Saturday, March 3, 2012

Shan Khauk Swe (Shan Noodles)

Shan is one of the states in Burma bordering China, Thai and Laos. Their regional food has different types of noodles that are well known throughout the country. This dish is originally from there but I got to taste it when my sister was visiting us and she cooked for us. We loved it so much that I have been making this few times after her visit.

There are different versions of this dish and is usually served with some chicken broth soup and sour mustard greens. This is a dry version and I usually eat it by itself as it does taste pretty good on its own. During her time living in Loikaw (capital of Kayah State, neighboring state of Shan), my sister got this recipe from a lady that sells these noodles.

Recipe updated: Apr 10, 2012
Amount of Red Chili Powder used has been updated.

Shan Khauk Swè (Shan Noodles)

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 40 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

For Gravy

2 pounds Tomatoes – slit a cross-shape just through the skin with a sharp knife, at the bottom of each tomato
1 teaspoon Salt
1 pound Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
3 tablespoon Soy Sauce (adjust to taste)
3 tablespoon Oil
8 cloves of Garlic – crushed or finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
1/8 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
4 teaspoons Red Chili Powder (adjust to taste)
2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
2 teaspoon Fish Sauce (adjust to taste)

Other Ingredients:
1 pound fresh Vietnamese Flat Rice Stick Noodle (Banh Pho)
1/2 pound Chinese Greens (Yu Choy) – discard few inches off the bottom; cut into 2 inch pieces and wash well
1/2 cup Roasted Peanuts – coarsely grounded
4 teaspoons Soy Sauce (adjust to taste)

  1. In a pot big enough to fit all the tomatoes; fill it with 1 cup of water and add salt. Stir and add the tomatoes, cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Once water comes to a boil, cook for about a minute or two, just to loosen up the skin but not to cook the tomatoes.  Remove from heat, pour out the water and leave the tomatoes to cool uncovered.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the chicken into as small as you can or about less than 1/4 inch pieces. It will look almost like minced chicken. Add 2 tbsp of soy sauce mix well and keep aside. (I find that partially frozen chicken is easier to work with when chopping it.)
  3. When the tomatoes are cool, remove the skin and discard. Cut the tomatoes in half and remove as much seeds as possible without removing any pulp. Discard the seeds, chop the tomatoes finely and keep aside.
  4. Heat a pot with oil over medium heat. Once hot, add garlic, turmeric powder, chili powder and cook for few seconds till fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  5. Add chicken, increase heat to high and cook stirring frequently until all chicken pieces turns opaque and it starts to release water. Stir for few more seconds and add chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, fish sauce and the remaining 1 tbsp of soy sauce.
  6. Stirring occasionally, cover and cook over medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes until all tomatoes are crushed and the oil starts to separate from gravy. You should not need any water but if it is too dry, add some water. Turn off the heat and is ready to be served.
How to serve:
Have all ingredients ready before serving. You will have to work with one serving batch at a time.
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. The pot should be big or deep enough with enough water for noodles to be dipped in with a noodle-strainer or any strainer that you will be using.
  2. Once water comes to a boil, place a handful of Chinese greens into the strainer and dip the strainer in the boiling water for about 10 to 20 seconds for the greens to wilt.
  3. Remove strainer from water, place a big handful of noodles into the strainer. Dip the strainer in boiling water for 3 to 5 seconds. Noodles will cook right away and you don’t want to overcook them, so work quickly.
  4. Place the cooked noodles along with the greens to a serving bowl. Ladle couple scoops of chicken gravy on top. Top it up with peanuts, crushed chili and 1 tsp of soy sauce (adjust to taste) and serve immediately.
  5. Mix everything before eating.
  • If you cannot find the fresh noodles, dry noodles will work as well. Soak them in cold water for couple hours and cook as mentioned above.
  • Since vegetables take little longer than noodles, start with vegetables and add noodles. However, they both can be cooked separately but having vegetables at the base while cooking noodles will help with not overcooking the noodles. 
  • If noodles are all over the place and not able to fit neatly into the strainer while cooking, remove from boiling water and make sure that they are not dipped into water while gathering them.  
  • Make gravy spicy enough so that you don’t need to add more chili at the time of serving. If not, serve with toasted crushed red pepper.
Print this recipe >>


  1. Ke yours look like less gravy and less chili in gravy, but looks yummy

    1. Hi Kaw, gravy was enough but I added only half scoop for picture so that noodles can be seen but you're right about chili. How much would you suggest?

  2. Thank you but what do u add to get Shan flavor ?


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.