Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pad See Ew

I finally got white dishes!

Jason and I saw The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook at a bookstore in Point Reyes Station last year. We immediately wanted to get it because there are beautiful xia long bao (Shanghai soup dumplings) on the cover. Long story short, I finally got the book and I am very happy I did.

First recipe I wanted to try was the pad see ew because it is a takeout favorite of ours. We stopped by our Ranch 99 (Asian market) and were able to find sweet soy sauce and fresh rice noodles. The book says if you can't find these ingredients that you can make your own sweet soy at home and use dried rice noodles. Using fresh noodles and all the correct ingredients really makes or breaks this dish in my opinion, so do a little legwork and get the right stuff. This is the first Thai noodle dish that I have made that actually turned out fantastic. It is so easy and even better than ordering in.

Pad See Ew
*Recipe courtesy of The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook  by Patricia Tanumihardja

1 pound fresh rice sheets or noodles, or 7 ounces dried rice sticks (Use fresh.)

8 ounces chicken, pork shoulder, beef or shrimp. (I used boneless skinless chicken breast.)

8 ounces Chinese broccoli

Boiling water

1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more as needed

3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)

1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce, divided

2 eggs

2 tablespoons sweet soy (if you cannot find, recipe follows)

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

Ground white pepper

Crushed dried red chiles for serving

If using fresh rice sheets, cut them into 2 inch wide strands and separate them. If using fresh noodles, separate the strands into a large bowl. (I used fresh noodles that were about 3/4 inch wide and they were perfect.) If using dried rice sticks, soak them in hot water for 6 to 8 minutes. You want them soft and pliable but not falling apart. Tip into a colander over the sink, rinse under cold running water, and drain.) Set aside. (I read a great tip about tossing the noodles with a spoonful of sesame or peanut oil so that they do not stick while cooking. I did this and it worked great.)
Fresh rice noodles tossed with sesame oil
Cut your meat along the grain into 1 1/2 inch thick strips. Then, with your knife at an angle almost parallel to the cutting surface, slice the meat diagonally across the grain into 1/8 inch think slices.

Separate the Chinese broccoli into leaf and stem pieces. Cut the stems into 2 inch pieces and halve the thicker ones lengthwise as they take longer to cook. In a heatproof bowl, soak the broccoli in boiling water until wilted but not fully cooked, about 30 seconds. Rinse under cold running water and drain.

Preheat a large wok or skillet over very high heat for about 30 seconds. Swirl in the oil and heat until smoking. Add the meat followed by the garlic and 1/2 tablespoon of fish sauce to flavor the meat. Stir and cook until the meat is no longer pink, about 1 minute. Push the meat to one side and crack in the eggs. Let the eggs cook undisturbed until the whites start to turn opaque, about 15 seconds, then stir to mix with the meat. Push the meat and egg mixture up one side of the wok.

Toss in the noodles and spread them across the bottom of the wok to make as much contact with the hot surface as possible. That's how you get the nice charred noodle bits and the unmistakable burnt flavor peculiar to foods fried in a searing hot wok. Add more oil if the noodles stick to the wok. Mix the noodles with the meat and eggs and stir everything swiftly around the wok.

Add the remaining fish sauce, the sweet soy sauce, oyster sauce and sugar. Sliding your spatula to the bottom of the wok, turn and toss all the ingredients to coat evenly with the seasonings. Add the Chinese broccoli and vinegar and toss with a couple more flourishes until well mixed and the broccoli is cooked through but the stems are still crunch, 1 to 2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. (I added more sweet soy, oyster sauce and a few squirts of Sriracha.)
Divide the noodles between 2 plates and sprinkle with white pepper. Serve with fish sauce, sweet soy, oyster sauce, vinegar and chiles or chile sauce on the side.

Making sweet soy sauce (if you cannot find it at the market)
Mix 1 tablespoon water, 1 tablespoon regular soy sauce and 3 tablespoons brown sugar in a small bowl. Microwave on medium for 20 to 30 seconds. Stir to mix. The flavor is similar but the consistency will be thinner than store-bought. Makes 1/4 cup.

We completed our meal with a Lost Abbey Ten Commandments. This was one of the darker beers we tasted today. We visited the brewery today and they said that this beer is brewed with raisins, rosemary, and honey. Great with our pad see ew and I love the bottle.
Picture from