I am going to take you to the central dry region of Burma, which is the home to premium quality nuts, peas and beans, with this thick rice noodle salad called Nan Gyi Thoke. It features some top-notch produces like toasted chickpea powder and peanut oil, drawing the best flavors out of each other as they work harmoniously.
Nan Gyi Thoke is a famous Burmese breakfast item where thick and round rice noodles are tossed in a rich, nutty dressing. Every slurp is smooth and flavorful as they are slathered in both dry and wet components of the dressing including very fine powder of toasted chickpeas, fragrant red oil filtered from a curry chicken, fish sauce and lime juice. They together balance the viscosity of the salad while lending a wide range of flavors. Yes, there is a curry chicken but the meat part plays a less significant role. It is this deeply flavored oil that is built throughout the curry-making process, adding the depth and complexity to the dish.
For shredded chicken
- 1 lb. or 3 bone-in skinless chicken legs
- 4 garlic cloves
- ½ inch thick ginger piece
- 2 tbsp. fish sauce
- 3 cup water
For chicken curry
- 6 tbsp. peanut oil
- ½ cup chopped onions
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- ½ tsp. turmeric powder
- 2 tsp. paprika
- 1 tbsp. fish sauce
For garlic chili oil and flakes
- 5 tbsp. dried chili flakes
- 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
For toasted chickpea powder
- ½ lb. dried split desi chickpea or chana dal
For each serving of noodle salad
- 6 oz. or ½ cup cooked thick rice noodles / udon noodles
- 2 tbsp. chicken oil
- 2 tbsp. chicken meat
- 1 tbsp. toasted chickpea flour
- 1 tsp. fish sauce
- 1 tsp. lime juice
- Handful of chopped cilantro
- Slices of hardboiled egg
- Crispy rice noodles (thin rice noodles deep fried in a very hot oil for 5 seconds)
- Tad of garlic chili flakes
For the soup
- 1 tbsp. chopped green onions
- 1/4 tsp. while pepper
- Fish balls or meatballs of your choice
1. Boiling the chicken
- Boil the chicken over low heat along with garlic, ginger and fish sauce until the chicken shreds easily with a fork, 45 minutes to an hour.
- Remove the chicken from the stock and save the stock for later.
- Shred the meat using forks.
2. Making chicken curry
- Heat the oil and stir-fry the chopped onions and minced garlic until they are evenly brown.
- Add the turmeric powder and paprika.
- Mix in the shredded chicken and coat every piece with oil.
- Season with fish sauce and add 2 tbsp. of chicken stock.
- Cook away all the liquids for about 3-4 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and remove the pan from the stove.
- Tilt the pan and push all the chicken to the higher side letting all the oil to flow down.
- Spoon all the oil in a separate bowl.
3. Making garlic chili oil
- Heat the oil and fry the minced garlic till fragrant and light brown in color.
- Remove the pan from heat and immediately add the dried chili flakes.
- Stir well then let the oil cool.
4. Making chickpea powder
- Heat a large skillet over very low heat.
- Toast the split chickpeas stirring occasionally until they evenly turn light brown in color, for 15-20 minutes.
- Cool the toasted chickpeas completely and grind them in a food processor to get a super fine powder.
- Sift the chickpea powder.
(You can also make this powder by slowly toasting the chickpea flour on low heat. This results in better color but the raw nutty flavor and aroma are prominent. Taste and toasty fragrance are deeper and stronger in the above-mentioned method.)
5. Assembling the noodles
- Toss the noodles with the chicken oil, toasted chickpea powder, shredded chicken, hard boiled egg and chopped cilantro.
- Season with fish sauce, lime juice and garlic chili flakes.
- Mix well and adjust the seasoning to your personal taste.
6. Making the soup
- Bring the chicken stock to a boil
- Add the fish balls and simmer the soup until they are cooked.
- Top with green onions and white pepper powder.
Burmese language lesson
- Nan-Gyi–> Thick Noodles
- Thoke-> Salad