A real restaurant quality recipe for Pad See Ew, the popular Thai stir fried noodles straight from the streets of Thailand. While Pad Thai is sweeter and nuttier, Pad See Ew is salty, balanced with a touch of sour and a wonderful chargrilled flavour which you can create at home!
Pad See Ew, which means “stir fried soy sauce noodles, is an extremely popular Thai street food meal and probably the most popular noodle dish at Thai restaurants in Western countries. You may have tried and been disappointed by other recipes in the past. It all comes down to the sauce. You have to get the sauce right!
I can’t remember where I originally got the recipe from. Probably from David Thompson, the famous Australian chef who has dedicated his life to mastering the art of Thai cooking. I’ve made it so many times over the years, I can almost make it with my eyes closed. (Not really….but you know what I mean!)
So I had to actually measure the ingredients properly to share the recipe!
The unique technique with Pad See Ew is the cooking of an egg in the wok. Bits of scrambled egg gets stuck to the other ingredients and the char it creates adds to the authentic flavour of this dish.
Pad See Ew is traditionally made with Sen Yai, which are wide, thin fresh rice noodles which you can get from Asian grocery stores. But it is perfectly acceptable, and just as delicious, to make them with any wide flat rice noodles. I make this with dried Pad Thai Noodles or other fat, flat rice noodles because supermarkets in my area don’t sell Sen Yai and I didn’t have the energy to make the trek to the closest Asian store.
You can really make this with any noodles you want, fresh or dry, such as Hokkien, Singapore or other egg noodles suitable for stir frying, but I don’t recommend making this with vermicelli noodles, because they are too thin for the strong flavours of this sauce.
Here are the noodles I used for this recipe that are sold at supermarkets and grocery stores like Coles, Woolworths, Aldi and Harris Farms (as well as Asian stores of course, but if you are ate Asian store, get the fresh noodles!). It is really similar to Sen Yai, except that it’s dried, not fresh, and not quite as wide.
The other key authentic ingredient in this is Chinese Broccoli, otherwise known as Gai Lan or Kai lan. It’s leafy and looks quite different to broccoli, but you’ll notice a similarity in the texture of the stems.
You can substitute the chicken with other proteins that are suitable for stir frying, and you can substitute the Chinese broccoli with other vegetables – preferably similar leafy Chinese greens such as pak choy or bok choy. But I’ve also been known to make this using whatever vegetables I have leftover at the end of the week, such as sliced carrots, onion and bean sprouts.
The 3 components to this dish are the noodles, the sauce, and the ingredients to stir fry. Have all of them ready to toss into the wok as once you start cooking, it only takes a few minutes so you don’t want to be scrambling around the kitchen.
Hope you enjoy it! – Nagi x
* Originally published June 2014. Updated with fresh new photos because my photography has somewhat improved since then!
- 8oz/200g rice stick noodles, or fresh Sen Yai Noodles if you can get them
- 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce or kecap manis (see notes for substitutes)
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic cloves
- 1 cup chicken thighs (boneless, skinless), cut into bite size pieces
- 1 large egg
- 4 cups (packed) Chinese broccoli, leaves separated from stems (cut stems vertically into thin sticks)
- Prepare the noodles according to packet instructions. Some just require soaking in boiling water for 5 minutes, others require cooking in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes. Drain when ready.
- Meanwhile, combine sauce ingredients.
- Mince the garlic straight into the wok with the oil. Place wok high heat. As the oil is heating, the garlic will gradually heat too and infuse the oil with flavour.
- When the oil is hot and the garlic is starting to turn golden, add the chicken and Chinese broccoli stems and stir fry for 1 minute.
- Move the chicken and Chinese broccoli to one side and crack in the egg, and scramble it. Don't worry if some of it sticks to the wok, it will char as you continue cooking - you want that chargrilled flavour!
- Add the noodles, Chinese broccoli leaves and the sauce. Fold gently to combine, for the sauce to coat the noodles evenly and to caramelise, and the leaves to just wilt. They only need to be just wilted because they will continue to cook while you are plating up.
- Serve immediately.
2. If you can't find Chinese broccoli, you can substitute with other leafy Chinese vegetables such as pak choy or bok choy. You can also add other vegetables if you wish.
3. You can substitute the chicken with other proteins suitable for stir frying, even tofu or prawns.
4. You can use other noodles if you want, fresh or dried, rice or egg noodles. However, I do not recommend using vermicelli as it is too thin for the strong flavours of the sauce.
5. If you accidentally add the noodles into the pan before checking they are properly rehydrated, simply add ½ cup of water to the pan and bring it boil, tossing the noodles to finish "cooking" them. It won't take long because rice noodles do not require much cooking - maybe 1 minute or so, and the dish will still come out fine (though if you already added the broccoli leaves then they will be very wilted rather than just slightly wilted).
Nutrition per serving, assuming 3 servings.