Friday, August 15, 2014

Lunch Week 29: Pad See Ew

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch the next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it every week unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided.

So my lunch for the week: Pad See Ew
Who knew that Pad See Ew was so simple to make with such little ingredients? But you know what they say about simple recipes, right? Well, it's even more difficult to perfect since there's very little one can do to hide mistakes. You really only have one shot to do it right. So while I was excited to make this sweet salty rice noodle dish with pork and Chinese broccoli, I was also a bit scared to screw it up big time. Lucky for me, Mr. M&P is much less critical than I am.

To start the recipe, I prepped the pork. I used lean pork loin and cut it into small bite sized medallions. In hindsight, I probably should have cut it a bit smaller. Just a bit.
Then I also washed and chopped up some Chinese broccoli, stems and leaves. While doing so, a couple of little worms showed up. Not fun for me. Luckily, they were dead. But it still shocks me every time.
And don't forget about the eggs. I love eggs and having some in a noodle dish is all the more wonderful for me. This is where I deviated from the main recipe. More on that later.
And finally, the wide flat rice noodles. My local Asian grocer sells fresh noodles so I'm lucky. I just cut them into the size that I want.
Oh and the sauce. Don't forget to portion out the sauce which includes fish sauce, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, and ground white pepper.

And now the cooking begins. I started by cooking the eggs into thin pancakes/crepes. I whisked the eggs first then cooked them in a non stick pan until browned on one side. Flip and continue to brown on the other side. Removed from pan and continue with the rest of the eggs. I got about 3-4 pancakes/crepes from 8 large eggs.
Using the same pan, I sauteed the pork until browned then added the fish sauce and sugar and cooked that until completely absorbed. I removed it from the pan and wiped it out. Next, I cooked the noodles and vegetables in batches. Two servings per batch. I started by adding the noodles to a hot oiled pan. I added a bit of water and covered it for about 2 minutes. This helps soften the noodles if they're hard and clumped together. I cook off all the water then add the chopped Chinese broccoli and garlic. I saute until wilted. Then I add the sliced egg pancakes/crepes, cooked pork, and mixture of soy sauces and sugar. I keep stirring the ingredients around until everything is cooked through. Remove from the pan and repeat in batches.
So what do I think of this recipe? Awesome! I really loved it. And it wasn't all to difficult. I love the salty sweet flavors along with the pork, egg, and broccoli rabe. The wide rice noodles are one of my favorite noodles so I don't need to elaborate on that. One thing to note is that you might like a sprinkle of hot chili powder on top to serve. It gives it just a bit of oomph against that sweetness. But overall, a very good recipe and I will definitely do it again. It's even easy and quick enough to do on a weeknight for dinner.

Recipe below is adapted from Andy Ricker's Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand

Pad See Ew with Pork
Servings 8

For Eggs:
8 large eggs, whisked

For Pork:
2 lbs lean pork, sliced into bite sized pieces
4 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp granulated sugar

For Noodles:
4 lbs wide flat noodles (ho fun), preferably fresh
3 lbs Chinese broccoli tip, wash and roughly chopped
8 garlic cloves, chopped finely
8 tbsp light soy sauce
8 tsp dark soy sauce
8 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp ground white pepper

Optional: hot chili powder

1. Heat up a large saute pan or wok. Add oil. Pour 1/4 to 1/3 of whisked egg into hot pan. Allow to bubble and cook until brown on one side, about 1-2 minutes. Flip and cook other side until browned, about 30 seconds. Remove from pan and repeat with rest of egg mixture in batches.
2. Stack egg pancakes/crepes and cut into strips about the size of the noodles. Put aside.
3. Mix fish sauce and sugar in a bowl. Put aside. Using the same pan/wok as the egg, wipe clean and reheat. Add oil then pork. Stir fry vigorously until browned, about 7 minutes. Add fish sauce and sugar mixture making sure to scrape up any sugar from the bottom of the bowl. Continue to cook the pork until all the sauce is absorbed, about another 2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
4. Mix soy sauces and sugars together. Set aside. Wipe down pan again and reheat. Add oil, then fresh noodles. Water about 1/8 cup water, cover and let steam for 1 minutes. Remove covered and allow all the water to evaporate. Add 1/4 of chopped Chinese broccoli and 1/4 of garlic. Stir fry vigorously until vegetables are wilted. Make sure to break up any noodles that may be stuck together. Be carefully not to mush them.
5. Add 1/4 of cooked pork and 1/4 of cooked eggs. Mix thoroughly. Then add 1/4 of soy sauce and sugar mixture. Stir fry until sauce is absorbed through all the meat and noodles. Remove from pan and set aside. Repeat with rest of the ingredients in batches.
5. Serve hot with hot chili powder (optional).

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