Pad See Ew is a Thai stir-fry with fresh wide rice noodles in a savory, sweet brown sauce. This dish is guaranteed to become your favorite homemade Thai recipe.
Want to turn your kitchen into a Thai Street Food stall? Just line some tiny red stools up near the stove and whip up some Pad See Ew!
Okay....so the red stools are optional, but don't skip the Pad See Ew. These Thai stir-fried noodles are total comfort food.
And don't worry if you don't have access to Thai ingredients. I’ve got you covered with plenty of information on Pad See Ew Noodles and substitution ideas below.
What is Pad See Ew?
Pad See Ew is a Thai stir-fried noodle dish made with wide rice noodles. The noodles are seared in a wok and coated in a savory, slightly sweet brown sauce. It can include any type of protein (chicken is the most popular) and green vegetables. It is not spicy. Pad See Ew is a popular street food in Thailand and has become popular at Thai restaurants around the world.
- Pad See Ew Noodles - Authentic Pad See Ew typically is made with wide, fresh rice noodles. The noodles are tender, silky, and have a springy texture when cooked. You do not need to pre-cook them. They will cook sufficiently in just a few minutes in the stir-fry. See below for substitute ideas.
- Chicken (or other protein) - Boneless, skinless chicken breast is great in this recipe, but boneless, skinless chicken thighs would also work. Slice them into thin, bite-sized strips. Feel free to substitute shrimp, sliced pork or beef, or extra-firm tofu.
- Garlic - Adds savory flavor to the dish. This goes into the marinade but will also be sautéed with the chicken for maximum flavor.
- Chinese Broccoli (Gai Lan) - Chinese broccoli (gai lan) is available at international / Asian grocery stores. It is similar in flavor to broccoli but has small broccoli heads, long stalks, and lots of tender green leaves. This adds nice texture to the dish because the stalks retains some crunch while the heads and leaves get super tender.
- Pad See Ew Sauce - This savory, sweet sauce is incredibly simple to make. See below for more details.
How to make Pad See Ew Sauce
To make Pad See Ew Sauce, combine the following:
- 1 Tbsp Sweet Dark Soy Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
- ½ tsp Granulated / White Sugar
Sweet Dark Soy Sauce is a rich, sweet Thai soy sauce that gives the dish authentic flavor and a dark color. Light Soy Sauce is light in both flavor and color and is used to marinate the chicken and flavor the sauce. Check out my Guide to Essential Thai Ingredients for more information on varieties of Thai Soy Sauce.
While many Thai recipes include fish sauce, Pad See Ew is not a dish that uses this savory ingredient.
What is a substitute for Thai soy sauce in Pad See Ew?
If you don’t have access to the Thai soy sauces listed in this recipe, you can still make a very good (if slightly different) version of this dish. Combine the following:
- 4 teaspoons Soy Sauce
- 2 teaspoons Oyster Sauce
- 1 teaspoon Light Brown Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Honey
What is a substitute for Chinese Broccoli / Gai Lan?
Chinese broccoli (gai lan) is available at international / Asian grocery stores. It is similar in flavor to broccoli but has small broccoli heads, long stalks, and lots of tender green leaves. If you can’t find Chinese broccoli, use a combination of finely chopped broccoli florets and baby spinach.
What is a substitute for wide fresh rice noodles?
Fresh wide rice noodles are the classic base for Pad See Ew. If you can’t find them, there are a couple of easy alternatives.
- Dried Rice Noodles / Pad Thai Noodles - Cook these dry rice noodles according to package directions. Drain them well before adding them to the Pad See Ew. They won’t soak up sauce as well as the fresh noodles, but will still make a great dish. If using dried noodles that need to be pre-cooked, undercook them by 1 to 2 minutes so they can finish cooking in the sauce.
- Vietnamese Fresh Rice Noodles - Look for Vietnamese fresh rice noodles like those photographed below. These come in a variety of shapes and sizes. If I can’t find Thai Fresh Rice Noodles, I can often find this Vietnamese version in the refrigerator / produce section of my local Asian grocery store. I just use a knife to slice these into “noodles” that are about 2 inches wide.
How to make Pad See Ew
- Marinate chicken - Briefly marinate chicken (20 minutes minimum) in light soy sauce and garlic.
- Make sauce - Whisk together sauce ingredients.
- Cook chicken and Chinese Broccoli - Cook chicken and Chinese broccoli in a skillet, saute pan, or wok.
- Stir in sauce and noodles - Add in sauce and pad see ew noodles. Cook everything together until noodles are lightly seared and coated in sauce.
- Use a wok - There are many benefits to using a wok to make a Thai stir-fried noodles. A wok will help the ingredients to cook evenly and quickly. Check out my post on How to Cook with a Wok for my best tips and tricks.
- Prep ingredients ahead - This dish will cook fast. Be sure to prep all of your ingredients ahead of time so they are ready to add to the wok as soon as you need them.
- Cooking noodles until tender - Wide rice noodles cook quickly, so keep a very close eye on them and remove them from the heat as soon as they are tender. (If using dried noodles that need to be pre-cooked as a substitute, be sure to undercook them by 1 to 2 minutes so that they can finish cooking in the sauce.)
- Caramelize / char the noodles - Authentic Pad See Ew contains noodles that are lightly charred because they are cooked in a very hot, very large wok. If you crank up the heat on your skillet at home before adding the noodles, you can achieve this unique feature. However, do not risk overcooking the noodles to get that char. Always stop cooking the noodles as soon as they are tender.
- Cooking chicken separately from the noodles - In a stir-fry with just a few ingredients like Pad See Ew, it's not necessary to cook the chicken separately from the noodles, but you can always choose to cook each component separately to guarantee that they cook just right. Simply stir everything together at the end.
These Thai stir-fry noodle dishes each use different noodles and sauce. Pad See Ew uses fresh wide rice noodles and is cooked in a savory-sweet sauce that is dark brown in color. Pad Thai uses dried rice noodles cooked in a savory-sweet-tart sauce that is light red in color.
Pad See Ew and Drunken Noodles are both Thai stir-fried noodles that use the same type of noodles - fresh, wide rice noodles - in a savory brown sauce. The key difference is that Drunken Noodles include fish sauce and spicy chilis while Pad See Ew does not. If you like spice, go for the Drunken Noodles!
Pad Sew Ew is a very simple sauce. It includes Sweet Dark Thai Soy Sauce, Light Thai Soy Sauce, a small amount of sugar, and garlic.
Substitute extra-firm tofu for chicken.
These sweet, thick, dark sauces are very similar and can be used interchangeably in most recipes.
More Thai Noodles
- Easy Pad Thai
- 20-Minute Thai Chicken Peanut Noodles
- Thai Glass Noodle Salad
- Crunchy Thai Ramen Noodle Salad
- Thai Noodle Mason Jars with Peanut Dressing
Favorite Tools for Thai Recipes
- Joyce Chen Carbon Steel Wok - This affordable wok is the only one I use. I’ve had it for 10+ years and the only care it needs is to be washed out, dried well, and rubbed with oil before storing.
- Wok Spatula - This spatula fits perfectly around the curved edges of a wok.
- Splatter Screen - Perfect for keeping your stovetop (reasonably) clean.
Pad See Ew (Thai Wide Rice Noodles with Chicken) Recipe
- 10 ounces Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast, thinly sliced
- 1 Tablespoon Light Thai Soy Sauce
- 4 cloves Garlic, minced
Pad See Ew Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Sweet Dark Soy Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Light Soy Sauce
- ½ teaspoon Granulated / White Sugar
- 10 ounces Chinese Broccoli / Gai Lan, chopped (substitute 8 oz chopped baby broccoli with 2 oz baby spinach, but keep them separate)
- 10 ounces Fresh Wide Rice Noodles (see note)
- Combine chicken with 1 Tablespoon light Thai soy sauce and garlic. Marinate for at least 20 minutes and up to 1 day.
- Whisk together sweet dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, and sugar. Set aside.
- Heat a wok over medium-high heat. When wok is hot, add in chicken and marinade. (The marinade will simmer and “cook” with the chicken, so don’t worry about anything raw remaining.) Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until most of the marinade has cooked off and chicken is about halfway cooked.
- Add 2 teaspoons of sauce and broccoli (if using Chinese broccoli, add it all at once; if using the substitute, add baby broccoli now but reserve baby spinach).
- Saute until broccoli is nearly tender and chicken is nearly cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. (Note: if the pan starts to look dry, add a splash of cooking oil as everything cooks.)
- Add remaining sauce and noodles (and baby spinach if using).
- Keep cooking everything together, tossing it constantly, until the noodles are warmed through and coated in sauce, 1 to 3 minutes more.
- Serve warm.
- 4 teaspoon Soy Sauce
- 2 teaspoon Oyster Sauce
- 1 teaspoon Light Brown Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Honey