I could list all the ways that this satisfying noodle dish is different from the one you order at whichever Thai joint you turn to for emotional and physical sustenance. But though the noodles may be narrower and the portion size smaller, homemade pad see ew genuinely hits the spot. To make it, you just have to stock up on a few Thai staples and you'll be ready to go. Part of why it's so straightforward is because its flavoring is actually based on a purchased sauce--black soy sauce--which the blogger Chez Pim alerted me to and which I bought for a couple bucks at Hong Kong Supermarket in Chinatown (Healthy Boy Brand is what I got). This is a vegetarian recipe with egg as its only protein, so if you want to add meat, shrimp, or tofu, just saute it in the wok first with some garlic and soy or oyster sauce, then set aside and add it back in when you return the cabbage to the wok. —Cara Eisenpress
cloves garlic, minced
Napa cabbage, Chinese broccoli, or bok choy, cleaned and sliced
safflower, canola, or vegetable oil
wide rice noodles
black soy sauce (see introduction for details)
Cook or soak the rice noodles according to package directions until they're just soft. Drain and toss with a teaspoon or two of the oil. Set aside.
Whisk the eggs with a teaspoon or two of the soy sauce. Set aside.
In a wok over high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the garlic and stir fry for about 30 seconds, then add the cabbage or other green veggie. Cook, tossing constantly, for a few minutes, until the cabbage is wilted. Remove from the wok to a plate.
Add another tablespoon of the oil, heat for a moment, then throw in the noodles. You want to get some brown parts on the noodles, so don't stir constantly. Drip in a few tablespoons of black soy sauce and toss to coat. Add the fish sauce, the sugar, and the juice from one of the lemon wedges and mix. Taste a noodle to see if you need any more black soy sauce or sugar to balance the flavors.
Add the cabbage and garlic to the noodles. Toss for a moment, then pull everything to one side of the wok and pour in the eggs. Let cook for a moment, then scramble a bit and when they're fully cooked, toss back in with the rest of the noodles.
Serve immediately, garnished with the lemon wedges.
I'm the founder, editor, and head chef at the blog Big Girls, Small Kitchen (www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com), a site dedicated to easy-to-execute recipes and stories from a quarter-life kitchen. I'm also the author of In the Small Kitchen published in 2011.