Si chet khao swe – Burmese garlic oil noodles

Garlic oil noodles (Si chet khao swe)


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Si chet khao swe literally means 'cooked oil noodles'. Si chet, or cooked oil, is usually made by frying garlic or onions in groundnut oil, but in this dish, rendered chicken fat adds a layer of umami and richness.

Carefully remove the skin and trim any pieces of fat from the chicken thighs, but do not discard. Place the thighs in a saucepan and chop the reserved skin and fat into tiny pieces
Place the chopped skin and fat in a frying pan with the oil and fry gently over a medium-low heat for 15–20 minutes, tossing from time to time until the fat renders and the skin begins to brown
Add the minced garlic to the frying pan and fry together with the browned skin on a medium-low heat for a further 10-15 minutes, tossing frequently until the chicken skin crisps up into crackling and the garlic turns golden and fragrant. Use a sieve to separate the chicken crackling and crispy garlic from the now aromatic cooked oil and set both to one side. When the crackling and garlic is cool, toss with half the MSG (or bouillon)
Add 750ml water, the whole garlic cloves, the sugar, the salt and the other half of the MSG or bouillon to the thighs in the saucepan. Turn the heat to medium and poach for 20 minutes until tender
Meanwhile cook the noodles in a saucepan as per the instructions, drain and return to the saucepan, covering with a lid to keep them warm
Remove the thighs from the chicken broth, pull the meat from the bones and chop the meat into 1cm chunks. Toss the warm noodles with 5 tablespoons of the broth, 3 tablespoons of the cooked oil, the light soy sauce, 8 grinds of fresh black pepper and half of the chopped spring onions
Divide the noodles between four shallow bowls and scatter with the chopped chicken, the chicken crackling and crispy garlic, half the remaining spring onions, and the crispy fried onions. Drizzle a teaspoon of the cooked oil over each bowl and add one more grind of black pepper to each
Divide the broth in small bowls and top with the rest of the spring onions and some black pepper. Serve the noodles with the bowls of broth on the side, drizzled with the chilli oil
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