Before moving up to Quincy, I had the humorous fortune of being able to tell people I worked on Wall Street, but did nothing related to the financial services industry. A short, seven minute walk from our offices a pack of food trucks would camp out and serve up global medley of dishes. Our office was very particular to what we simply referred to as Thai truck. All this culinary outpost was was a bigger version of those food carts you see getting towed behind a Ford Explorer or minivan. Humble as it looked on the outside, on the inside it produced amazing Thai food. My go-to was Thai chicken with basil and an assortment of dumplings that were homemade with an abundance of care and love and it showed!
As good as that dish was, I didnt feel it was different enough to make as part of my 26 dishes, so instead, I went for my second favorite dish: pad see ew. After looking around, I found an Americas Test Kitchen recipe that although called a different name, I confirmed was a suitable option.
Being a noodle-based dish meant I could slot it in for my pasta Thursday dish (I take a liberal interpretation of pasta!). Having this on Thursday also made sense because I knew Id be in Connecticut for the weekend and coming back with leftovers, which meant Sunday would be a grazing day.
Prepping the Dish
Aside from the noodles, everything about this dishs cook time could be measured in seconds, which meant mise en place plus was necessary. By this I mean, it wasnt important to just have everything chopped and in place; it was critically important to think about where things would go when they were done cooking.
The prep wasnt difficult and required chopping up broccolini and cutting strips of chicken. The most exciting part of the prep was making the sauce that would be added into each element of the cooking process, much like salt and pepper. Familiar ingredients like oyster sauce and brown sugar were in it, but also a new one Id never cooked with before: molasses.
Cooking the Dish
With the sauce assembled, it was time to start by sauting garlic. This would feel like the last calm part of cooking this dish for the next ten minutes. The chicken called to be sliced and then left to sit with two tablespoons of water and a teaspoon of baking soda before being washed and drained well. Rather than left the chicken in a strainer to dry, I shouldve patted it dry with a paper towel because the moment I placed it in the oiled nonstick, the oil splattered everywhere. This was a clear indication that the chicken hadnt drained enough of its water from its rinse. Next time Ill pat it dry with paper towels!
The chicken was cooked in two batches, but by the time you placed half of it on the nonstick, and put the requisite amount of sauce on it, it was time to flip the chicken over to cook on the other side. By the time this was done, I was onto the other half repeating the process. All of this happened over the course of six minutes, which went by A LOT faster than it seems. This was the most rapid part of the entire cooking process.
After this, the rest of the cook was straightforward, starting first with steaming the broccolini, and then adding the rice noodles before adding everything back into the pan and warming it up before dinner was served!
For all the stress and the speed of this dish at times, it was tasty and met expectations. I didnt buy nearly enough broccolini and it showed because both Katie and I felt the dish needed more veggies. That said, I think the ingredient list has the right amount of broccolini; I just need to actually get the right amount next time!
The other observation we both had was some of my chicken strips were too big and shouldve been cut in half to yield more bite-size pieces. This also makes this dish visually looked more balanced instead of one filled with large strips of chicken.
Each step of cooking the chicken, broccolini, and finishing cooking the rice noodles called for adding some of the sauce and it shows in the final product because the sauce shines brightly. I do wish I was able to get the broccolini, chicken, and noodles crunchier as the recipe called for. I think a big part of my inability to achieve that could be traced to too much liquid with the chicken and broccolini. For the noodles, I shouldve let those cook for longer because the opportunity for crispy noodles was there for the taking.
All in all this was a fine dish with good, distinct flavors. It was nothing thats going to wow a crowd, but its a level above a simple pasta or chicken dish. Getting all the ingredients assembled, and figuring out where everything will go after your done cooking it is essential to a successful outcome.
The sauce might be the star of this dish and is omnipresent. It pairs quite well with the chicken and probably works just as well with thinly sliced flank steak, or shrimp.
To do justice to this meal, Ill need to cut the chicken into appropriate sizes and serve it with the right amount of broccolini. Given how the first round of this dish went, I expect to be even more pleased with its second iteration.
Pad See Ew
Time: 30 Yields: 4
- cup white vinegar
- 1 serrano chile, stemmed and sliced into thin rings
- 2 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut against grain into 1/4-inch thick slices
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 8 ounces (1/4-inch-wide) rice noodles
- cup vegetable oil
- cup oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon molasses
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
- 3 large eggs
- 10 ounces broccolini, florets cut into 1-inch pieces, stalks cut on bias into 1/2-inch pieces (5 cups)
- FOR THE CHILE VINEGAR: Combine vinegar and serrano in bowl. Let stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.
- FOR THE STIR-FRY: Combine chicken with 2 tablespoons water and baking soda in bowl. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Rinse chicken in cold water and drain well.
- Bring 6 cups water to boil. Place noodles in large bowl. Pour boiling water over noodles. Stir, then soak until noodles are almost tender, about 8 minutes, stirring once halfway through soak. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain well and toss with 2 teaspoons oil.
- Whisk oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, molasses, and fish sauce together in bowl.
- Heat 2 teaspoons oil and garlic in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is deep golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add chicken and 2 tablespoons sauce mixture, toss to coat, and spread chicken into even layer. Cook, without stirring, until chicken begins to brown, 1 to 1 minutes. Using tongs, flip chicken and cook, without stirring, until second side begins to brown, 1 to 1 minutes. Push chicken to 1 side of skillet. Add 2 teaspoons oil to cleared side of skillet. Add eggs to clearing. Using rubber spatula, stir eggs gently and cook until set but still wet. Stir eggs into chicken and continue to cook, breaking up large pieces of egg, until eggs are fully cooked, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer chicken mixture to bowl.
- Heat 2 teaspoons oil in now-empty skillet until smoking. Add broccolini and 2 tablespoons sauce and toss to coat. Cover skillet and cook for 2 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking. Remove lid and continue to cook until broccolini is crisp and very brown in spots, 2 to 3 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking. Transfer broccolini to bowl with chicken mixture.
- Heat 2 teaspoons oil in now-empty skillet until smoking. Add half of noodles and 2 tablespoons sauce and toss to coat. Cook until noodles are starting to brown in spots, about 2 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Transfer noodles to bowl with chicken mixture. Repeat with remaining 2 teaspoons oil, noodles, and sauce. When second batch of noodles is cooked, add contents of bowl back to skillet and toss to combine. Cook, without stirring, until everything is warmed through, 1 to 1 minutes. Transfer to platter and serve immediately, passing chile vinegar separately.