Pad See Ew - one of the most popular Thai street foods! Irresistibly savory, sweet, and just a hint of tang to round out a complete umami flavor. I never realized how simple & easy Pad See Ew was to make, but once I learned how to whip it up, I now prefer to make it at home… Rather than anxiously waiting for takeout while I brew in the hanger, hah. This is the BEST Pad See Ew recipe to bring Thai street food to your kitchen.
Creating the Signature Char in the Pad See Ew Recipe
One of the best parts of these Thai stir-fried noodles is the distinct charred flavor that’s created when the noodles sear in the wok. I’ve had these noodles without a char and it always tasted like something was missing.
Pro-Tip: To always create a nice sear in any dish you make, reduce as much liquid as possible. Liquid = a sear’s worst enemy.
- Cooking Protein & Vegetables Separately: To limit moisture in Pad See Ew, you’ll need to make sure the protein and veggies are thoroughly pat dry and initially cooked separately from the noodles. This way you have much more control of any steam released from the ingredients.
- Cook 1 Serving at a Time: Cooking in small batches ensures you aren’t overcrowding the wok. When a wok is overcrowded, there’s more steam release, which (again) is our worst enemy when trying to char our noodles. If you need more servings, I highly recommend creating in batches so each serving is caramelized.
- Let the Noodles Sear: The sugar on the noodles creates a caramelization, but this can only happen if you let the sugar and noodles sit for 30 seconds to 1 minute, without it being touched. This is by far the most challenging part of cooking this dish! Waiting and watching the noodles cook.... Knowing you’re moments away from chewy and savory goodness. BUT IT’S WORTH IT! Let the sugar work its magic.
Using the Best Noodles
Chewy fresh wide rice noodles are another stand-out factor of Pad See Ew. You easily find fresh wide rice noodles at most Asian markets. If you’re like me and like extra-wide noodles, you can buy rice noodle sheets and cut them to your desired width.
Have the noodles at room temperature before cooking so they’re pliable and easy to separate. By separating the noodles beforehand, you prevent the noodles from clumping together in the wok.
If the noodles are too firm to separate from being in the fridge, simply pop them in the microwave for 1 minute at a time until you can easily work with them. Or, if you’re good about planning ahead (definitely not me, heh), you can set your noodles out 1 hour before cooking to bring them to room temperature.
These Thai stir-fried noodles are so irresistible and easy to make in minutes! With just a few simple ingredients and these secret pro-tips, you’re armed with making the best Pad See Ew recipe.
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Pad See Ew
- 8 oz wide rice noodles*
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- 1 ½ cup Gai lan / Chinese broccoli sliced at 60% angle*
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- A few dashes of white pepper
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the beef with the marinade ingredients. Set aside to marinate for 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl, mix together sauce ingredients - oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, and a few dashes of white pepper. Set aside.
- Prepare rice noodles by gently separating the noodles from each other so they don't clump while cooking. If the noodles break while you try to separate them, heat them in the microwave for 1 minute at a time until warm and easy to peel apart. Set aside.
- Heat a wok on high heat then add about 1 tablespoon. Sear beef, shaking off any excess marinade before placing in the pan. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan, otherwise, you won't get a nice browning. Cook until beef is about 80% cooked or until lightly browned but still soft. Set aside.
- Add a little more oil to the wok and saute garlic for about 30 seconds, or until soft and fragrant. Add in the Chinese broccoli / gai lan, and saute for about 3 minutes, or until the stems are tender and leaves are wilted.
- Add in rice noodles and beef back into the wok. Pour in sauce mixture and gently stir the noodles to avoid breaking them.
- Push the food to the back of the wok to make space to fry the egg. Add a little more oil to the empty space in the pan and crack the egg to fry. Cook until the white of the egg is just set, then scramble the egg and mix with the rest of the noodles.
- Sprinkle on sugar and a few dashes of white pepper to the noodles, mix, and let the noodles cook for 30 seconds without moving them so they caramelize and create the signature char flavor. Flip the noodles and let them caramelize for another 30 seconds, then enjoy!
- Protein: I typically cook Pad See Ew with beef, however, you can swap it out with thinly cut chicken, pork, or crispy tofu.
- Neutral Oil: The oil helps retain moisture in the meat. For this recipe, I recommend using neutral oil, such as grapeseed, canola, or vegetable oil, so it doesn't alter the flavor of the rest of the marinade.
- Shaoxing Wine: This is a Chinese cooking wine that can be found at local Asian markets.
- Light / Dark Soy Sauce: Light soy sauce is easily found in most grocery stores and it's used to add saltiness. Dark soy sauce, on the other hand, is used for the rich dark color it gives food and can be found at local Asian markets. I highly recommend using it but if you can't find it, just know your Pad See Ew will be much lighter in color.
- Rice Noodles: This can also be easily found at local Asian markets. If you like really wide noodles, you can buy rice noodle paper to cut it to your desired width, then follow the recipe instructions above to prepare the noodles.
- Gai Lan / Chinese Broccoli: The stems of the Chinese broccoli / gai lan are thick, so they'll need to be cut thinly to cook quickly. Cut them at a 60 degree diagonal so you'll have long thin slices that'll still cook quickly. No need to cut the leaves too thinly since they will shrink once they’re cooked.
- Getting the Char: Pad See Ew is best cooked in the wok as a single serving because it has a delicious charred flavor that can only be created when the wok isn’t overcrowded. If the wok is too full of ingredients, steam will be created instead of a char, so I highly recommend cooking Pad See Ew as a single serving at a time.
Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and provided for informational purposes. Nutrition may vary based on product availability, methods of preparation, origin, and freshness of ingredients, etc. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.