Happy New Year!
I know. I know. I’m late. I had every intention of posting sooner with my food-related favs of 2007 and resolutions for 2008, but that boat came and went and it seems a little untimely to do it now.
Instead I’ll tell you about one of my fav noodle dishes when I was a kid. It’s called pad se ew. This is the noodle dish mom made most often, probably because it’s so easy. Unlike pad Thai, the list of ingredients is relatively short. It’s also one of those dishes that gives you some flexibility with the ingredients. Mom always used Chinese broccoli, which doesn’t look or really taste like regular broccoli. It looks more like collard greens but tastes more like kale. If you can't get Chinese broccoli, kale, broccoli, broccolini or even asparagus will do. For the protein, you could use chicken, pork or tofu. I prefer to use fresh rice noodles (also called chow fun noodles), but you could always soak the dry rice noodles (like for pad Thai).
The main flavoring ingredient in this stir-fry is a mushroom flavored soy sauce. It has a smoother taste than regular soy sauce
Mushroom soy sauce is not as harsh as regular soy sauce in the same way that kosher salt is not as harsh as regular iodized salt.
Pad Se-ew with Broccoli and Tofu
- 2 tsp regular soy sauce
- 3 tbs mushroom flavored soy sauce (also referred to as light soy sauce)
- 2 tsp sugar (I prefer brown, but white is fine)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ block tofu, cubed (or the protein of your choice)
- 1 to 2 eggs, lightly beaten (depending on how much you like eggs)
- 1 to 2 cups broccoli florets (or one bunch washed and well-dried kale or Chinese broccoli)
- 1 to 1 1/2 pound fresh, wide rice noodles (also called chow fun), strands separated (or about 8 oz dried wide rice sticks, soaked in boiling water until semi-soft, drained well and lightly oiled to prevent sticking*)
In a hot wok over high heat, add about 1 or 2 tbs oil (don’t use olive oil; it sucks for stir-frying). When it’s smoking, add the broccoli and stir-fry for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want it to be tender-crisp (more crisp than tender because you’ll cook it further later). Remove it from the wok and set it aside.
Add 2 more tablespoons oil to the wok. When hot, add the tofu (or meat). Stir-fry, stirring only occasionally, until the tofu begins to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and continue for 30 seconds. Slowly drizzle the egg down the sides of the wok and cook until they are just set. Add the noodles and pre-cooked broccoli and stir-fry for a minute or two, until the noodles begin to soften. Add half to 2/3 of the sauce mix and stir-fry to coat the noodles. Taste the noodles and add more sauce mix if necessary. It's done when the noodles are cooked through. Serve immediately.
Don’t forget to serve with accompaniments, such as roughly ground chili pepper and wedge of lime. My favorite is a vinegar chili sauce, which you've probably seen at noodle houses. A quick version of the sauce can be made by combining 1 tbs fish sauce, 1 tbs rice vinegar, 2 tsp sugar and fresh or jarred jalapeno peppers to taste. If you have extra sauce, try spiking it with chili garlic sauce or sambal and serving as a condiment.
*You may want to read the post I did, which compared the fresh rice noodles to the rice sticks. Here is the link.