing out the noodles. Test the readiness of the oil by popping a piece of dried noodle into it – it should instantly sizzle (rice noodles will curl up and turn opaque and bubbly). Separate the nest of noodles and add a handful to the oil, frying for a minute, then scoop up with your chosen implement and drain on the kitchen paper. Continue to dry the remaining noodles in batches as above.

5. Serve the broth hot on a bed of cooked egg noodles. Add a squeeze of lime juice and top with boiled eggs and the remaining garnishes in little bowls for everyone to help themselves to.

The Rangoon Sisters: Recipes From Our Burmese Family Kitchen by Emily and Amy Chung, recipe photography by Martin Poole, is published by Penguin and you can buy at Amazon.

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