Burma Superstar Shan Noodles

Burma Superstar Shan Noodles Recipe by Desmond Tan and Kate Leahy with five spice powder and chicken

This Shan Noodle recipe from the new Burma Superstar: Addictive Recipes from the Crossroads of Southeast Asia (c/o) cookbook co-authored by our good friend Kate Leahy is one of our favorite recipes in the book. This is a must try–and a recipe that is likely to become an easy weeknight staple. Kate has co-authored multiple cookbooks like The Preservation Kitchen: The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves, and Aigre-doux, A16: Food + Wine, SPQR: Modern Italian Food and Wineand Cookie LoveAll of her recipes are so well-tested and easy to follow that they turn out perfectly every time we make them.

The authentic Burmese dishes in the book are beloved by many in San Francisco and you can now make them at home! Kate described Shan Noodles as sort of a Burmese version of Bolognese, so we had to try them. She recommends using a large rice noodle, so we opted for Pad Thai noodles since they are readily available. Kate also suggested using ground chicken thigh if you don’t want to deal with chopping the thighs.

Pro tip: when you’re purchasing cayenne pepper, make note of what level of spiciness you are purchasing. We tested these a few times, and we had 70,000 heat unit cayenne on hand,  which was way too hot. We would suggest a milder cayenne so you can taste the flavors in the dish (or if your cayenne is exceptionally spicy, use half). Also make sure to use regular paprika, don’t get hot or smoked.

We’re giving away a copy of the Burma Superstar  to FOUR of our readers.  All you have to do is sign up for our email list. If you are already an Insider, then you’re automatically entered.  Winners will be selected at random and we’ll email you directly. This giveaway has ended, but keep an eye out for more giveaways via our email list.

Shan Noodles
  • 1½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into ¼ to ½ inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried chile flakes
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2 cups minced yellow onion
  • ¼ cup minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 10 to 12 ounces extra-large or large round rice noodles
  • ¼ cup peanuts
  • 4 green onions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
  • ½ cup pickled mustard greens
  1. In a bowl, use your hands to mix the chicken with the paprika, cayenne, turmeric, five-spice powder, salt, and chile flakes. Let the chicken marinate at room temperature while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. In a heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened and the edges start to brown, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, lower the heat to medium, and cook 3 minutes more.
  3. Add the chicken and cook, stirring often, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce looks rich and deeply red (thanks to the paprika), about 7 minutes. Lower the heat if the bottom starts to darken too much. Turn off the heat and stir in the soy sauce. Taste, adding more soy sauce or salt if needed (the sauce should taste assertive because the noodles are unseasoned).
  4. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook, stirring often with chopsticks to prevent sticking, 9 to 12 minutes (depending on how thick the noodles are) or until tender but still chewy. If the pot starts to boil over, add a cup of cold water to temper the heat of the water. Drain in a colander and rinse briefly under cool running water. Give the colander a shake to remove excess water.
  5. Transfer the noodles to a warmed serving bowl. Pour the chicken and all of the sauce on top and sprinkle with peanuts and green onions. Serve pickled mustard greens alongside.
Reprinted with permission from the author.

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