Pad see ew is a beloved Thai stir-fried noodle dish with a short ingredient list and straightforward cooking method. Still, a good plate of the weeknight-friendly dish, which translates to “stir-fried soy sauce,” takes some skill to execute. That’s why we looked to author and Thai cuisine expert Leela Punyaratabandhu and her book Simple Thai Food for some advice. The key? Timing. 

This pad see ew recipe cooks in a flash, so use your prep time wisely: Chop your broccoli and measure out the sauce ingredients before heating the wok. A combination of thin soy sauce (a.k.a light soy sauce) and sweet dark soy sauce gives the pad see ew sauce depth, while salted soybean paste brings an umami punch. For the best pad see ew, Punyaratabandhu suggests using fresh flat rice noodles, which you can find at most East Asian grocery stores (and online). If using dried rice noodles, avoid thin varieties; wider noodles are more likely to stay pleasantly chewy when flashed in the hot pan. Either way, you want to give the noodles enough flame to absorb all the sauce and start to caramelize without leaving them on too long that they start to get soggy. 

Chinese broccoli, or gai lan, has long, tender stalks that cook in just 2 minutes—but, yes, you can substitute regular florets or broccolini if you prefer. You could also take this as an opportunity to use up other vegetables wilting in your crisper drawer. Add bok choy, Napa cabbage, or sliced peppers and carrots to make this noodle recipe your own.

This recipe was adapted from ‘Simple Thai Food’ by Leela Punyaratabandhu. Buy the full book on Amazon.