CHICKEN PAD SEE EW (Thai wide rice noodles with Chinese broccoli, for four)
‘See ew’ is southern Chinese for soy sauce. Pad see ew, a common street food noodle in Thailand, literally means ‘stir-fried soy sauce’. It is usually made with chicken or pork and Chinese broccoli.
The fresher the noodles the better. If you’re lucky enough to find fresh wide rice noodles, unrefrigerated, keep them out of the fridge when you get them home and cook them that day. Once refrigerated, they break apart easily when cooked. Use a good, well-seasoned wok, and have your ingredients fully prepped and at room temperature before you start cooking. Make sure your wok is hot so that everything cooks quickly. Also, cook no more than two to four servings at a time. If you cook more, you risk transforming your noodles into an unappealing, mushy blob.
½ pound boneless chicken, cut into slices 1/8 inch thick and 2 inches long (wrap it and put it in the freezer for a couple of hours for easier slicing, or buy thin sliced chicken breasts and cut then into strips)
For the marinade:
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 splashes dark sesame oil
For the pad see ew:
2 rice noodle sheets, cut into ½ inch wide strips (about 1 pound)
4 tablespoons cooking oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 pound Chinese broccoli, washed, stems peeled and cut on a diagonal into 1 inch pieces, leaves separated and torn into large pieces
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-½ tablespoons Thai soy sauce (slightly sweeter than the Chinese variety, called see ew dum in Thai and kecap manis in Malay and Indonesian cooking — this is available at most Asian markets, but if you can’t find it add a little sugar to regular soy sauce and heat it until it is the consistency of maple syrup)
fish sauce to taste
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1. Combine the chicken and marinade ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix well and let stand for 30 minutes.
2. Heat a wok until hot, then add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Throw in the broccoli stems and toss quickly in the hot pan for about 1 minute. Add the leaves and a splash of fish sauce. Toss quickly again until the leaves are wilted. Transfer to a large platter and set aside.
3. Reheat wok over low heat and add 2 tablespoons oil. Add the rice noodles and gently stir until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes; the noodles will soften as they heat. Sprinkle the soy sauce and a few splashed of fish sauce on top of the noodles, then toss gently to mix. Transfer noodles to a bowl or plate and set aside.
4. Return the wok to the heat with the remaining tablespoon oil and add the garlic. Stir-fry for a few seconds until it becomes fragrant (do not let it burn) and toss in the marinated chicken. Spread the chicken evenly across the wok, char one side, undisturbed, for a few seconds, then flip it over and brown the other side, 2 to 3 minutes total. When the chicken is done, push it to one side of the wok and pour eggs into the middle. Let eggs set for a few seconds and then stir everything together quickly. Return the broccoli to the pan and stir quickly to mix. Return the noodles to the pan and toss again to mix everything well.
5. Taste it, you might need to add another splash of fish sauce or a bit more dark soy sauce to your taste. Some people add a little sugar, too. Add 2 tablespoons rice vinegar and, using the same gentle tossing motion, lift the noodle mixture from the bottom to the top, being careful not to scorch the noodles. Add a turn or two of pepper, another quick toss, and serve immediately.