Pad See Ew

21 Jun

I almost fell into the cereal trap last night. You know the one–kids out, husband held up by unforeseen work event, tons to do while the house is blissfully quiet, and the chicken in the fridge will keep for another day. Cereal would have been quick and easy, with no cleanup other than chucking a bowl and spoon into the dishwasher. And I almost did it. I had the bowl in my hand when my inner mom spoke.

“You,” she said, “are worth a good meal.”

She was right. The bowl went on the counter, the chicken came out of the meat drawer, and I enjoyed a delicious, comforting meal of chicken, broccoli, and noodles in a sweet and salty Thai dish, all by myself. It was wonderful.

I’d been looking for a recipe for pad see ew since shortly after Christmas, when I had my first serving at a local Thai restaurant. The problem with most recipes for the dish is that they call for black or sweet soy sauce, and no store near me carries such a thing–even the fancy-schmancy gourmet market (I checked). The substitutes I found online varied wildly, calling for everything from molasses to star anise, and rather than re-invent the wheel, I kept looking for a recipe that didn’t call for anything I couldn’t buy in my local market.

The one ingredient caveat I’ll give you is this: the recipe calls for oyster sauce. Do not fall into the same trap I did and buy Oyster brand fish sauce. It’s not the same. The oyster sauce you want has the consistency of ketchup, and is sweet and dark. You do need fish sauce for this (I had some that feeds my pad thai addiction), so go ahead and grab some of that Oyster brand if you want, but you do need real oyster sauce too.

The original recipe for this dish called for rice noodles. I used Dutch style egg noodles instead. I know. Not authentic. But egg noodles scream comfort and happy to me, which is what I was going for, and they don’t clump up and get hard like rice noodles can. Make sure you drain whatever noodles you use very well before you add them to the wok. You don’t want any extra water getting in there. This would also be delicious with a punch of red pepper flakes, if you like your Thai food on the spicy side, or the addition of some sliced mushrooms.

And with that, I’m done babbling away. I’m having leftovers of this tonight, and I’m secretly hoping my family will all prove more popular than I again. More noodles for me. To have your own, you need:

8 oz noodles, either wide rice style or broad egg noodles, cooked and drained

1 cup broccoli crowns (I totally cheated and used a bag of nuked SteamFresh broccoli. It worked great.)

1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil

1 clove crushed garlic

1 bunch green onions, chopped (greens only)

1 pound chicken breast, sliced thin

1/2 cup water

1 tbsp cornstarch

3 tbsp oyster sauce

3 tbsp soy sauce (I recommend Tamari if you can find it–it’s not so salty)

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp sugar

1 egg

If you’re not cheating on the broccoli, cook it (boiling or steaming) until crisp-tender. Drain.

Heat the oil in a large wok or skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and let it cook for just a minute, moving it constantly so it doesn’t burn. Stir in the green onion. Add the chicken in a single layer, cover, and cook about 3 minutes, or until done on one side. Flip it and cook until it’s edible.

While the chicken is cooking, whisk the cornstarch into the water (not the other way around or it’ll clump up on you), and stir together the other sauces and sugar in a bowl.

Once the chicken is cooked, nudge it towards the sides of the pan, so there’s a bare spot in the center. Scramble your egg in that bare spot. When it’s firm, stir it into the chicken, and then stir in your cornstarch mixture and bowl o’ sauces.

Now, stir in your drained noodles and broccoli. Let it cook perfectly still for about 3 minutes, and then stir it up and do that again. You want some of the noodles to start caramelizing on the bottom of the pan. Let them brown a bit.

Chase your family out of the house, and enjoy.


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