April 23, 2012

pad see ew at the golden hour

Hi everyone. Let's make noodles.

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Let's call this dish pad see ew-ish, the -ish because, as I learned over at the excellent Thai cooking blog She Simmers, it is really hard to make restaurant-quality fried noodles at home. For various reasons -- my weak little stove, namely -- my pad see ew is not exactly the same thing you might get at a street stall in Bangkok.

However, I don't let that deter me from wok-frying noodles at home and neither should you. Because this is very good: chewy rice noodles, tender chicken, sauteed greens, all tossed together with a savory/sweet sauce. With a spoonful of sambal oelek and a cold beer, you've got dinner and a satisfying one at that. The only problem is afterwards. Groan. Wokky. Oh, have I not told you about Wokky?

We affectionately call our wok, a gift from Julia and John, "Wokky" (sometimes "Ewokky"). She is well-loved and often-used and manages both most dishes beautifully. But if you want to prevent rice noodles from bonding to the surface of the wok, the price of admission is more oil than I can bring myself to use. Fortunately, scrubbing off cooked-on rice noodles is Mark's job (he tends to that wok quite lovingly) and he only grumbles a little.

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Another note for the diary: finally we have enough warmth in the air to linger outside after dinner once the sun goes down. Very nice.

Wok-fried rice noodles with chicken and kale 
serves 2 with leftovers, adapted from She Simmers

oil
8 ounces of dried rice noodles
8 ounces chicken breat, thinly sliced and marinated in a couple splashes of soy and 1 tsp baking soda (to tenderize)
1 bunch kale, leaves pulled off the stems and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons dark sweet soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons light soy
1 teaspoon white vinegar

Soak dried rice noodles (like banh pho) in room temperature water until pliable, about 20 minutes. They should be soft enough for you to twirl around your finger without breaking the strand. Drain well.

Meanwhile, marinate your chicken, prep your kale, and combine the oyster sauce, light soy, and white vinegar in a small bowl. 

When you're ready to cook, heat your cooking vessel over high heat. Drizzle in a bit of oil, add the kale and a pinch of salt and let it wilt. Toss and cook until just tender, adding a splash of water if it looks dry. Dump kale into serving bowl. Next, cook your chicken. I had chicken breast, so I poached it to keep it nice and tender. You can also saute it in a little oil until cooked through. Add to bowl with kale.

Now, wipe out any food residue and add about 3 tablespoons of oil. When oil is hot and shimmery, add the noodles and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of dark sweet soy. Let everything sit (without stirring) until the sauce starts to smell really good and caramelized. At that point, toss the noodles a couple of times. If they stick too much, tip in a little more oil. Add in the cooked kale, chicken, and oyster sauce mixture and toss again to distribute. Done.