Sunday, February 2, 2014

Thai Cooking Series#2-Pad See Ew--Step by Step

In my second installment of the Thai Cooking Series, I'm going to show you how to make delicious Pad See Ew. This basically means "stir fried (pad) with soy sauce (see ew)". This is a very popular dish in Thai restaurants, both here and abroad. It is made with flat rice noodles, veggies, egg, and meat of your choice. It is by far my favorite Thai dish. There could be differences in the way it is made, though. The version I am sharing here are the step by step pictures and recipe as cooked in the kitchen of Paa Oot, a very gracious Thai lady who runs a popular restaurant here. One difference I find in her recipes (compared to others) is that she adds a lot of veggies (good thing, right?)

Ideally, to get this recipe right in your home, just remember these:
  • It is very important to get everything prepped and ready before you start cooking-don't go chopping the veggies while the garlic is frying! Trust the French to come up with a name for this-mis en place :-)
  • It's nice to do this in a big wok which you can cook on medium-to-high heat.
  • Flat, broad rice noodles are available either fresh or dry. Obviously, using the fresh ones are easier, but if only dry noodles are available, cook according to instructions on the pack and follow the recipe.
  • Dark/black sweet soy sauce is used for coating the noodle. This is more viscous and made from palm sugar molasses. Do not use light soy sauce for coating it!
  • Chinese kale or Chinese broccoli (Kai-lan) is what is usually used. I have seen recipes where broccoli florets have been substituted for this.
  • It is always better to make smaller portions of this, maybe for two people at a time, and repeat if you have more people to feed...this is because these noodles are quite complicated at first to get right in large quantities!
Here we go....

To serve one person:
Flat, broad, rice noodles (called Sen yai), fresh, or cooked and drained-200 gm (or just take 2 big handfuls!)
Garlic-5 fat cloves
Chinese kale/broccoli-2 stalks with leaves
Carrot-1/4 cup
Cabbage-1/4 cup
Snow peas-5-6
Chicken (boneless or fillet)-100 gm (or pork or prawns)
Sweet dark/black soy sauce-2 tablespoons
Oyster sauce-1-2 tablespoons
Cooking sauce-1-2 tablespoons (Maggi or Golden Mountain, etc)
Fermented soybean paste (Tao-jiao)-1 tablespoon (this can be optional-see Healthy Boy brand)
Black pepper  powder-1 tablespoon or to your taste
Sugar-1 tablespoon
Vegetable oil-4-6 tablespoons (usually palm oil is used in Thai cooking)

Chop up the garlic.

For the Chinese kale: First separate stalk from leaves. Peel off the skin of the stem using a peeler. Then cut the stalks into diagonal strips. Chop the leaves roughly into large pieces (they will wilt away, don't worry!).

For the carrot, cut into diagonal strips. For the cabbage, chop up roughly into large pieces. Leave the snow peas whole. Put the kale, carrot, cabbage, and snow peas in a bowl and sprinkle sugar on top (presumably it keeps them crisp).
Break the egg into a bowl. Do not beat.
Cut the chicken into strips.

Spread the flat noodles on a plate. Its okay if some are clumped together. Mix the dark soy sauce on them nicely with your hands.

Everything 'mis en place'!

1. Heat up your wok and pour in the oil.
2. When it is hot, put in the garlic and let it sizzle.
3. Put in 1 tablespoon of pepper.
4. Add the chicken strips and fry for 5 minutes. Then put in the fermented soy bean paste.

5. Move the chicken to the sides and pour in the egg. Scramble it up a bit.

6. Now add in the noodles.
7. Pour the oyster sauce and cooking sauce.
8. Stir around gently for 5 minutes or until it changes color like this. This must be on medium-to-high flame.
9. Now add all the veggies.

Keep stirring for 5 or more minutes, on high heat, till the leaves are wilted and the veggies and meat are cooked to your liking (the snow peas must still be crisp!). Do not add any water at any stage. It is more delicious if you actually burn it a bit, turning the egg brown and crispy. If you have to scrape it off the pan, you know you've done a good job!

Transfer to a plate and serve and eat hot!

For Thai stir fried vegetables with prawns, see Pad Pak Luam.

Do let me know if you tried and liked this and any other suggestions for other recipes you would like to see!

Until next time, Sawadeeka!