Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pad See Ew

This is far and away my kids favorite dish. It is so rare for all 3 of them to like the same thing prepared in the same way - for example, they all like apples but one of them likes her apples whole, one of them likes them peeled and chopped, and the other one likes them chopped but not peeled. And so it goes with almost everything. This is one of the few things I can just make a big pot of an all of them will devour it without a single complaint or request for alteration.

So of course I have to be the annoying one with this recipe. My kids all eat it with broccoli, but I prefer gai lan (Chinese broccoli), so I make it with broccoli for them and with gai lan for my husband and I. You can use whichever one you want.

The signature of Pad See Ew is the sweet sauce. This is achieved by using kecap manis, which is a syrupy soy sauce. I've tried to make my own by caramelizing sugar in soy sauce but it's way easier and less messy to purchase it. They have it at my regular grocery store in the ethnic foods section or you could find it at any large Asian grocery or online. Often pad see ew will have fish sauce, I just add a little vinegar for that tang. 

14-16 oz. wide rice noodles, cooked/soaked according to package directions but just shy of done
1/4 c. kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
2 Tbsp. shoyu or tamari
2 Tbsp. vegetarian stirfry sauce (any kind)
1 Tbsp. vinegar (rice or distilled white both work well for this)
2 Tbsp. canola oil (or other flavorless oil)
5-6 cloves of garlic (less if you're sensitive, but you really do need a lot)
1 onion, halved and thinly slices (I leave this out when I make it for my kids)
1 lb. extra firm tofu, cubed
1 bunch of gai lan or broccoli (broccoli cut into florets, for the gai lan, use both the leaves and the stems but separate them then chop them)

1) With any stirfry it's always best to try to prep everything before you start cooking because things cook quickly when you stirfry. To make the sauce, whisk together the kecap manis, shoyu or tamari or soy sauce, vegetarian stirfry sauce and vinegar in a small bowl and set aside. Slice your onion, cube your tofu, mince your garlic and prepare your broccoli or gai lan.

Here is what gai lan looks like.
2) Prepare the rice noodles according to the package directions, but keep them al dente because you will also stirfry them. If you can, try to time it so that the noodles finish cooking right before you're ready to add them to the wok.

3) Heat the oil in a large wok or pot over pretty high heat and add the garlic, saute until fragrant but not browning.  Add the onion, tofu, and the chopped gai lan stems if using. Continue to cook until the onions have softened a bit.

4) When the noodles are ready drain them and add them to the stirfry along with the sauce. Toss to mix well and cook for about 5 more minutes.

5) Add the greens and continue to cook until they are just barely wilted.

This makes 4-6 servings.

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