Sunday 23 October 2011

Vegan pad see ew - with tofu omelette

This dish is not authentic.  No meat.  No fish sauce.  No egg.  Not even peanut oil (due to Sylvia's allergy).  An interesting experiment.  I have never eaten a proper omelette.  I went vegetarian before fish sauce became trendy.  I can never even remember seeing pad see ew on a menu (I glaze over at meat dishes).  So I bravely (or stupidly) went about making a vegan version.  We enjoyed our dinner but I couldn't possibly tell you how it compares to the traditional version.

I first saw the Pad See Ew recipe on Eats Well With Others.  Joanne had removed the meat.  I wanted to veganise her recipe completely.  I considered leaving out the egg.  Then I wondered about making a tofu omelette instead.

You can see I wasn't a great success at doing the omelette.  I started to use the eggflip to lift it from the pan too early.  I couldn't resist flipping it for fun.  But it was so soft.  That surprised me.  I always find it a challenge to veganise egg dishes.  I've never liked egg.  I couldn't think of anything worse than eating an omelette.  Unless it was filled with tofu instead of egg.

I despaired of the omelette.  No matter what I did or how long I cooked it, it stuck to the egg flip.  My greatest sense of success was when I dropped the egg flip to the floor.  The omelette mixture stuck to the floor just like egg does.  I figured I was doing something right.  I found it easiest to let the omelette cool and pull it into pieces.

I had a few other hiccups.  The tofu didn't get crispy as I expected.  It was rather tasty though.  I forgot to add garlic. I used umeboshi vinegar to add a bit of fish-sauce-like piquancy (so I have been told) to the soy sauce.  At one point I accidentally found myself shaking a few drops of worcestershire sauce rather than umeboshi vinegar.  When you are in a hurry the bottles all look the same.

I quite liked it.  I was unsure if the taste was right.  It seemed a lot of soy sauce (which makes sense when I translated the name as soy sauce fried noodles).  I wasn't sure if I got the balance of salty, sour and sweet quite right.  I think I did.  The egg worked well to be both a bit of gluey texture throughout the stirfry and also rubbery chunks.  And added extra nutrition and texture.  E wasn't as keen.  He liked the tofu but the broccoli was a bit undercooked for him and it wasn't spicy enough.  The second night I added the garlic and spring onions and used rice rather than noodles.  He preferred it that way.  Not a bad effort for a complete novice.

Other Asian-style noodle dishes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Avocado, pickled ginger and tofu soba noodle salad
Fried ginger rice noodles
Mee Goreng
Miso soup with tofu, vegetables and noodles
Pumpkin and Tofu Laksa
Tamarind Tempeh with Noodles 
Thai Style Salad with Noodles
Pad Thai

Vegan Pad See Ew
Adapted from Eats Well With Others
Serves 4

320g packet of firm tofu, pressed and cut into large dice
3 tsp soy sauce (tamari for gluten free)
1 tsp umeboshi vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp canola oil

200g (1 packet) flat rice noodles
1 tsp canola oil
1 tbsp soy sauce (tamari for gluten free)
splash of umeboshi vinegar

450g (about 1 lb) broccoli, chopped
1-2 capsicums, sliced (I used a mix of red, green and yellow)
2 spring onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp canola oil

To bring together:
1 serving of vegan omelette (see below), chopped
2-3 tbsp kecap manis (or soy sauce and brown sugar)
2-3 tbsp rice wine vinegar

Firstly prepare tofu.  I used a firm tofu that didn't need pressing but if you need to press it for about 30 minutes, do this first.  Then mix soy sauce, umeboshi vinegar and sesame oil and marinate the tofu in this mixture for about 15 minutes.  When the tofu is ready, fry in canola oil over high heat until the tofu is darkened and slightly charred around the edges.  This will take a bit of time but mine never got crispy as I expected.  Set tofu aside. [You could prepare the omelette while the tofu is pressing and marinating.]

Next turn your attention to the noodles: Soak dried noodles for about 20 minutes in hot water.  (Or follow instructions on your packet - I soaked mine about 15 minutes and had to add a bit of water to soften the noodles while frying.)  Heat oil over medium high to high heat.  Add noodles and toss to coat with oil.  Add soy sauce and vinegar.  Fry noodles until crisp around the edges.  Mine were really clumpy - maybe because they were still a bit dry so I added a little water which loosened them up.  Set aside.

Meanwhile lightly steam or microwave broccoli and capsicums separately.

Heat oil in frypan. Add steamed vegetables, spring onion, garlic, tofu, noodles and chopped omelette.  Splash in 1-2 tbsp each of soy sauce and kecap manis or soy sauce and 1 tsp brown sugar.  Stirfry the whole lot briefly until warmed through and some of the sauce is absorbed.  Some of the tofu omelette will break down a little.  Check seasoning and add more as required.  Serve hot.

* Note: instead of noodles you could cook rice and add to the pan (or wok) when you add cooked tofu, vegies and seasoning.  Of course then it would not be pad see ew which means "soy sauce fried noodles" in Thailand.

Vegan omelette
Adapted from Fat Free Vegan
equivalent of 2 eggs

150g silken tofu
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon arrowroot (or potato starch or cornflour)
1 teaspoon almond butter (or tahini)
1/4 teaspoon onion granules
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 shake of smoked paprika (optional)
about 1 tsp olive oil

I blended it all together in a small blender attachment to my hand held blender and poured it into large frypan that had been sprayed with oil and heated over high heat.  I covered and fried for 2-4 minutes So far so good.  If all you want is an omelette.  Then I folded it and it looked good but too soft so I just tried to flip it over to fry on the other side and that is where the trouble began. I added oil.  I pushed it around with the eggflip (spatula) which just got covered in more and more goo.  Finally I just let it cool in a bowl.  It dried a bit as it cooled, which made it easier to carefully cut it into dice size chunks.

On the Stereo:
Peter and Sophia: Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren

This post is part of Vegan Month of Food October 2011.  Go to my Vegan MoFo list for more Vegan MoFo posts.


  1. You can't think of anything else? Try being served my dad's kidney omelette as an eight year old. THAT'S worse.

    Wish I could go back in time and eat this instead!

  2. I've had this recipe bookmarked from Joanne's blog, so I am super excited that you veganized it!! I was already planning on fixing a version without fish sauce... but you went all the way! Yay! :-) Your tofu omelet is fantastic!!

  3. Yum! Authentic or not, it looks delicious.

  4. YUM YUM YUM! Pad see ew is one of my favourites!

  5. I think the noodles look perfect Johanna!

  6. Looks like a great result even if you had hiccups along the way! I have had problems with tofu omlette recipes too, the ones that have worked out the best for me have used some chickpea flour.

  7. Not a bad effort at all! Sometimes I think non-traditional dishes are the best sort, and this would fall into that category in my mind.

  8. It's great that you're giving these a go and I can imagine it's quite a challenge veganising a recipe and then some! It looks good!

  9. Thanks Hannah - kidney omelette sounds like my worst nightmare (apologies to your dad)

    Thanks Astra - that made me laugh when you said I went all the way - sounds like extreme cooking :-) hope you enjoy it

    Thanks Cakelaw - give me taste over authenticity

    Thanks Lisa - I'd never heard of it before but I now understand why you love it

    Thanks Anh - they tasted good

    Thanks Mel - after trying chickpea flour in fritatta I can imagine it would work better in an omelette - but for a change I had more silken tofu than chickpea flour

    Thanks Kari - I love non-traditional - esp as so many tradition don't fit my diet

    Thanks Lorraine - it was a challenge but the outcome was worth it

  10. Your version of pad see ew sounds delicious to me! I've never thought to use umeboshi vinegar in place of fish sauce - that's a great idea. My friend bought me some vegetarian fish sauce but I haven't used it yet.


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