Pad See Ew
Pad See Ew (chewy pan-fried rice noodles) is the most epic and beloved street food in Thailand, and today, I’m going to teach you how to make it at home with step by step photos, tips and tricks and a pantry friendly sauce! Pad see ew is a soft tangle of chewy rice noodles, juicy chicken (or sub your favorite protein), crisp tender Chinese broccoli and soft eggs enveloped in a light, salty, savory sauce with a kiss of sweetness, a kiss of sour and a kiss of that irresistible charred smokiness. This pad see ew recipe boasts the big signature flavors, contrasting textures and is restaurant delicious but is made with pantry friendly ingredients and is less expensive than dining out. You will also love that this pad see ew recipe is easy to customize to include whatever veggies or protein you like and that it can be on your table in 30 minutes – perfect for all those busy weeknights – but delicious enough for date night. Let’s get cooking!
Servings 4 servings
Chicken: Combine chicken with 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 teaspoon sesame oil in medium bowl; set aside.
Noodles (skip this step if using fresh noodles): Place the noodles in a large bowl and pour boiling water over top until completely submerged and give them a good stir. Wait 10-12 minutes until they are pliable but still al dente/crunchy, stirring occasionally so they don’t stick together. Rinse noodles in cold water, while separating any stubborn noodles with your fingers. Drain and toss in with 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Set aside.
Broccoli: Slice any thick stalks in half vertically so they aren't any wider than 1/4-inch (for me, this was all my stems). Chop the stalks into 1-inch pieces. Roughly tear any extra large leaves.
Sauce: Whisk all of the Sauce Ingredients together in a medium bowl; set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over high heat. Once very hot, add chicken and stir fry 1 minute. Add broccoli stems and stir fry until broccoli is nearly tender and chicken is cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add Chinese broccoli leaves and garlic and sauté 30 seconds.
Reduce heat to medium, push everything to one side of the pan and pour beaten eggs in the empty side of the pan. Scramble just until cooked through then stir into the chicken/broccoli. Transfer everything to a large plate. Scrape wok clean.
IF USING A WOK, heat 2 Tablespoons oil over high heat. IF USING A NONSTICK SKILLET, heat 2 teaspoons oil over high heat (the oil helps prevent the noodles from sticking). Add the noodles and sauce to the pan and toss to combine. Spread the noodles over the surface of the pan and let them sit without touching for about 30 seconds. Flip/stir the noodles and spread them out again; repeat 2-3 times until the noodles soak up the sauce, start to caramelize and reach desired tenderness.
Add the chicken mixture and toss to combine. Stir fry another 1 minute. Serve immediately.
Tips and Tricks
- Oyster/fish sauce substitute: If you’re allergic to shellfish/vegetarian, use LEE KUM KEE Vegetarian Stir-Fry Sauce instead of oyster sauce and fish sauce.
- Soy sauce + molasses + brown sugar: create an easy substitute for Thai sweet soy sauce. Do NOT skip the molasses, it is what makes this pad see ew recipe taste authentic! Use low sodium soy sauce or your pad see ew be too salty.
- What noodles to use: pad see ew is made with flat, extra wide, rice noodles known as Sen Yai, which can be difficult to find, even at Asian markets; they are also difficult to stir fry without breaking. A welcome accessible substitute is dried wide rice noodles. You’ll want to purchase the 1/4-inch wide rice noodles (often called “Pad Thai” Rice Noodles) or even wider if you can find them. The Amazon noodles I used are A Taste of Thai Extra Wide Straight Cut Dried Rice Noodles. They are 3/8 of an inch (1/8 wider than Pad Thai Noodles) and give the dish a more authentic mouth feel. In fact, America’s Test Kitchen rated them the best dried wide rice noodles, with superior charring ability – exactly what we need!
- Don’t overcook dry rice noodles: check the noodles at the 6 minute soaking mark then continue to soak if needed. You want the noodles to be limp and pliable, but still slightly firm and slightly crunchy because they will continue to cook with the sauce. Once you add the sauce to the noodles in the wok, you can cook them to your desired texture.
- Warm fresh rice noodles: to reduce breakage of fresh rice noodles, bring them to room temperature before stir frying by 1) transferring the noodles to a microwave safe dish, drizzling with a couple of tablespoons of water, covering with a damp paper towel and microwaving for 20 seconds or until warm; or 2) transferring the fresh rice noodles from the refrigerator to a colander and quickly running hot tap water over them. Be sure to shake off any excess water and use them immediately.
- Chinese broccoli/gai lan substitute: gai lan typically can only be found at Asian markets. You may substitute with broccoli and baby spinach or bok choy leaves. Slice the broccolini stalks in half vertically, then chop into 1-inch pieces to use in place of the Chinese broccoli stalks. Chop the florets and add them later when the leaves are added in the recipe. Use baby spinach or bok choy leaves in place of the Chinese broccoli leaves.
- Chile vinegar: is often served alongside pad see ew at restaurants. You can make your own chili vinegar by combining 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar with 1 serrano chili, stemmed and sliced into thin rings. Let the vinegar stand for at least 15 minutes.
- Use the correct pan: if you have a wok, then it is ideal for this pad see ew recipe because it can safely reach high temperatures to char the ingredients. If you don’t have a wok, you will want to use a nonstick skillet, NOT stainless-steel or cast iron like I commonly use in stir fries. The noodles are extremely sticky and will stick and break against any other pan that's not nonstick unless you use an exorbitant amount of oil which will make your pad see ew recipe unappetizingly greasy.
- Storage: pad see ew is best eaten fresh because the noodles will continue to soak up the sauce until there’s no sauce left! The leftovers will be very flavorful and the noodles will still be chewy but they aren’t as appetizing because they taste much drier. Still, leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Microwave or warm in a skillet with a splash of water to add some moisture back to the dish.
PAD SEE EW with different proteins
- Pad see ew with shrimp: use 8 oz. peeled, deveined medium shrimp. Toss the shrimp with the soy sauce and sesame oil like the chicken. Cook the shrimp separately from the broccoli, just until opaque, about 3 minutes, then transfer to a plate. Don’t add back to the work/skillet until ready to combine at the very end.
- Pad see ew with beef: use 8 oz. flank steak or top sirloin sliced into thin strips. Whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil and 1 teaspoon cornstarch in a medium bowl then add the steak and stir to combine; let marinate while you prep the ingredients. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet over high heat. Add the beef to the skillet and line in a single layer and sear for 1 minute, flip and sear the other side Transfer beef to a plate. Don’t add back to the work/skillet until ready to combine at the very end.
- Pad see ew with pork: use 8 oz. pork tenderloin sliced into thin strips. You’ll treat the pork very similarly to the steak. Whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil and 1 teaspoon cornstarch in a medium bowl then add the pork and stir to combine; let marinate while you prep the ingredients. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet over high heat. Add the pork and stir fry just until cooked through. Transfer to a plate. Don’t add back to the work/skillet until ready to combine at the very end.
- Pad see ew with tofu: use extra-firm tofu. Start by draining excess moisture from the tofu by placing it in a pie plate, topping with a heavy plate and weighing down with 2 heavy cans (to release water). Set aside for 10 minutes then cut into ½-inch cubes and toss with the soy sauce and sesame oil before stir frying. Transfer to a plate and don’t add back to the work/skillet until ready to combine at the very end.