Chicken poached in broth with noodles is a marriage made in heaven and this classic Burmese dish of coconut sauce noodles elevates the simple to the sublime. So you can always have some on hand, make the broth ahead of time and freeze for up to 3 months, then bring back to a simmer before using.
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) peanut oil
- 100 g fried noodles (see note)
- 40 g (¼ cup) chickpea (besan) flour
- 1 kg chicken thigh fillets, cut into 2.5cm pieces
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 35 (about 475 g) Asian red eschalots, plus extra, thinly sliced, to serve
- ¼ tsp ground turmeric
- 5 garlic cloves, crushed
- 270 ml coconut milk
- 350 g fresh egg noodles, cooked (see note)
- 2 eggs, hard-boiled, sliced
- lime wedges, coriander leaves and coarsely ground chilli (see note), to serve
- 1 chicken carcass
- 2 cm-piece ginger, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 eschalots, halved
- 1 tsp fish sauce
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Marinating time 10 minutes
To make broth, place all the ingredients in a stockpot with 1 lite water. Bring to the boil, then cover partially and simmer for 1 hour. Strain into a large, clean pan, discard solids and cover. Add enough water to make 800 ml.
Meanwhile, to refresh fried noodles, heat 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan over high heat. Add fried noodles and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until crisp and golden. Drain on paper towel and set aside.
Wipe pan clean, then place over medium heat. Add chickpea flour and cook, stirring continuously, for 3 minutes or until light golden. Reduce heat to low and cook for a further 2 minutes or until golden. Remove from heat and continue to stir for 1 minute or until cool. Transfer to a bowl and gradually whisk in 150 ml water until mixture forms a paste. Whisk chickpea flour mixture into chicken broth until smooth.
Place chicken in a bowl with fish sauce and ½ tsp salt, and stir to combine. Set aside to marinate for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, process 25 eschalots in a food processor to a fine paste.
Heat remaining 2 tbsp oil in a large wok or heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add turmeric and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant, then add eschalot paste and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until a little dry. Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
Increase heat to high, add chicken with marinade and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until meat is sealed and well coated in the mixture. Add 1 tsp salt, thickened chicken broth, coconut milk and the remaining 10 whole eschalots. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the oil becomes visible on the surface and the eschalots are tender.
Divide noodles among bowls, spoon over broth mixture and top with some crisp fried noodles and eggs. Serve with sliced eschalots, lime wedges, coriander leaves, ground chilli and remaining fried noodles and eggs on the side.
• Fried noodles are sold in large bundles at Asian food shops. Substitute broken crispy noodles from selected supermarkets and omit step 2.
• Fresh egg noodles are from the refrigerated section of supermarkets and Asian food shops. Substitute 500 g cooked dried egg noodles.
• Coarsely ground chilli is from Asian food shops.
As seen in Feast magazine, Issue 8, pg146.
Photography by John Laurie.