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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pantay Khao special birthday dish

I am thirty something years young now and for about the last 15, or so years, on my birthday, my mum makes me the same dish.  It’s one of very few food rituals that exists in our family and I guess I am little spoilt to be the recipient of this dish.  More so, special, because my mum is not the chief cook in the household – the kitchen tends to be the males’ domain for some reason, from my dad to me and my brother.  The dish that is synonymous with my birthday is a traditional Burmese dish that has been given an Anglo-Indian tweaking by my mum.  It’s called Pantay Khao Suey (pronounced parn-tay cow sway) and can best be described as a meaty curry soup enjoyed over noodles.  I have also made it a rule that this dish is not made on any of the other 364 days in the year – unless you want to celebrate my birthday twice.  As this blog of mine is in its first year, it was only right to add the recipe for Pantay Khao Suey and immortalize it forever on the internet.  This was not an easy task since neither of my parents have their recipes written down somewhere to refer to.  Instead they tend to know just what ingredients to put in and just how much of it.  So this time around I took notes and pictures – otherwise I would have to wait until next March.
For the curry paste
2 tsp x black peppercorns
2-3 x dried chilli
2 tsp x cumin seeds
2 tsp x coriander seeds
2 tsp x mustard seed
2 tsp x hing (a.k.a. asafetida available at Indian grocers)
4 tsp x tamarind extract
1 cup x water
1 tsp x salt
For the curry soup
1 kg meat, cut into thin strips (I insist on the meat being beef since Khao is pronounced “cow”, but chicken and lamb can be substituted)
2 tbsp x vegetable oil
5 x onions, diced finely
2 tbsp x garlic, crushed
3 tbsp x ginger, crushed
20 x curry leaves
1 tsp x chilli powder
1 tsp x turmeric
Water to cover
2 x 400ml cans coconut milk
Salt to taste
To serve
250g packet x thin vermicelli noodles cooked al dente (angel hair pasta is my preference)
Coriander leaves, chopped roughly
Spring onion, sliced finely
Fresh chilli, sliced finely
Fresh lime, cut into wedges
Fried garlic, thin slices of garlic deep fried till crispy
Shrimp powder, roast dried shrimp in a dry pan then grind to a powder
Roasted noodles, break noodles into 2 inch lengths and dry roast noodles in a pan
For the paste grind all the whole spices and mix with the tamarind paste
Dissolve the salt in the water and stir through the spice mixture  
 Make a second paste in bowl combining the crushed ginger and garlic
Keep both aside while you start the cooking process
Heat oil in a heavy pot then add onion and fry gently until soft and golden
Stir in the garlic, ginger and curry leaves, and fry for 2 minutes until fragrant
Now add the chilli and turmeric powders followed by the curry paste mixture
Stir to combine then add the strips of meat and turn to coat with the spices

At this point check the seasoning and add extra salt if required
Add enough warm water to cover the meat and bring to the boil
Lower heat, cover pot with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes
Stir in the coconut milk and cook on low heat for a further 10 minutes
Adjust the consistency of the liquid adding extra water if you prefer a thinner soup

Serve the curry soup into bowls of cooked noodles

Sprinkle generously with your choice of garnishes – this is the best part and what sets Pantay Khao Suey apart from any other curry soup dishes, as you get to control the end flavour your own soup. 

 Now this is what a well garnished bowl of Pantay Khao Suey is supposed to look like - a little bit of everything - oh so delicious.

There was a festive group of family and friends who came to celebrate my birthday that night.  I think it was the largest group that my mum catered for. So here we go with some happy snaps of some of them enjoying a bowl of Pantay Khao Suey - made my mum's way.

"Recently I was dining at Laksame in the city and noticed a Khao Suey on their menu.  The dish tastes completely different to my mum's as it is based on a Thai Red Curry broth.  Nevertheless it was exceptionally good and I knew I had to try to make it at home.  Check out my recipe for Khao Suey Gai."


Anonymous said...

It reminds me of my own recipe.
I was just chatting with my daughter and she said, "I like your recipe Mamma".
I love trying out knew recipes but if I dont have the ingredients I substitute or leave it out. Turns out good and everyone enjoys and will ask for my recipe.
Thank you for sharing.
God Bless.

Anonymous said...

I just came across your blog. Khao Suey is our family's special dish too...but I havent come across Pantay Khao Suey so it was nice reading about it. My mum was Anglo Indian too and she learnt this from her best friend who was Anglo Burmese- way back in the 1950s!