Auntie May’s Coconut Chicken: Khaut Swe

Apologies– major slacking on the postings.  I guess that is what happens when I cook everything in one day- I forget that I actually have to tell you about it. So, mucho posts coming to you for your reading pleasure the next few days.

This dish is my favorite Burmese dish EVER. And, it’s the one that I always, always remember Auntie May making and the one that Little Buddha and I begged Mom to make. We didn’t know what it was- we merely called it the very technical and no doubt correct name of “coconut chicken.” Later I’d learn it was actually called khaut swe (pronounced cow-swai), though it’ll always be coconut chicken to me.


There are numerous recipes out there, but I knew I had to get Auntie May’s recipe since that was the one that I know and love. After reading a bunch of them, I realized that Auntie May’s was very different in one major respect:  she used yellow lentils as a base rather than the soybean or miso paste I found in so many other recipes. No surprise there, lentils were as common place in my house as milk.

So I asked Mama Buddha for the recipe and this is what she handed me:


SO precise.


Anyway, she did her best to create an exact recipe from the “little of this, little of that” method of cooking, and it came out perfectly, just as I remembered.  Why have I not been making this before now? Stupidity. That’s why.

The other thing about this, and probably one of the reasons that Little Buddha and I loved it so much as kids ,is that, unlike the Mohinga, is very mild with almost no heat at all. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t add any of those condiments I told you about a few days ago.  And, like the Mohinga, you eat this with rice vermicelli.

Khaut Swe
Serves 8
Delicious coconut curry lentil soup
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  1. 1 chicken, cut up
  2. Paprika and turmeric (to coat the chicken-see below)
  3. 2-3 TB oil
  4. 3 onions, thickly sliced
  5. 3 inches ginger, sliced into small toothpicks
  6. 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  7. 2 cups yellow lentils, cooked until soft with 1 clove garlic and 1 inch ginger
  8. 1 TB fish sauce
  9. 1 15-ounce can lite coconut milk
  10. 2 cups chicken broth
  11. 4 hard boiled eggs, sliced
  12. Vermicelli noodles, to serve
  13. Cilantro, to garnish
  14. The condiments
  15. Lime juice, as desired
  16. Salt and pepper, to taste
  17. Vermicelli, to serve
  1. Cut up the chicken pieces and sprinkle with turmeric and paprika to coat (sorry this isn’t more exact-just cover the pieces).
  2. Saute the chicken pieces in a deep stock pot with about 2 TB oil, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the pot.
  3. In the same pot, add the garlic, ginger and onions, and cook down about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add the coconut milk, chicken broth, fish sauce and lentils to the pot.
  5. Add the chicken. Cover and simmer about thirty minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
  6. Add the eggs right before serving.
  7. Serve atop the noodles. Slurp away.
The Hungary Buddha Eats the World


raw chicken


cooked chicken



Slurp Away!

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