Project Pok Pok Cookbook: Phat Si Ew (Stir Fried Rice Noodles with Chicken, Chinese Broccoli and Soy Sauce)

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Ingredients:

Chicken:

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small clove of garlic, lightly crushed into small pieces in a granite mortar
  • scant 4oz boneless chicken thighs, thinly sliced into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon Thai fish sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

Noodles:

  • 6 oz fresh wide (about 1 1/2 inch)
  • 1 tablespoon Thai thin soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Thai black soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Naam Man Krathiem (fried garlic oil, recipe to follow)
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • 1 large clove garlic, halved lengthwise and lightly crushed in a mortar
  • 2 oz. baby Chinese broccoli, stems trimmed to 1 or 2 inches and clusters separated, or regular Chinese broccoli, leaves coarsely chopped and stems thinly sliced

To Serve: 

  • Phrik Naam Plaa (Fish Sauce Soaked Chilies, recipe below)
  • Granulated sugar
  • Phrik Naam Som (Vinegar-Soaked Chilies, recipe below)
  • Phrik Phon Khua (Toasted Chili Powder, recipe below)

Cook the Chicken:

  • Heat a wok over very high heat, add the oil, and swirl it around to coat the sides. When it begins to smoke lightly, add the garlic, take the wok off the heat, and let the garlic sizzle, stirring often, until its fragrant but not colored, about 15 seconds.
  • Put the wok back on the heat, add the chicken, and stir fry well. Then add the fish sauce and sugar and stir fry until the chicken is just cooked through. Transfer to a bowl.

Prepare the Noodles:

  • Carefully separate the noodles. Unless you have freshly made noodles, either microwave them briefly or briefly dunk them in boiling water (for just a few seconds), just until they’re pliable enough to separate without crumbling. Drain them well before proceeding.

Stir Fry and Serve the Dish:

  • Combine the thin and dark soy sauces, sugar, and pepper in a small bowl and stir well.
  • Wipe out the wok, then heat it over very high heat, add the garlic oil, and swirl it in the wok to coat the sides.
  • When the oil begins to smoke lightly, crack in the egg. It should spit and sizzle violently and the whites should bubble and puff. Cook without touching until the egg turns light golden brown at the edges, about 30 seconds. Flip the egg (it’s fine if the yolk breaks), push it to one side of the wok, up the wall if you’re able.
  • Add the noodles and cook for 15 seconds or so, prodding and stirring so they spread out a bit and don’t clump. Add the garlic and cook for another 15 seconds or so, stirring to break up the egg and noodles a bit. Add the Chinese broccoli and stir fry until the leaves just begin to wilt.
  • Add the chicken, then the soy sauce mixture and stir fry, letting the egg break up as you do, until the chicken is heating through and the noodles have had a chance to soak up all the liquids, about 1 minute. Transfer to a plate and season to taste with fish sauce, sugar, vinegar-soaked chiles and chile powder.

Phrik Naam Plaa (fish sauce-soaked chilies):

  • About 14 fresh Thai chiles, preferably green, thinly sliced
  • About 1/2 cup Thai fish sauce
  • About 2 tablespoons thinly sliced garlic (optional)

Combine the ingredients in a bowl or container and stir. Keeps covered in the fridge for 2 days or so.

Phrik Naam Som (vinegar-soaked chilies):

  • About 14 fresh Thai chiles, preferably green, thinly sliced
  • About 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • About 2 tablespoons thinly sliced garlic (optional)

Combine the ingredients in a bowl or container and stir. Keeps covered in the fridge for 2 days or so.

Phrik Phon Khua (Toasted Chili Powder)

  • 1 ounce stemmed dried Mexican puya chiles (about 15)

The goal here is to cook the chiles slowly so they get nice and dark but don’t burn. Consider opening a window and turning on your stove’s exhaust fan. Put the chiles in a wok or pan, turn the heat to high to get the pan hot, then turn the heat down to medium low to low. Stir the chiles around almost constantly, moving them around the wok and flipping them occasionally to make sure both sides of the chiles make contact with the hot pan. Keep at it until the chiles are very brittle and very dark brown (nearly black) all over, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the chiles from the pan as they’ve finished. Discard any seeds that escape the chiles, because they’ll be burnt and bitter. Let the chiles cool. Pound them in a granite mortar to a coarse powder that’s only slightly finer than store-bough red pepper flakes, or grind them in a spice grinder (or better yet, pass them twice through a meat grinder, first through a 1/4-inch die and then through an 1/8-inch die). Either way, take care to keep the powder coarse. Immediately put the chile powder in an airtight container or plastic bag. The chile powder will keep for a few months in a sealed container kept in a cool, dry place (not in the fridge), though the flavor will begin to deteriorate after several weeks.

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