This Home-Style Chicken Kebat is a Burmese curried stir-fry hailing from Burma Superstar in San Francisco. It's quick, easy, and utterly delicious!
(This recipe was originally published in August 2017, but was updated with new photos and content in 2020).
Kebat is a classic Burmese stir-fry dish that is common throughout homes in Myanmar (formerly Burma). It's not typically found in restaurants there, however.
San Francisco eatery Burma Superstar has brought this comforting dish front and center. The restaurant serves it with a variety of protein options including chicken, beef, shrimp, and tofu.
In the cookbook of the same name, all of these recipes are available in both restaurant-style and home-style variations. The main difference is the spice mixtures used, but both include the standard sliced onion and tomato wedge components along with a fragrant finish of cilantro.
I elected to try the home-style chicken kebat, which is insanely easy to make. It features Madras curry powder and a hit of fish sauce along with a generous amount of garlic. The flavors are simple yet exquisite.
A slight crunch from the onions, juicy and sweet tomatoes, and delicious warmth from the curry powder all soak into grains of plain rice. The book suggests jasmine, but I use basmati since that's what I usually have on hand.
How to make it
This recipe for chicken kebat is quick and simple, perfect for a weeknight meal. Here's how you make it.
First, slice your chicken into 2-inch wide strips. At Burma Superstar they use thighs, but I use chicken breasts or tenders. Toss the chicken strips with curry powder, fish sauce, and salt. Set aside.
Peel and halve an onion. Slice half into thin slices, and finely chop the other half.
In a large wok or skillet, heat the oil. Then add the chopped onion and cook until softened (PHOTO 1). Then add minced garlic for another minute until fragrant (PHOTO 2).
Next, add the curry-marinated chicken strips (PHOTO 3). Stir and cook for about 5 minutes, then add a little water, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and all the liquid is evaporated (PHOTO 4).
Add sliced onion and tomato wedges (PHOTO 5). Stir and cook just for another minute until the onion starts to wilt but isn't softened (PHOTO 6).
Serve immediately topped with chopped cilantro, along with a scoop of plain rice and a lemon or lime wedge.
This chicken kebat is quick, easy, and full of flavor, making it a solid choice for a weeknight excursion from the norm. You can definitely try it with other proteins like shrimp and beef if you prefer.
Please scroll to the bottom of the post for the full recipe (in a printable recipe card) including ingredient amounts and detailed instructions.
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Home-Style Chicken Kebat
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenders
- 1 ½ teaspoons Madras curry powder
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 small to medium yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 Roma tomatoes each cut into 6 to 8 wedges
- Handful of cilantro sprigs coarsely chopped, for garnish
- 1 lime or lemon cut into wedges for garnish
- Slice the chicken into ½-inch wide strips. Transfer to a bowl and use your hands to mix the chicken with the curry powder, fish sauce, and salt. Let the chicken marinate at room temperature while you prepare the other ingredients, or refrigerate overnight.
- Halve and peel the onion. Slice half the onion thinly, and finely dice the remaining half. Set the onion slices aside to add at the end.
- In a wok or large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the diced onions and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
- Add the chicken and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the water and continue to cook until the chicken is cooked through and the water has evaporated, about 5 minutes more. Mix in the sliced onion and tomatoes and cook for about 1 minute more. The onions should still be crisp in the center (not completely wilted). Serve with the cilantro on top and lime wedges alongside.
- If you prefer dark meat, you can swap out the chicken breasts/tenders for boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
- The recipe calls for Madras curry powder, which is a specific version of the versatile spice mixture that is curry powder. If you don't have Madras curry powder, use another kind and it will still taste delicious.
- Serve with plain jasmine or basmati rice.
- Adapted from Burma Superstar
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*