Thursday, May 21, 2015

Burmese Kya Zan Chet - Bean-Thread Vermicelli Soup

Kya Zan Chet
This is a hearty soup made from chicken broth and bean thread vermicelli with tofu and eggs for protein and a variety of pickled vegetables that add a tart and tangy flavor to the soup.

Bean thread noodles are a staple at Asian markets. It comes in bundles of dry, almost plastic like threads, eight bundles to a package. When they are submerged and softened in boiling water, the threads plump up and turn transparent, which is why these noodles are often referred to as glass or cellophane noodles. Used extensively in South East Asia, these noodles are gluten-free and made from mung bean starch. They are used in soups, stir-fries, salads and spring rolls. In Burma, the name is kya zan. Chet simply means 'cooked'.

Chinese Preserved Vegetables
The other prominent ingredient in my soup was one-quarter of a package of salty, sour and spicy Chinese vegetables. preserved in red chili paste and oil. One package goes a long way so after opening the package, I generally divide the contents into four tightly covered containers and refrigerate them. From what I could make out, the vegetables include cabbage, turnip, stems of mustard greens,  and wood-ear mushrooms.

Tofu & Garnishes
A slab of cubed tofu was added for protein and deep-fried onions and garlic garnished each bowl of soup.

Ingredients: (serves 2)
6 cups chicken broth
1 bundle mung bean thread vermicelli
1/2 block extra-firm tofu, cubed
1/4 pkg. Chinese preserved vegetables
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. chicken powder
salt & pepper to taste
2 eggs, beaten with salt
deep-fried onions
deep-fried garlic

  1. Rinse preserved vegetables to get rid of excess salt, drain, chop & set aside.
  2. Bring chicken broth to a boil and add vermicelli.
  3. Transfer vermicelli to a plate after it softens and cut into smaller lengths.
  4. Return vermicelli to soup pot and add the next 4 ingredients.
  5. Simmer over medium-high heat for 10 minutes until vegetables soften.
  6. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and remove soup from heat.
  7. Beat eggs with salt and pour in a thin stream while stirring the soup in one direction.
  8. Pour into soup bowls and garnish with deep-fried onions & garlic.
Serve immediately.

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