Bowls of colourful diced vegetables always catch my eye. So I was obviously drawn to the khow suey soup counter at Alila Diwa Goa’s Sunday brunch. I wasn’t hungry in fact for much more than soup (yes soup, even in the blistering afternoon heat).
Alila is lush and exquisite – so green and serene and calming, and so very Bali! Walking around this resort is meditative in itself – pathways between trees and plants, large brilliant green leaves leaning inwards as you walk, bowls of floating marigolds dotted around, an infinity pool that looks onto a seemingly endless forest of palm trees and greens. Watching the sun set and the colours of the sky change to deeper blues stroked with pink hues is a thing of dreams. And the spa and food all match up to the golden surroundings.
Back to the food – since I love adding extra bits and bobs to my soups, the khow suey was just the thing for me. And since there is something very curry like about this soup, it makes it even more soulsome and satisfying to eat alone. This is in fact a traditional Burmese soup, and its strong curry flavours lends itself well to Indians.
So I spoke to the chefs at Alila and they were kind enough to share this incredibly flavourful recipe for khow suey. Thank you, Chandra, who put it together for me and helped me, and the head chef who in fact makes this soup himself.
Vegetables to blanch in advance, for adding to the soup (if you don’t have all these vegetables, you can use a few or even swap for something else eg broccoli)
I would suggest boiling it all separately so that you can serve in separate small bowls – presentation!
4-5 baby corns, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
¼ medium cauliflower, separated into small florets
1 yellow zucchinis (or green if you prefer), finely chopped
handful green beans, chopped
for the soup
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1½ ginger, finely chopped
2 inch stalk lemongrass, finely chopped
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoons chickpea flour
1 cup coconut milk
salt to taste
1 teaspoon coconut sugar or brown sugar
crushed black peppercorns to taste
juice of 1 lemon or lime
1/3 cup roasted peanuts
100g noodles (I would use rice noodles)
½ cup diced tofu
2 tablespoons browned onions
1 tablespoons finely chopped fried or sautéed garlic
1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
few fresh coriander springs for garnishing
Start by boiling the noodles in water for a few minutes until the noodles are soft, drain and transfer into a bowl. Blanche all the chopped vegetables for around 5 minutes so these are ready as toppings. Now grind together the onion, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and turmeric powder into a fine paste. Heat the oil in a pan, add the ground paste and stir. Now add the chickpea flour and stir for around 5 minutes on low heat. Add 1 cup water, mix and cook further, whisk well, then add the coconut milk and stir well. Now add a further 1½ cups of water and keep stirring, then add salt, sugar, crushed peppercorns and bring to the boil. Squeeze the lemon or lime at the end and taste for salt, lime and sweet balance. Add more of anything you think is missing. Now the soup is ready to serve and eat. Arrange the chopped and blanched vegetables in separate small bowls, arrange the rest of the toppings in small bowls and lay on the table. If you don’t have enough bowls, you can always mix together all the vegetables and serve together.
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