I had never had Pad See Ew before moving to Thailand. I was almost exclusively a Pad Thai girl before arriving here, never wanting to miss out on its sour, sweet, peanuty loveliness when I happened to be eating in a Thai restaurant. Now that I have unlimited access to all things Thai, both right outside my door and in my own kitchen, I’ve been branching out. Thank goodness I did, because Pad See Ew…heaven.
Pad See Ew is absolute comfort food – the Thai equivalent of mac and cheese, without the mac…or cheese. Well, really no similarity to mac and cheese at all except that it is warm, comforting, and tastes totally indulgent. Both are fantastic and, for me, completely addictive.
Someone told me that Pad See Ew is “food for children”, which somehow made it all the more appealing to attempt making it at home. The combination of savory and subtle sweetness are appealing to all ages, but even better is the fact that it requires a mere six ingredients – SIX!
Like most wok cooking, it’s best to get that wok nice and steamy and keep it that way throughout cooking. A hot wok requires that you work quickly, but in this case, it helps to get caramelization on the noodles. A quick and hot cook time is also important if you are using fresh noodles, because you want them to be covered in tasty sauce before they soften too much.
As an alternative to the fresh wide noodles with which this dish is usually made, Frank was out to lunch with friends last week and they ordered Pad See Ew made with thin rice noodles. I tried this out at home using the exact same recipe and loved the result – different from the original, but no less wonderful.
- 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
- 5 oz fresh, wide rice noodles (about 1 and ½ cups)
- 2 tsp. palm sugar (substitute 1 tsp. white sugar if preferred)
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 20 leaves fresh basil
- Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add garlic and shallot and stir, cooking just until garlic begins to turn golden, about 1 minute.
- Add noodles to wok and stir to break apart. Add sugar, soy sauce and basil, stirring vigorously to coat noodles evenly in sauce. When sauce is bubbling and basil is wilted, about 2 minutes, remove wok from heat. Serve immediately.