HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

Thai Challenge.... PAD SEE EW recipe!

Hello Chowhounds!

My Lovely Tasting Assistant (LTA) and I were recently enjoying a $5.75 dish of pad see ew at a local Thai Town restaurant here in LA, as we have many times before. And every time we gawk at the deliciousness of what seems to be such a simple dish.... rice noodles, meat or shrimp, chinese broccoli and some kind of mildly sweet sauce.

"We should try to make this at home," my LTA says to me, as she does every single time we eat out.

Suddenly I was hit over the head by a profound amount of obviousness... we are in Thai Town! There is in fact a thai grocery store inside that same minimall in which we were enjoying our noodles. We pay our bill ($7.25 with tip) and skirt on over to the store next door.

We find our way to the rice noodles-- a pre-hydrated, vacuum sealed package, enough for 5-6 servings, for $1.75. A lovely Thai mama must have noticed our curiosity as she said to us "you make pad see ew?" We said, simultaneously, "Yes!" She said, "You know how?" "No!" "I show you. Follow me!"

She piles into our arms a bunch of Chinese broccoli ($1.20), several different bottles of stuff-- Fish sauce ($1.25), sweet black bean sauce ($1.25) and oyster sauce ($1.50).

"Now you cook together garlic, chicken and egg first, add sauce. Then add noodles and broccoli. A little sugar. Delicious!"

With that, she disappeared in a puff of culinary haste.

After she left, one of the grocery clerks took the bottle of sweet black bean sauce out of my arms and said "for pad see ew, don't use sweet sauce". Hmm.... okay, I'm not fond of overly sweet pad see ew so I'm fine with adding my own sugar afterward. It's just that the Thai mama really seemed to know what she was talking about. Against my better judgment, I bought the non-sweet black bean sauce (it was exactly the same brand as the sweet sauce, with a slightly different label)

So now we have made several batches of the stuff and while it has been right tasty, it hasn't quite captured the magic of the restaurant version. Of course we don't have the heavy duty stove to capture the char and sear of "wok hey", but I think even without that, our sauce ratios and/or method is just not quite right.

Does anyone here know of a really good recipe for pad see ew?

Many thanks!

Mr Taster
------------------------------
Protect Chowhound
Boycott Avatars!
------------------------------

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. You might as well have asked a bunch of italian nonnas how to make red sauce. Every one will have a different recipe, same with this.

    Tray adding a little sugar to the bean sauce before you add it to the dish. Easy way to tell if you're getiing closer without buying a whole new bottle.

    1. I've been really happy with the recipes from Real Thai Recipes. Haven't tried the Pad See Ew yet, but might be worth a try: http://www.realthairecipes.com/recipe...

      I think she(he?) posts on Chowhound, too.

      9 Replies
      1. re: kkbriggs

        This looks really good... I guess what was sold to me at the Thai market as "black bean sauce" is actually Thai-style soy sauce (we bought the dragonfly brand which is noted in the notes on "white soy sauce" if you click on the link). Interesting that the Thai mama also recommended oyster sauce, and that this recipe does not include fish sauce as an ingredient, but as a condiment.

        I'm sure this is as Scrapironchef says.... about a million different variations on the same recipe.

        Mr Taster
        ------------------------------
        Protect Chowhound
        Boycott Avatars!
        ------------------------------

        1. re: Mr Taster

          can I ask what the "boycott avatars" refers to? I don't know what an avatar is in this context...
          a thai friend told me that the key to this dish is kecap manis. is it even a thai ingredient? anyway, it adds something, perhaps worth trying?

          1. re: alex8alot

            Technically I think it's Malaysian. It is thick, sweet soy sauce which Dragonfly brand also makes a version of. Note, they make both 'thick' and 'sweet' soy sauces, for this one buy thick, which, confusingly, is also sweet though not as sweet as the 'sweet'.

            To the OP, do you have fish sauce? Try adding a little. Golden Boy brand is good if you can find it, also 'Tra Chang' which has a weighing scale on the front.

            Note, I don't wish to start a firestorm of dispute as to whether thick soy sauce and kecap manis are the same. They are similar. That's all.

            1. re: Louise

              Thanks for everyone's help... I've gone ahead and made several batches already.

              The first batch I made used the thick soy sauce (dragonfly brand), fish sauce and oyster sauce (which I notice nobody has mentioned) and the taste was not bad.

              The second time I tried the recipe referred to on the website above... I went out and bought the "white soy sauce" and eliminated the fish sauce and oyster sauce, as the recipe calls for. I found the flavor thin by comparison and found myself adding a lot more of the stuff afterwards to season it.

              I've also made it with varying proportions of noodles, veggies and garlic (as a general rule, I've found the more garlic the better).

              Does anyone else have an excellent recipe?

              Mr Taster
              ------------------------------
              Protect Chowhound
              Boycott Avatars!
              ------------------------------

              1. re: Mr Taster

                Hey Mr. Taster,

                I also love pad see ew ---used to have it weekly at Noodle Planet in Westwood before the evil transformation into a boring traditional restaurant. I'd love a recipe from you if possible. [and not on the subject, I agreed with everything you said on the foodie thread recently shut down which I think says it all right there].

                We are moving from LA in a few months so any receipe would be appreciated.

                1. re: jenn

                  Hi Jenn-- well we've made several batches of the stuff now and I can tell you what works best for us.

                  We basically use a modified version of the realthairecipies quoted above. It is very, very important to cook in multiple small batches as the recipe describes, because otherwise the the noodles won't get a nice mile char/smokiness, which is already very hard to get on a home stove with low power. I use their sauce measurements as a baseline from which to modify to my taste-- I invariably use a little more of everything. Also I always wind up cooking with a little fish sauce and chinese oyster sauce as well, which to me rounds out the flavor. Also, the last couple of times I made it I eliminated the sugar, and I preferred it.

                  Sorry to hear you're moving out of LA! Of course you will be able to stock up on Thai sauces before you leave, but the actual noodles are sold fresh in packages at the Thai grocery, and once you open the bag you have to use them pretty quickly (within a few days) because refrigerating the noodles turns them hard and rigid, and they disintegrate when you try t pan fry them. Hopefully in the place you're moving to, you'll have a source of the fresh rice noodles.

                  Mr Taster
                  -----------------------------
                  Protect Chowhound
                  Boycott Avatars!
                  -----------------------------

                  1. re: Mr Taster

                    Thanks so much for the tips.

                    We are moving north to Seattle. And while we are all very happy overall---with thoughts of lots of fresh fish, smoked salmon, fishing licenses, sending children to gather oysters and clams, plus no traffic--we know there are things we will miss like crazy. So I am preparing by gathering my recipes and honing them now while I can still compare to the "real thing." Fresh rice noodles are one of those things that I'm sure will be out there--just a matter of finding them.

                    The link to the Thai recipe site will also be most helpful as I already have 3 or 4 hundred cookbooks to move and my spouse is NOT excited.

                    hay, do you have a blog anywhere? I know you had one when you and the assistant went traveling but what about now?

                    1. re: jenn

                      I don't have an official blog but we do have some photos (chow and otherwise) on flickr from our recent wedding and honeymoon in Taiwan and Japan

                      http://www.flickr.com/photos/43257594...

                      Good luck in Seattle! I am envious of your reduced-traffic commute.

                      Mr Taster
                      -----------------------------
                      Protect Chowhound
                      Boycott Avatars!
                      -----------------------------

                      1. re: jenn

                        seriously, seattle has some of the best thai restaurants. oddly enough, there is a huge concentration of them, so don't despair!

        2. Hi! Reviving this thread because I seem to be having the same troubles as Mr Taster. Has anyone gotten any closer to restaurant style pad see ew? I feel like there is a secret ingredient!

          All the recipes call for a simple sauce of dark and light soy sauces and garlic -- and that just doesn't cut it. I add fish sauce, oyster sauce, ginger, and some shitake mushroom broth to liven it up. It tastes good, but it's no pad see ew. Maybe it is the hot wok that sorta caramelizes the sauce onto the noodles?

          Help!

          1. Chez Pim has a tutorial on her blog which looks good.

            http://www.chezpim.com/blogs/2008/01/...