A Plant-Based Take on Khow Suey
Health-Supportive Culinary Arts student Nandini Ravichandran won last week's market basket challenge by transforming a traditional Indian dish with zucchini.
We host a voluntary virtual market basket challenge each week on Instagram while our campuses are closed, and last week, Nandini Ravichandran won a second time when the must-use ingredient was zucchini. She spiralized the vegetable and used it to replace noodles in a Burmese noodle soup. Here she shares her process and recipe.
I don’t know about everybody else, but I find calm in the strangest of things – peeling carrots, cleaning mushrooms and spiralizing vegetables. With zucchini being this week’s must-use ingredient, it was the perfect opportunity for me to practice my calm – and I spiralized zucchini and then some.
Spicy zucchini noodles are the star of my dish, khow suey (or khao suey), for this week’s market basket challenge. Khow suey is a noodle dish in a spiced coconut milk soup that is served with a number of condiments. It originated in Burma, Myanmar, and is said to have come to East India with people who migrated during World War II. I cannot authenticate the historical origins of this dish, but I can definitely confirm that it ticks the box for several basic tastes: salty, sweet, sour and umami.
I replaced the egg/rice noodles traditionally served in khow suey with spicy zucchini noodles and made some rosemary and sea salt sweet potato rolls to complement the spicy notes.
Spicy Zucchini Noodle Khow Suey with Sweet Potato Rolls
Yields 3 servings
- 2 medium green zucchini, spiralized into noodles
- 1 yellow zucchini, medium diced
- 1/2 sweet potato, parboiled and medium diced
- 1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight and pressure cooked
- 1 can coconut milk (preferably full fat)
- 2 onions, 1 medium diced and 1 cut into thin slices
- 10 garlic cloves, 4 cloves chopped coarsely and 6 cloves thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
- 1 teaspoon lemongrass, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup vegetable stock, more if required
- 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, roasted
- 6 strawberries, cut into quarters
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
- 4 tablespoons neutral oil (I used sunflower oil)
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted
- 1/2 tablespoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon sumac
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder (less if you prefer less spice)
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
- 1/4 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
- 1/2 teaspoon roasted coriander powder
- 1 tablespoon pistou*
- 1 pinch chaat masala
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- 1 handful of cilantro microgreens
- 5-6 curry leaves
- 1 lemon, cut into quarters
*I used Thomas Keller’s recipe for pistou from foodandwine.com.
- Combine the diced onion, coarsely chopped garlic cloves (4), ginger, lemongrass, turmeric, red chili powder and 1 tablespoon neutral oil in a blender. Blend to a smooth paste-like consistency.
- Heat 1 tablespoon neutral oil in a Dutch oven or another deep dish. Once warm, add the paste prepared above and cook on medium to low heat for 3-4 minutes. You want to cook until the paste does not smell raw anymore.
- Add the diced yellow zucchini, sweet potatoes and cooked chickpeas with a pinch of salt and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add 1 cup of vegetable stock (I used a homemade curry stock made with zucchini and other vegetables, but store-bought will also work well), boil and cook for 8-10 minutes. Add more stock, if required to maintain soup-like consistency. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.
- While the soup is cooking, prepare the zucchini noodles and condiments as detailed below.
- In a mixing bowl, add the sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon pistou and chili flakes (if desired) to the zucchini noodles, and mix gently to coat the noodles (if desired, you can skip the pistou and add 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil). Set aside.
- Add 1 tablespoon neutral oil to a shallow pan and fry the sliced onions until crispy (about 8-10 minutes).
- Add 1 tablespoon neutral oil to a shallow pan. Once warm, add the thinly sliced garlic cloves (6). Continue frying on low heat until the garlic turns golden (be sure to not burn the garlic). Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel and salt to taste.
- Add the coconut oil to a shallow pan. Once warm, add the curry leaves and sauté for 1 minute. Add the roasted sunflower seeds and sauté for another minute over medium to low heat. Make sure to not burn the sunflower seeds. Turn off heat and add the garam masala, roasted cumin powder, roasted coriander powder, chaat masala and salt to taste. Mix well and set aside.
- Mix the strawberries and sumac in a small mixing bowl gently so as to not mash the strawberries. Add salt, if desired.
- Once the soup is cooked and the condiments are ready, assemble the dish. Place a serving of zucchini noodles in a bowl and pour a generous serving of the soup around it. Top with the prepared condiments, some cilantro microgreens and a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve warm with the sweet potato rolls.