Pad see-ew

Pad see-ew: not as well-known as pad Thai, but just as yummy, and extremely simple to cook. It’s actually a Thai riff off a Chinese recipe, which is why it’s less complex in flavour than a lot of other Thai dishes, but has that satisfying savouriness typical of Chinese food.

Like pad Thai, pad see-ew is street food, eaten quick n dirty in a quick n dirty setting. The name itself literally means stir-fried soy sauce, and that’s the main flavour that’s going on: nice and simple; hits the spot.

You can eat pad see-ew with any kind of noodles, but traditionally, Thais use sen yai, which are fat, flat rice noodles. I’m with the Thais on this one – the fatter the noodle, the better the pad see-ew 😉

Here’s how to whip up an authentic pad see-ew that’ll take you to the land of smiles in just minutes 🙂

Flavour: Salty and savoury

Serves: 2 as a main meal


  • 2 tablespoons unflavoured oil – I use sunflower
  • 200g rice noodles – any thickness will do, but for me, the fatter, the better when it comes to pad see-ew
  • 100g firm tofu – half cut into chunks (size doesn’t matter, really), and the other half crumbled
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 bunch Chinese broccoli
    • Amateur tip: chop Asian greens and sort into three batches according to thickness (stems will be much thicker than leaves) – this way you can add them to the wok in stages
  • 2 teaspoons sugar – I use palm sugar or rapadura
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons water (from cooking the noodles is best, as it’ll be nice and starchy, which is great for getting a thick, velvety sauce)
  • sprinkle of white pepper


Amateur tip: make sure you have all your ingredients prepared, ready to go before you heat your wok. This preparation will enable you to keep up with the fast pace a good fried noodle dish demands in order to stay fresh and fried-tasting without going claggy and greasy.

  1. Mix soy sauce, sugar and vinegar in a small bowl, and set aside
  2. Boil  small saucepan of water
  3. While water is coming to the boil, fry tofu chunks in wok over high heat with 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil until golden
  4. Add crumbled tofu, and stir-fry until it starts to colour up
  5. Toss in garlic, and fry for 1 minute
  6. Toss in Asian green vegetables in three batches, starting with the thicker stems, and leaving the softest parts of the leaves aside for later – stir between each batch
  7. Put rice noodles in boiling water, and cook until softened but not cooked through – on the slightly-too-al-dente side is ideal – strain, and leave strainer over saucepan while you return to your tofu and vegetables
    • Amateur tip: skim off some of the starchy hot water from cooking your noodles to use later in your sauce – this is great for thickening, and makes the sauce lovely and velvety
  8. Push tofu and vegetables to one side of the wok
  9. Tilt wok and add the second tablespoon of sunflower oil
  10. Toss noodles in the oil with chopsticks, turning to coat them thoroughly
  11. Pour soy sauce, sugar and vinegar mixture into noodles, and stir with chopsticks to coat thoroughly
  12. Mix vegetables and tofu through noodles, and add the starchy water from the saucepan you cooked the noodles in (add it one tablespoon at a time, and notice how quickly it gets absorbed – be careful not to add too much, as it’ll only make your noodles claggy)
  13. Stir in the soft outer leaves of the Chinese broccoli – you just want to wilt these, not cook the shit out of them
  14. Turn off heat and toss noodles one more time – they should now be cooked through (but still al dente and not sticking together), and everything should be starting to caramelise as the sauce thickens in the hot wok
  15. Plate up noodles, sprinkle with white pepper, and enjoy immediately!

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