Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Pad See Ew


This recipe is from Cook's Illustrated and when I saw it on America's Test Kitchen I thought it looked really good. They tend to forego traditional ingredients and techniques in favor of a more approachable method. While I do normally try to do things as traditionally as possible, this is a very good combination of the traditional and the modern/western schools of thought.

Basically this recipe is broken into multiple steps and each of the cooking steps is fried hot and fast in order to mimic the extremely high BTUs of wok fried noodles. It's done in batches in order to maximize the effect and it really does work well.

Again, while this doesn't taste EXACTLY like take-out, it's a really good noodle dish, and I am a HUGE fan of noodle dishes, so I'm pretty critical. This really is good.

Pad See Ew
(from here)

Chicken:
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken (a combination of breasts and thighs is nice), trimmed and cut against the grain into 1/4-1/8 inch-thick slices
1 tsp baking soda
2 TBS water

Sauce:
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 TBS plus 2 tsp. soy sauce
2 TBS packed dark brown sugar
1 TBS white vinegar
1 tsp molasses
1 tsp fish sauce

Stir-Fry:
8 oz wide rice noodles
10-12 oz broccoli, florets cut into 1-inch pieces, stalks peeled and cut on bias into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided
3-7 garlic cloves, sliced thin (depending on taste, but I always go heavy with the garlic)
3 eggs


==

Weigh out your chicken.


I had a crown of broccoli that was just at 12 oz.


Get some water on the boil to soften the rice noodles.

Prep on the noodles may vary from brand to brand. Just get them softened but not fully-soft.

Basically you want them like 75% soft before you start to stir-fry.


Break down the broccoli.

Peel and slice the stem into 1/2 inch pieces.



I usually get tenderloins from Trader Joe's so prep is really easy.

Just slice against the grain.

I do them fairly thin.


Do the same for the thighs.


This recipe is garlic heavy but you don't get blown away. Use the full amount here. 7 cloves.


Slice thin.


Weigh out your noodles.

You really don't want to go over 8 oz here. It's more than you think.


When your water is boiling, drop in the noodles and kill the heat.


Mine say to cook for 8-10 minutes.

I pulled mine at 6 minutes.

We'll cook them more in the stir-fry. If they are fully hydrated now, they fall apart really easy later.

Learn from my mistakes.


Drain and rinse well when done.

This will help them not stick together and halt the cooking process.



Assemble your sauce ingredients.


1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 TBS plus 2 tsp. soy sauce
2 TBS packed dark brown sugar
1 TBS white vinegar
1 tsp molasses
1 tsp fish sauce


Stir well to combine.


Next, we'll do the chicken.

This trick is really neat. 

Basically the baking soda reacts with the meat to quickly tenderize it. It ends up very velvety when all is said and done. I've been doing this with pork and chicken in all my stir-frys recently. 

Just combine 1 tsp baking soda with 2 TBS water in the bowl.


Stir well to combine and let sit for 15 minutes.



After 15 minutes just rinse the chicken well to remove the baking soda.



==

As any stir-fry goes, have all your mis en place set before you begin.

You'll want a heat proof bowl as well since we'll be frying this in shifts.


==

Start with 2 tsp of oil in a wok or 12 inch non-stick skillet over high heat. 

Toss in the garlic when the oil is up to temp.


Fry for a few minutes or until it begins to brown. You'll want to toss it around pretty much constantly.


Add the chicken and 2 tablespoons of sauce and flatten it down. Let this cook undisturbed for 4 minutes, at least. We are looking for some color on the chicken.


 You'll see it basically cooked through on the top side:


Give it a good toss and push the chicken to one side of the pan.


Add the eggs to the clear side.


Gently break the yolks and stir-fry the eggs until just set.



Dump the chicken and eggs into your empty bowl.


2 more teaspoons of oil in the pan.


Add the broccoli and 2 more tablespoons of sauce.


Cover and cook for 60 seconds.


Give it a toss, re-cover and cook for another minute.


Repeat for 4 total minutes or until the broccoli is tender and getting browned.


Tip it into the bowl with the chicken and eggs.


2 more teaspoons of oil.


Add HALF the noodles along with 2 more tablespoons of sauce.


Stir well and cook, undisturbed for about 2 minutes.

Toss and repeat for a total of 4 minutes.


Tip it in.


Put 2 more teaspoons of oil (I promise, last time) in the pan.


The rest of the noodles go in along with the rest of the sauce.


Toss and cook undisturbed for 4 minutes, tossing half-way through again.



Now, add everything back into the pan and toss well.

Cook for 2-3 minutes or until everything is heated through.


Tip out onto a serving platter.

==

Overall, this was a really great dish. I've actually made this four or five times already. Cooking the components separately and at high heat allows the recreation of the super hot stove tops at Asian restaurants and gives the dish a very nice texture. Nothing here is steamed and soggy. It's got great body along with a solid flavor combination in the sauce.

The kids love this dish because there aren't any "weird" vegetables and all of the flavors are right in their wheelhouse.

I usually kick mine up with a healthy does of Sriracha.

If you like Asian noodles, give this one a try!


Enjoy!

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