Spicy Chicken Pad See Ew with Collard Greens and Sweet Thai Basil (Vegetarian – Vegan – or Not)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

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vromans back

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This dish is pretty simple to whip up – assuming you can find a few of the more exotic ingredients.  Fresh, wide rice noodles are ideal.  They come like this at some Asian markets (I get mine at Bangluck in Hollywood).


That warning on the package about the 4 hour shelf-life is bizarre – as Bangluck stores some of them in the refrigerated section but other packages are on shelves by the produce.  Anyway – I have eaten them many times & I am still alive – so there is that.

These really are best but dried ones would do in a pinch.  Even another rice noodle would work but you want them as substantial as possible because even these thicker guys get fragile & can turn to mush, if you are not careful.  If that happens, by the way, if you end up with mush – eat it anyway!  It won’t look pretty but it will taste the same!

I also bought this sweet soy sauce there – as well as the sweet Thai basil & those Thai chilies.

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Regular basil & serrano peppers (or jalapeno) can be used if these Thai versions are too hard for you to find.  Sweet soy sauce can be made at home with regular soy sauce & brown sugar.   That link leads to one recipe or you could Google for others.

This recipe can be made with no meat (vegan or otherwise) or real meat.  You can use the eggs – or not.  There are vegetarian oyster sauces.  Actually – I saw one labeled vegetarian – but it was vegan.  Asian mushroom sauces work as substitutes, too.

Again – this is really easy to prepare & can be ready in 15 minutes – once you have assembled the ingredients.

I used collard greens because I had them.   Traditionally, a Chinese broccoli is used and I think that is better than collard greens – only because the collards were a lot thicker & occasionally bitter.  But if collard greens are your thing – go for it!  Or use regular broccoli.  Or any other veggies.  Who’s gonna narc on you?

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I used vegan chicken.  Beyond Meat is my favorite brand – though I had some other stuff around that needed to be used – so it is not Beyond Meat in these photos – but I wish it were!  🙂

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In one final note – I find traditional pad see ew a bit too sweet & not nearly spicy enough.  My favorite dish of this ilk is the old #7 (now #36) from my favorite Thai place – Torung.  I wrote a whole blog about it – HERE.  Below is an image of the Torung dish – Torung Special Noodles – as they call them


There is nothing sweet about these Torung noodles and when I make this pad see ew in the future, I will use less of the sweet ingredients.  But know this – I WILL make it again!

Spicy Chicken Pad See Ew with Collard Greens and Sweet Thai Basil (Vegetarian – Vegan – or Not)

serves 4 very easily


2 lbs wide flat rice noodles (preferably fresh but dried will do)

9 oz vegan (or real) chicken

12 oz collard greens (or Chinese broccoli or other greens) – deveined (if you bought the leaves whole) and chopped (mine came chopped – veins in)

2 TBS coconut oil (or olive oil)

8 garlic cloves – peeled but whole

3 eggs – whisked (optional)-  skip these if you are vegan

2-4 Thai chilies (or 1-2 serranos or jalapenos) – whole with the stem on but split in half below the stem (I used 4 & the dish was still only moderately spicy)

1 packed cup sweet (or spicy) Thai basil (or any fresh basil)

1-2 TBS sambal oelek (optional – use more or less – according to your heat tolerance)

Extra basil & maybe cut up limes – as garnish

for the sauce

3 TBS oyster (or mushroom) sauce (whichever version fits your diet)

1 TBS low sodium soy sauce

1-2 TBS sweet soy sauce (more for a sweeter dish – but even with 2 TBS it is not overly sweet)

3 TBS rice vinegar

1 tsp sugar (optional – and I would leave this out in the future)

1 TBS water

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If you found fresh noodles, put them in a bowl of water & carefully separate them.  Drain in a colander & set aside.

If using dried noodles – cook & set aside in a bowl of cold water.  Drain before using.

Whisk the sauce together & set aside.

Heat the oil over high heat & add the whole garlic & split chilies.  When the garlic just starts to turn golden – add the vegan (or real) chicken & cook through & let the outside get a bit seared.

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With a slotted spoon, put everything (chicken, garlic & peppers) aside on a plate.  Add more oil if you need to – though I did not need to.  If you used real chicken – I doubt you will need to add oil.  Lower heat to medium & add the greens.

Saute until wilted.  Collard greens can be stubborn so I turned the heat to high & added 1/2 cup water & sorta steamed them soft.

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Reduce heat to low & gently add the noodles & sauce.  My noodles had re-clumped a bit but adding the sauce & teasing them a bit with a fork broke them up again.  Be delicate – in an effort to keep the noodles long & in tact.

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Once you’ve gotten the noodles & greens incorporated with the sauce – add the cooked chicken & stir it in.  Try to be careful at each stage to keep your noodles in tact.

Whisk your eggs – if you are using them – & push the noodles to one side of the pan.  Raise the heat to high for a minute & then add the eggs & scramble them on the side.  Once they are pretty much done – incorporate them into the noodles.  Vegans, obviously, skip this step.

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Add the sambal oelek (or other hot sauce – like sriracha) and the fresh basil.  Stir it in.  It is ready when everything is heated through & the egg and/or noodles begin to get a tiny bit of char – or browning – on the edges.  Or whenever you think it looks ready to go.  Just try to be kind to those noodles.

Serve it up with maybe lime wedges, extra basil, hot sauce or ground pepper.  See?  Easy!  Oh!  And do not eat those chilies!  Unless you are truly prepared for the result – because they are hot!

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