Pad see ew is a famous Thai food that loosely translates to “stir-fried soy sauce noodles.” You can find it on the menu of almost every Thai restaurant or street food cart.
This savory delicacy combines the powerful flavors of soy sauce, oyster sauce, eggs, Chinese broccoli, and wide rice noodles. Pad see ew is savory with hits of umami from the special sauce. The wide rice noodles are best for soaking up the strong flavors from the sauces.
The best part about pad see ew is that you can easily recreate it at home. Although it requires some skill to caramelize the noodles, it’s a fairly easy dish. You can also choose your protein for this dish – chicken, shrimp, and even tofu. It is a 15-minute dish that leaves you craving more. So, ensure to make that extra serving after you read this guide.
What Is Pad See Ew?
Pad see ew is a Chinese-inspired Thai stir-fried noodle dish. It is a popular street food that you can see along the streets of Thailand. The signature wide rice noodles can be seen in many woks combined with dark soy sauce.
The trick to the perfect pad see ew is a combination of sweet, sour, and savory in the sauce. In addition, you must caramelize the rice noodles to perfection. Traditionally, many people use freshly made rice noodles for pad see ew. However, you can use dried rice noodles as a substitute. All you have to do is soak the noodles in hot water for about thirty minutes during prep time. Alternatively, some brands of noodles require boiling for a few minutes.
Pad See Ew Sauce
The sauce for pad see ew is simple yet very flavorful. It combines dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, vinegar, and sugar. Brown sugar makes the sauce stick to the noodles for caramelization. Meanwhile, the oyster sauce gives the dish an umami flavor, while the vinegar brings some sourness to the plate.
I use Thai sweet soy sauce instead of light soy sauce for authenticity. Thai sweet soy sauce is slightly sweeter and less salty than Chinese brands. Dark soy sauce gives the dish a deeper color and more intense flavor than regular soy sauce. Some add fish sauce to the mix for more umami flavors, but it is optional.
The rice noodles are a key part of this Thai delicacy. Pad see ew is traditionally prepared with Sen Yai, home-made flat wide rice noodles. However, Sen Yai is difficult to get in your local store, so any wide flat rice noodles will do. Noodles used for Pad Thai are also a good substitute for Sen Yai.
Cook rice noodles or soak them according to the packaging instructions. However, you can find some pre-made noodles in your local grocery stores. They are fresh and do not require boiling; you can even eat them straight out of the pack. Some of them come as pre-cut or full-sheet noodles. I typically prefer the full-sheet noodles as I can cut them as wide as I like.
It is important to remember that pad see ew uses wide noodles for a reason. The noodle sheets must be wide enough to soak up the strong flavors of the sauce. Using thin sheets might cause the sauce to overwhelm the noodles. So whether dried or fresh, pre-cut or full sheet, ensure to read the packaging instructions and follow accordingly.
Many people prefer to make pad see ew with chicken, but beef chunks or strips are also a favorite. Substitute chicken for shrimp, pork, or tofu, if you are vegetarian. If you are using tofu, fried tofu is the best option; the charred taste works well with the char of the noodle. You can easily get fried tofu from a grocery store or fry it yourself.
The other popular protein used in pad see ew is egg, because what is this dish without scrambled egg? Scrambled eggs are a staple in Thai stir-fry dishes and add protein to the dish. They also soak up the sauces and add a different texture to the dish.
Chinese Broccoli (gailan)
Chinese broccoli or gailan gives a crunchy finish to the dish. Gailan is a leafy vegetable with a similar stem texture to broccoli. You can use both the stems and leaves when making pad see ew, substitute gailan for a combination of broccoli or broccolini and spinach. Bok choy is also a good substitute for gailan.
Other ingredients for pad see ew are garlic, cooking oil, chili vinegar (optional), mushrooms (optional), and cornstarch (optional).
How to Make Pad See Ew
Pad see ew is a simple but flavorful 15-minute dish that just about anyone can make. As with every stir-fried dish, once you start frying, you don’t stop until your meal is ready.
Here are some tips to help you make the best pad see ew at home:
● Use a wok made of carbon steel for your stir-fries. A wok has enough room to combine all your ingredients, which is important to prevent noodle breakage. Woks also gather up enough heat to give your protein noodles a nice sear as your fry. Traditional pad see ew has a slightly caramelized finish to the noodles, and restaurants achieve this by using high-powered stoves. While you may not have that in your kitchen, ensure your wok is hot before throwing in your noodles. Substitute a wok for a large pan if you must.
● Marinate your protein of choice with soy sauce for at least 20 minutes while you prep your other ingredients. The protein needs some time to soak up the sauce flavors before cooking.
● Cut off the gailan stems and separate them from the leaves. Ensure not to put them together, as the stems are harder and need more time to fry.
● Remove your protein and gailan from the wok after cooking to avoid overcooking the protein. Focus instead on seasoning the noodles and eggs properly.
● Minimize noodle breakage by tossing less frequently. There is a temptation to toss ever so often when stir-frying, but that will leave you with broken noodles. Minimize your tossing and leave your dish to sear for seconds at intervals.
● To get a nice sear and smoky taste, let all ingredients sit in the wok for about 20 seconds before tossing.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Is pad see ew the same as drunken noodles?
Pad see ew differs from drunken noodles (pad kee mao) in that it is non-spicy. Both dishes use the same noodles and follow a similar process, but drunken noodles are spicier. Additionally, pad see ew uses gailan while pad kee mao uses holy basil.
- Can I make a gluten-free pad see ew?
To make the pad see ew gluten-free, swap your soy sauce for gluten-free soy sauce. The flavor profile is milder, but your dish will taste delicious nonetheless. You may also substitute soy sauce for tamari. It is less salty but thick and mellow. Rice noodles are typically gluten-free, but some varieties do contain gluten. Ensure to check the ingredient list on the package.
- How do I make the pad see ew sauce?
You can easily make pad see ew sauce by mixing dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar. Additionally, you can add oyster sauce or fish sauce for some extra flavor. Also, you can substitute white sugar for brown sugar if you prefer.
- Is pad see ew healthy?
Pad see ew contains a healthy mix of vegetables, proteins, and carbs from the gailan, chicken, and noodles. A serving of pad see ew can have about 430 calories. However, you can easily adjust the dish’s ingredients to make it more macro-friendly and low-calorie.
- How does pad see ew taste?
Pad see ew is well known for its rich flavors coming from the sauce. It has a savory flavor profile and is slightly sweet and sour. It is a non-spicy dish with flavors that balance out.
Easy Pad See Ew Recipe (Thai Stir-Fried Rice Noodles)
- ● Large wok or sauté pan
- ● Wok spatula
- ● Small and large bowls
- ● 8 - 10 oz chicken thinly sliced beef flank, shrimp, tofu, pork
- ● 2 32g tbsp light soy sauce
- ● 12-14 oz fresh wide rice noodles or
- ● 10 oz dried wide rice noodles
- ● 1 tbsp 16g Thai soy sauce
- ● 1 tbsp 16g dark soy sauce
- ● 2 tbsp 32g oyster sauce
- ● 1 tbsp 16g brown sugar
- ● 1 tbsp 5g plain white vinegar
Vegetables and others
- ● 6 stalks 156g of Chinese broccoli (gailan)
- ● 4 cloves garlic minced
- ● 2 tbsp 25g vegetable oil (canola or peanut oil)
- ● 3 large eggs
- Noodles: Depending on the noodles you buy, cook or soak according to package instructions. Time it so that you soak it just before using it, don't leave the noodles unattended for too long.
- Chicken: Combine the chicken and soy sauce in a bowl until the chicken is fully coated. Leave to marinate for about 20 minutes.
- Vegetables: Wash the Chinese broccoli thoroughly in clean water. Cut off the stalks from the leaves and separate them. Chop the leaves into halves, big enough to be easily grabbed by chopsticks.
- Pad see ew sauce: In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, oyster sauce, and white vinegar and leave to sit. You can mix in your sugar, but I prefer to put it directly on the noodles in the wok.
- Cooking Instructions
- ● Heat your wok or saute pan over medium heat and add 1 tbsp of oil. Add the minced garlic and fry for 15-30 seconds or until fragrant.
- ● To the garlic, add the marinated chicken and cook until it changes color. Do not cook it to perfection, as you still have to cook it further.
- ● Add the gailan stems after the chicken and cook until they are almost done. Then proceed to add the leaves and cook them until they wilt.
- ● Push the contents to a corner, add a little oil if necessary, and break in your eggs. Scramble the eggs using your spatula. At this point, transfer the contents of your wok to a large bowl.
- ● Heat the wok to medium-high and add another tablespoon of oil. Ensure that your wok is hot enough; heat is key in this next part.
- ● Put your noodles in the wok, stir up your sauce, and pour it on the noodles. Add in the brown sugar. Toss the noodles gently and completely coat them with the sauce to avoid breakage. Start caramelizing your noodles, leave them on medium heat for about a minute, then toss. Repeat until you notice charring on your noodles. This is how to get the authentic Thai flavor of pad see ew.
- ● Add the ingredients you set aside in your large bowl, but ensure not to add the water from the chicken. Gently toss everything together in the wok.
- ● Your pad see ew is ready to serve. Taste it and ensure the seasoning is perfect, then serve immediat
Now that you know just how easy it is to prepare an authentic Thai pad see ew, what are you waiting for? Pad see ew is a dish of Thai stir-fried noodles in a mixture of sauces. The combination of Thai soy sauces, oyster sauce, and vinegar gives it the perfect umami experience. The Chinese broccoli adds a much-needed crunch and texture to the meal. The fresh rice noodles easily soak up the flavors of the sauce and sear perfectly. Meanwhile, brown sugar lends a bit of sweetness that balances out the slightly charred taste of the noodles.
This dish is a favorite because it is quick, and the ingredients are easy to find. Additionally, it doesn’t take a chef to know how to prepare it. With the right guide, anyone can make pad see ew. Pad see ew is packed with savory flavors that leave you wanting seconds.