Monday, March 17, 2014

Paleo Pad See Ew

I love Thai food, and my favorite dish to order is Pad See Ew.  It's kind of like Pad Thai's lesser-known but cooler little sister, and it's so good.  It's traditionally made with wide, flat rice noodles and dark sweet soy sauce, and often has broccoli, carrots, egg, and some sort of meat or tofu.  I'm not totally sure why, but I'm completely in love with wide, flat rice noodles.  They're just so big and chewy, and a great vehicle for soaking up whatever delicious sauce they're paired with.

This paleo version of pad see ew is made with homemade "noodles" that are actually tapioca crepes sliced into strips.  They work perfectly in this dish.  The texture is not exactly the same as the texture of rice noodles, but it's pretty close!  Coconut aminos and honey make a delicious paleo and gluten-free replacement for the dark sweet soy sauce.  

I made a vegetarian version this time, but you can add even more protein by mixing in some cooked chicken, shrimp, or meat towards the end of cooking.  It's pretty filling as is, though, because it has a good amount of egg.  Also, if you do include rice in your diet, you can skip the homemade noodles and follow the rest of the recipe using store-bought rice noodles (cook them according to the package directions first).  Ben and I both loved having this for a Meatless Monday lunch, and I can't wait to make it again.

Do you have a favorite takeout dish?  Have you tried to make a paleo version?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

Paleo Pad See Ew
Yield: 2-3 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes


For the noodles:

1 and 1/2 cups tapioca starch
2 eggs
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for cooking*
Pinch of sea salt

For the sauce:

3 tablespoons coconut aminos
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sambal oelek, or more to taste for a spicier dish
1/4 teaspoon Red Boat fish sauce, optional (omit for a vegetarian dish)
2 cloves minced fresh garlic or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons water, plus more as needed

For the pad see ew:

4 scallions, trimmed and chopped into 1-inch segments
2 carrots, peeled, trimmed, and thinly sliced on the diagonal
3/4 lb. broccoli florets or Chinese broccoli, chopped into bite-size pieces
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil *, coconut oil, or ghee, plus more as needed

*A light-tasting olive oil is best for this recipe, as a full-bodied EVOO might influence the flavor of the dish too much.

First, make the noodles.  Heat about a teaspoon of oil in an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together until no lumps remain.  When the oil is hot, pour in about 1/3 cup of batter and swirl it to coat the pan.  Spoon in a little more batter to fill in any holes.  Cook for about one minute, until the noodle crepe appears dry on top and is pulling away from the edges of the pan.  Carefully flip the crepe and cook for about 30 seconds on the other side, then transfer to a plate.  Repeat the process with the remaining batter, adding a little more oil if your crepes start to stick.  You can stack all the finished crepes on top of each other on the plate, and should end up with about six crepes.  Set them aside to cool.  Once the noodles are cool enough to handle, slice the crepes into 1-inch wide strips.  These will be your noodles.  Tease them apart somewhat so they're not all stuck together when you add them to the pan later.

To make the sauce, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well.

To make the pad see ew, heat the oil or ghee in a very large skillet or wok over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the scallions and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 1-2 minutes.  Add the broccoli and carrots and continue to stir-fry for another five minutes, or until crisp-tender and beginning to brown.  Push the vegetables to the outer edges of the skillet, creating a space in the middle.  Add a little more oil if necessary, then pour in the beaten eggs.  Let the eggs cook until almost set, then scramble them with a spatula and push them to the edges with the vegetables.  Add a little more oil once again if the skillet looks dry, and place the noodles in the middle.  Pour the sauce on top and let sit for about thirty seconds, then stir-fry for 2-3 more minutes, tossing frequently to coat everything with the sauce and letting the noodles get a bit browned in spots.  Add an extra splash of water or coconut aminos and toss to coat if the dish looks too dry.  Serve immediately.

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