Khao Suey with Prawn Balichow

Spice up your life with Maria Elia's rich blend of chicken, seafood, noodles and coconut, topped with a tangy sauce
By Maria Elia
Khao Suey with Prawn Balichow
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes
  • Effort: hard


For the prawn balichow

  • vegetable or grapeseed oil, for deep-frying
  • 500 g peeled tiger prawns, diced
  • 5 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black onion seeds
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 300 g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 red chillies, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3 cm piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, finely chopped
  • 125 ml malt vinegar
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds

For the khao suey

  • 250 g linguine
  • 1 bunches coriander, with roots
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 cm piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1.5 tbsp gram flour
  • 2 small tins coconut milk
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 4 lime leaves
  • 250 g mussels, beards removed
  • 12 king or tiger prawns, shells removed
  • 300 g white fish fillets, diced, or 12 scallops
  • 1-2 lemons, juice only
  • fish sauce, to taste

To serve

  • chopped hard-boiled eggs
  • pickled ginger
  • crispy shallots

Tips and Suggestions

Any firm white fish fillets such as snapper, grouper or monkfish are suitable for this recipe.


1. For the prawn balichow, fill a deep-fryer with oil and heat to 170C. When ready to fry, add the chopped prawns in batches and cook until crisp. Remove and set aside to drain on kitchen paper. Reserve 4 tablespoons of oil from the pan.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the reserved oil in a wok. Add the curry leaves, cumin and onion seeds and fry until the leaves have coloured. Add the onion and fry until it is soft and golden.

3. Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, sugar, cumin, chillies, peppercorns, garlic, ginger, lemon grass, vinegar, cardamom, cloves and mustard seeds in a food processor and purée the mixture until smooth.

4. Add the tomato mixture to the onions and cook over a low heat until the mixture has thickened. Remove from the heat and add the fried prawns. Set aside to cool, then refrigerate.

5. For the khao suey, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook according to the packet instructions until almost cooked, with some bite remaining. Drain and set aside.

6. Meanwhile, cut the roots from the bunch of coriander and wash them thoroughly to remove any dirt or sand. Dice them finely and set aside. Pick the best looking leaves from half of the bunch of coriander and set aside to use as a garnish. Roughly chop the remaining half bunch of coriander and set aside to add to the sauce later.

7. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of prawn cooking oil in a large saucepan. When hot, add the onion and fry until golden brown. Add the ginger and turmeric and cook for 1 minute more.

8. Add the chicken and cook till it changes colour. Stir in the gram flour and cook for another minute.

9. Pour in the coconut milk and 225ml of water, then mix in the lemon grass, chilli sauce, diced coriander roots and kaffir lime leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

10. Add the mussels, prawns and fish and simmer gently for 2 minutes or until the mussels have opened. Season to taste with lemon juice and fish sauce and stir in the roughly chopped coriander.

11. Meanwhile, reheat the linguine briefly in boiling water, then drain and divide among six serving plates. Top with the khao suey. Garnish with picked coriander leaves, and top with the prawn balichow. Serve with the hard boiled egg, pickled ginger and crispy shallots.

Rate This Recipe