Shan warm chickpea ‘tofu’ noodle soup

Shan warm chickpea ‘tofu’ noodle soup

Luke Nguyen's Greater Mekong
Stuart Scott

This most-loved dish in Shan is made from ‘tofu’, but not your usual soya bean tofu. The ‘tofu’ is actually made from chickpeas! I was introduced to this dish by a lovely lady named Misuu. I sat with her family grinding soaked chickpeas in a traditional old stone mill — an experience I will never forget. You’ll Ÿfind chickpea flour in health food shops. For this recipe you will need to let it settle in cold water overnight, so start a day ahead.


Quantity Ingredient
400g chickpea flour
60ml peanut oil
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
5 red asian shallots, diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and pounded
4 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and pounded
3 tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 3 cm chunks

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
400g fresh rice noodles, cooked according to packet instructions
200g baby bok choy, leaves separated
200g bean sprouts
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
1 tablespoon roasted crushed unsalted peanuts
2 teaspoons fried garlic, (see note)
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar cane syrup or cane syrup
spring onion, sliced, to garnish
chilli flakes, to garnish
lime wedges, to serve


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour and 1 litre cold water until smooth. Leave to settle overnight.
  2. Ladle the liquid from the top of the chickpea flour mixture into a saucepan. Place over low heat and cook for 15 minutes, stirring or whisking so it doesn’t go lumpy.
  3. Now begin to add a few tablespoons of the remaining chickpea flour mixture every 2 minutes for the next 15 minutes, whisking or stirring often, until all the mixture is incorporated. The liquid will get thicker and thicker.
  4. Meanwhile, place a frying pan over low heat. Add the peanut oil and sauté the turmeric, shallot, garlic and ginger for 15 minutes. Now add the tomato, paprika, chicken and a pinch of sea salt. Stir-fry over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  5. Briefly blanch the baby bok choy in boiling water, drain and set aside.
  6. Toast the sesame seeds in a frying pan over medium heat until fragrant. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  7. To serve, divide the noodles among four soup bowls. Ladle the chickpea flour mixture over the noodles, then top with the chicken mixture. Top each bowl with the bok choy, bean sprouts, sesame seeds, peanuts, fried garlic, soy sauce and sugar cane syrup.
  8. Garnish with spring onion and chilli flakes and serve with lime wedges.


  • To make fried garlic and garlic oil, pour 250 ml vegetable oil into a wok and heat to 180°C, or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 15 seconds. Add 6 finely chopped garlic cloves and fry until golden — be careful not to overcook the garlic, as it will keep cooking once it is removed from the heat. Strain the garlic through a metal sieve and place on paper towels to dry. Store the fried garlic in an airtight container for up to 4 days; this recipe makes about 2 tablespoons. Reserve the garlic-flavoured oil to use in salads; it will keep for up to 2 weeks if stored in a cool place.
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