Do you remember all the rules that existed when you were a teenager? And how the tiniest bit of freedom made you feel so cool? At my school, when you reached Year 12, there were a few privileges that came with being the eldest and wisest students in the school. For one, we had free periods where we could come in late or leave early. We got to wear a different (much cooler) uniform to distinguish us from the mere mortals in the lower years. And, most importantly, we were allowed to leave the school grounds at lunch time.
Boy, did we think we were all that, strolling out of the school gates into the big, wide world for lunch. In reality, there were still a tonne of rules about where we could go and what we could do, because, after all, we were representatives of the fine institution which we attended and wouldn’t want to tarnish it’s public image, would we? But that (limited) freedom felt so good.
The coolest thing to get at lunch was Pad Thai from the local Thai restaurant. I can’t remember ever having had Thai before that, so I was intrigued by this Pad Thai. Until I found out it contained peanuts. Nuh-uh, no thanks mate.
But because I still wanted to look cool with my Thai food, I browsed the menu for something a bit less nutty, but just as noodle-y, and stumbled across a dish called Pad See Ew. It was love at first bite. I have been to tonnes of Thai restaurants since and I’m almost certain I’ve ordered Pad See Ew at all of them bar one (decided to branch out one day, silly mistake). Nothing can compare to Pad See Ew. The thick, chewy rice noodles that the slightly sweet, salty sauce sticks to so perfectly. The thin strips of moist chicken (always chicken), the hint of egg and the crunch of the Chinese broccoli. It is simply perfection.
Thai food is a huge deal in Australia. There are restaurants on just about every corner it seems; Aussies are crazy about their Thai food. But not so much in the UK. I was sorely disappointed by many of my Thai food experiences when I first arrived here (one place I went to put peas in my Pad See Ew. Very unimpressed!). I have since found a great local Thai restaurant that serves amazing Pad See Ew, but for a while, I had to fend for myself, and this homemade Pad See Ew got me through my Thai food drought.
I often have trouble finding some of the ingredients needed, such as Chinese broccoli and thick rice noodles, so I substitute them with pak choy and thin rice noodles instead. It still tastes pretty damn good!
Chicken Pad See Ew
Prep Time: 12 minutes
Cooking Time: 6 minutes
150-200g thick rice noodles (thin works as well)
2½ tbsp dark soy sauce (use gluten free soy sauce to keep it, you guessed it, gluten free!)
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp water
1½ tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp sugar
200-250g chicken breast
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
6 pieces of Chinese broccoli (or 2 whole pak choy), cut diagonally, stems separated
- In a large bowl, add rice noodles and pour boiling water on top to cover. Allow to soak for 3-5 minutes, until softened and slightly more al dente than pasta.
- While noodles are cooking, mix together dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, water, rice wine vinegar and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.
- To cut the chicken, have the breast in front of you so that it is widest from left to right. Slice the chicken into ½cm strips. You do not want chunks like in Chinese food. If a strip is too wide, cut in half lengthways.
- In a wok or large frying pan, heat vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add chicken strips and Chinese broccoli stems. Stir-fry for about 1-2 minutes, then push to one side of the wok.
- Crack egg into wok and stir continuously to scramble. Once egg is scrambled, combine with chicken and Chinese broccoli stems.
- Add Chinese broccoli leaves, cooked rice noodles and sauce to wok and stir-fry for another 2 minutes, until everything is coated in sauce, the leaves have wilted and the chicken is fully cooked. Serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from Recipe Tin Eats