Pad see ew is the perennial street food for the Thai’s. It is one dish that is easy to prepare, as there are only a few ingredients required, and the cooking is simple.

See Ew is phonetically similar to the word for soy sauce in Chinese. Not mistakenly, it is a fried noodles dish prepared with soy sauce.

It is as simple as is described, but you need to pay attention to a few points to make an excellent pad see ew.

The following set of notes explain each ingredient and the steps in detail.

Let get down to the brass tacks without further ado.

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pad see ew recipe

The ingredients for Pad See Ew

The protein: Meat or tofu

Chicken, pork, and beef are all suitable for pad see ew.  Use tofu if you prefer a vegetarian dish.

The general principle is to cut the meat into small, thin slices. Marinate it with a small amount of light soy sauce to enhance its flavor, a bit or cornflour for a smoother texture, and some vegetable oil.  Set aside for thirty minutes before stir-frying.

The marinated meat has a much better flavor than the non-marinated counterparts. I suggest you do not omit this simple step.

For a vegetarian pad see ew, you can substitute the meat with firm tofu.

The eggs – the flavor enhancer

The egg is an essential ingredient for all fried noodles.

Add the egg in the later part of stir-frying.   Spread the egg thinly and let it partially cook.  Fold the noodle to the egg so that some egg will stick to the noodles, and the rest will stay free as small yellow pieces.

I prefer to add the egg before adding the Chinese broccoli leaves so that it will not stick on to the vegetable, but this is personal preference, and there is no rulebook to follow.

The flat rice noodles (Sen Yai/Keow Teow) for Pad See Ew

As a Malaysian, I am familiar with another closely related local street food called Char Keow Teow. Both Char Keow Teow and pad see ew use the flat rice noodles called Sen Yai or Keow Teow, which is called Hor Fun in Cantonese.

I want to mention about Char Keow Teow because it is almost identical to pad see ew. The main difference is that the Thai version used virtually exclusively Chinese broccoli and meat, but the Malaysian Char Keow Teow use a combination Chinese chives, cockles, bean sprouts, and slices of Chinese sausage.

Here is the image of the noodles. You can get it from most of the Asian grocery shop. Use the dry version of the rice noodles if you can’t get the fresh one, but it is not the best option. Follow the instruction of the packaging to rehydrate the dry noodles before using it.

sen yai or keow teow
This is the rice noodles used in the pad see ew recipe.

Fresh Keow Teow is quite oily, and tends to stick together. Separate the noodles by hand before frying it, as the whole stack of noodles tends to stick together during stir-frying.

You should leave the fresh noodles at room temperature. The noodles tend to turn into a hard block in the fridge.  You need to leave it at room temperature until it softens before frying it.  You can also use the microwave oven to soften it. It can be kept at room temperature for four to five days.

The vegetables – Chinese broccoli (Gai Lan)

The choice of vegetables is somewhat limited because it is exclusive to Chinese broccoli to be more specific.

There is a significant difference between Chinese broccoli and the regular broccoli. Chinese broccoli is leafy, without florets.

You need to use this vegetable to cook the authentic pad see ew. The following is the image, which will help you to look for it in the grocery shop.

Cut the leafy part of the Chinese broccoli into a few sections. Remove the tough fiber on the surface with a vegetable peeler. Cut them diagonally into small pieces.

Chinese broccoli (Gai Lan) for pad see ew
Chinese broccoli (Gai Lan)

The seasonings – the Thai light soy sauce is irreplaceable

The main seasoning in pad see ew is soy sauce, which is what ‘see ew’ is meant. There are two types of soy sauce in the recipe: the light and the dark soy sauce. Thai’s light soy sauce may be hard to get outside of Thailand but it is irreplaceable as it has a unique taste. The Thai brand Golden Mountain is readily available in Malaysia. You can also purchase online from Amazon.

The closest substitute for the Thai dark soy sauce I can get is the Indonesian kicap manis. The ABC brand from Indonesia is available in most of the local supermarket which produce the flavor closest to the authentic Thai version.

The third important item is oyster sauce. Some cooks omit oyster sauce in the formula, but I use it as it gives a wholesome flavor to the noodles.

I like to include a small amount of fish sauce in the seasoning. It has its own umami and a sharp saltiness flavor.

These four ingredients plus a bit of sugar are all the seasoning required for pad see ew.

The Aromatic- chopped garlic

The aromatic for pad see ew is simple, just chopped garlic alone. Coarsely chop the garlic and sauté with the meat in vegetable oil over low flame until fragrant. Be careful not to brown the garlic too much as it will turn bitter.

Watch the videoRead on: Watch the video recipe at the end of this post

Thai fried noodles

How to cook Pad See Ew – the step-by-step process

Cook the stem of the Chinese broccoli

  1. Start with cooking the stems of the Chinese broccoli.
  2. Stir-fry over medium heat with some vegetable oil for about a minute.
  3. Add three tablespoons of water (to the 6 stalks of Chinese broccoli that I use) and cook it further for another two minutes. Blanch the stems until it is soft (you can pick one and test it). Turn up the heat to dry up any remaining water.
  4. Dish out or push them to the side of the wok.

Cook the meat with the chopped garlic

    1. Sautéing the garlic with some oil over low heat.
    2. Keep the heat low so that the oil is just bubbling with the garlic in it. Garlic can burn quickly over high heat and become bitter.
    3. Add the marinated meat into it and stir-fry until the meat is cooked. Spread the chicken into a single layer and pan-fried until slightly brown.
    4. If you use beef, remove it as soon as it is cooked. Beef will become tough if it is overcooked.

Fried the noodles

Separate the fresh noodle by hand so that they do not stick to each other like a stack of cards. The loosen noodles have a larger surface to contact with the wok and char beautifully.

If you are using the dry noodles, follow the instruction provided on the packaging. If there are no instructions given, measure half of the amount of the fresh noodles. For example, if the quantity in the recipe is 200g of fresh noodles, measure 100g of dry noodles and soak it in water until fully hydrated and soft. The final weight of the hydrated noodles (after draining) should be around 200g.

Fried the noodles with some oil over low heat. Make sure you use a wok which is well seasoned as rice noodles tend to stick easily. If you are not sure how to season the wok, check out these articles which explain how to do it (and the science behind of the process).

Add the seasoning mixture- soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish oil, sugar

Stir-fry is a quick cooking process. It allows us to have very little time for ad hoc preparation. Therefore, it is better to measure all the ingredients in advance. All you need is to pour the seasoning mixture to the noodles, without worrying the accuracy of the amount.

Most of the street food vendors premix the seasoning for their convenience. They keep it in a bottle and squeeze out the amount required directly into the wok with high accuracy through years of practice and experience.

Once the noodles start to stick to the surface, add the seasonings (oyster sauce, soy sauce, and fish sauce). You can add one tablespoon of water if it is too dry. Gradually increase the heat to medium. Stir, flip and scrap lightly to avoid the noodles from sticking. It will not stick if the wok is well seasoned. Reduce the heat if it still sticks.

Pour half of the broccoli leaves and meat back to the wok, stir well with the noodles.

Crack an egg

  1. Add the egg when the noodles are almost ready.
  2. Push the noodles to the side of the wok. Add a bit of oil if necessary.
  3. Crack an egg and spread it to form a single layer with the wok spatula. When the egg is partially cooked and looks like the scrambled egg, fold the noodles on top of the egg and have a quick flip and stir while the egg is not fully set.
  4. Part of the egg will stick to noodles, and the rest will stay free as small little yellow pieces.

Create the wok-hei

Increase the heat from medium to high and keep flipping and gliding the wok spatula on the wok surface swiftly. High heat will create the signature wok aroma called wok-hei that you are familiar with in the Asian restaurant.

Finally, add the remaining broccoli leaves and stir-fry until the leaves are wilt.

How high is the high heat that really means?

It is when you feel the heat, and smoke starts to rise from the wok. It is also when you have to continually glide/scraping your wok spatula on the wok to avoid the food from sticking.

The noodles will start to become slightly charred at the edges, and slightly caramelized. This is the end point of stir-frying. If you continue stir-frying pass through this point, the morsel of food in the wok will tend to get burn.

Thai pad see ew
The best Pad See Ew show be slightly charred, as you can see in this image.

The fine points of cooking pad see ew

Cooking with beef

If you prepare beef pad see ew, you should remove the beef once it is cooked. Add the cooked beef to the noodles only after the noodles are charred slightly. This is to avoid the beef from overcooked.

The wok hei

Always start to cook with low heat (saute garlic), then medium heat (cooking the meat and vegetables and egg) and finally high temperature (to create wok hei and char the flat noodle). The excellent and mediocre noodles stir-fries are defined by the aroma formed with high temperature through Maillard reaction.

High heat will char the noodles and generate the signature aroma of stir-frying. This does not mean that the higher the heat, the better it will be, as you need to ensure every morsel of food on the hot surface of the wok do not get burn. If this happens, it will leave a bitter taste to the noodles, and the burnt debris will stick on to the noodles, which is described by the Cantonese chef as 镬屎.

The choice of seasonings

Have a few trial and error sessions before setting the exact amount of seasoning that you prefer.

The reason: each brand of soy sauce has a slightly different level of saltiness. You need to readjust the amount once you substitute the Thai soy sauce with the Chinese dark soy sauce or the Indonesian kicap manis. Start cooking with the quantity in this recipe and make the adjustment accordingly.

Stir-fry one plate at a time

The maximum amount that you can stir-fry with good results is likely to be about 300g of noodles, based on the average power of the conventional stove. The reputable street food vendors insist to stir-fry one plate at a time even though they use a high power stove.

The heat generated by an average stove is inadequate to cook more than this amount efficiently.  Stir-frying is a quick process with intense heat, especially during the stage of generating wok-hei. The wok-hei simply will not be created if the amount of noodles is too much.

Watch this video

A picture worth a thousand words, a video worth a thousand images.
This video will show you how to prepare Pad See Ew. (xxx minutes)

(Note: If you encounter any audio / visual problem of viewing this video, you can view it from YouTube by clicking this link, which will open in a new tab)


The Pad See Ew Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Pad see ew recipe
The Pad See Ew recipe
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Marinate time
30 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 

Pad see ew is the perennial stable food for the Thai’s. It is one dish that is easy to prepare, as there are only a few ingredients required, and the cooking is simple.

Course: Main
Cuisine: Thai
Keyword: Pae See Ew, Thai fried noodles
Servings: 2 portions
Calories: 843 kcal
Author: KP Kwan
Ingredients
Ingredients to marinate the meat
Ingredients for the seasonings
Other ingredients
Instructions
Preparation
  1. Cut the meat into small, thin slices.
  2. Marinate it with a small amount of light soy sauce, a bit of cornflour, and some vegetable oil.
  3. Set aside for thirty minutes before stir-frying.
  4. Cut the leafy part of the Chinese broccoli into a few sections. Remove the tough fiber on the surface with a vegetable peeler. Cut them diagonally into small pieces.
  5. Cut the stems diagonally into short sections.
Cooking
  1. Stir-fry the Chinese broccoli over medium heat with some vegetable oil for about a minute. Blanch the stems until it is soft. Turn up the heat to dry up any remaining water. Dish out or push them to the side of the wok.
  2. Cook the meat with the chopped garlic
  3. Sautéing the garlic with some oil over low heat. Add the marinated meat into it and stir-fry until the meat is cooked. Spread the chicken into a single layer and pan-fried until slightly brown.
  4. Fried the noodles. Once the noodles start to stick to the surface, add the seasonings
  5. Pour half of the broccoli leaves and meat back to the wok, stir well with the noodles.
  6. Crack an egg and spread it to form a single layer with the wok spatula. When the egg is partially cooked and looks like the scrambled egg, fold the noodles on top of the egg and have a quick flip and stir while the egg is not fully set.
  7. Finally, add the remaining broccoli leaves into the wok. Stir-fry until the leaves are wilt.

Recipe Video

Nutrition Facts
The Pad See Ew recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 plate)
Calories 843 Calories from Fat 396
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 44g 68%
Cholesterol 310mg 103%
Sodium 2215mg 92%
Total Carbohydrates 71g 24%
Sugars 7g
Protein 42g 84%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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