Pad See Ew-ish Noodles with Asparagus
Something I’ve been wildly craving lately? Pad See Ew. Something I haven’t been wanting to do lately? Spend a ton of money on delivery, while simultaneously putting delivery couriers in a risky health situation during a pandemic. I’m not sure if it’s just me and my Thai food taste and opinions, but every time I order pad see ew from a restaurant, it tastes different. Sometimes it’s really sweet and garlicky…other times I get a ton of fishiness from the fish sauce used in the recipe… and sometimes I get a ton of pepperiness with the sweet soy sauce noodles. Even if I order it from the same restaurant on different days, I swear it always tastes different! And most of the time, I love what I get, but I don’t like the idea of paying the high price of delivery and tip in order to possibly get a pad see ew I’m not crazy about. And let me just reiterate that I don’t want to put delivery couriers in a dangerous right now! I am all about supporting local restaurants, but my gut doesn’t feel right about sending couriers door to door and exposing them to different people. Call me crazy, but that’s how I feel.
Anywho! Lets rewind and talk about pad see ew! Soooo what is it?!
Pad see ew is a Chinese-influenced stir fry noodle dish served in Thailand. It’s a wide, thin rice noodle dish tossed in a sweet soy sauce and served with Chinese broccoli and a protein. I usually prefer to eat chicken pad see ew but I decided to skip the meat this time around since a lot of you are asking for vegetarian recipes!
Here are some flavor/texture notes about pad see ew:
- Sweet, glossy sauce
- A little salty
- Kind of garlicky (how much depends on where you get it from)
- Soft, chewy noodles
- Not spicy at all — probably the most mild Thai noodle dish you can get
- I have experienced pad see ew with black pepper on top, but this isn’t traditional
I call my version “pad see ew-ISH” because these noodles are very similar to my beloved pad see ew takeout, however, because I always find pad see ew from different restaurants to taste different and I’m not sure what the one *authentic* recipe really is, I don’t think I can accurately define pad see ew and claim my dish is exactly the same as the authentic version. Does this make sense? I do know the qualities that make me love pad see ew, and the ingredients it takes to create these flavors, so that’s what I base this dish off of. One of my goals is to go to Thailand and enjoy some pad see ew and pad Thai (and all the noodle dishes there is to try) so I can accurately define what makes an authentic Thai noodle dish. Until then, I will settle for second best, which is my own interpretation. I just wanted to keep it real with you so you don’t think I’m claiming this is a super authentic Thai recipe. It’s not. And that’s ok!!!! This is Americanized but I think it’s still delicious because it’s what I know! And unless you’ve been to Thailand to taste their infinite abyss of noodle recipes, then you probably only know Americanized versions of Thai food as well. And that’s ok. There’s such a stigma against not having an authentic recipe, and I fully disagree with this stigma and any judgement surrounding culturally inspired cooking.
As mentioned, for my version, I skip the meat. However, these *do* have eggs as they are also usually an integral part of pad see ew recipes, but you can leave them out if you insist. I also couldn’t find Chinese broccoli, so I was thinking about using broccoli rabe or broccolini…but both of these were hard to find. And we don’t like difficult recipes in this community, so, I decided to go with an asparagus for my version. And damn, I love this combination. The earthy and bitter vegetal flavors from the asparagus compliment this sweet sauce tremendously. Huge, huge fan. One more thing and then I promise we will get to cooking. I used some “fettuccine” style rice noodles, which aren’t as wide as the traditional pad see ew noodles. I will link a few options below that will work great. These are the same brand as the ones I used (which aren’t on amazon.) These are better than the ones I used though in terms of size.
I also want to link the ingredients incase you don’t know where to get them! Please feel free to use gluten-free tamari instead of soy sauce, and also feel free to sub any ingredients to those that you like.
|1lb (16 oz.) wide rice noodles|
|Avocado or peanut oil|
|1lb (16 oz.) asparagus, stems trimmed and cut into thirds|
|4cloves garlic, minced|
|3eggs lightly beaten|
|5tbsp Soy sauce|
|3tbsp oyster sauce|
|1tbsp agave nectar|
|1tbsp rice vinegar|
|1tsp fish sauce|
|Fresh cracked black pepper for topping|
In a small bowl, mix together the agave nectar, soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice vinegar and fish sauce. Taste the mixture to make sure you approve of the sweetness level. If you want it sweeter, add a little more agave nectar and miix it in. Continue to add and taste until the sweetness makes you happy. Set the mixture aside.
Fill a stock pot 3/4 the way with water and bring it to a boil.
While the water is coming to a boil, heat a wok or large skillet over medium high heat and season generously with oil. Add the garlic and asparagus and sauté until the asparagus is bright green and the garlic is fragrant (about 2-3 minutes.) Note: if you're adding a protein, cook the protein first, then remove the protein and continue with this step.)
Cook the noodles according to the instructions. (For context, my noodles took 8 minutes to cook, so I let them cook while I did the next steps.)
If your pan is dry, add a little more oil to ~*lube it up.*~ Lower the heat to medium and push the asparagus and garlic to one side of the pan, or remove the asparagus all together if your pan is small. Add the eggs and scramble in the pan until fully cooked. Lower the heat to low and add the asparagus back into the pan just as your noodles are done cooking.
When the noodles are done, add them to the pan. Once all of the noodles are out of the water, pour the sauce mixture all over them, making sure to use every ounce! Gently mix the noodles, asparagus and eggs into the sauce, until the noodles turn a golden brown color. Every type of noodle and every soy sauce is different, which means your noodles could be a darker or lighter color than my photo. As long as they taste good, that's all that matters. Once the noodles are fully coated, taste to make sure you approve of your creation.
Top with a sprinkle of black pepper if that's your vibe. If not, skip this! Serve immediately and enjoy!
Pad see ew traditionally incorporates a dark soy sauce, which is a sweet, more concentrated soy sauce that gives the noodles their intense dark color. To make this recipe as easy as possible, I decided that we should just use regular soy sauce and add a sweetener. If you want to make these noodles super dark brown, feel free to buy dark soy sauce and substitute the following instead of 1/4 cup soy sauce: 2 tbsp dark soy sauce and 2 tbsp regular soy sauce.