Wholesome Cook

Beef, basil (and chilli) pad se ew

Tuesday night is trivia night. Well, we have only been once but based on the quality of Thai food available on the venue’s menu, we will be back. Plus being a competitive bunch we need to improve our knowledge of all things celebrity to better our ranking. Although for a team of 3, we did ok… Kind of. Not really. But the food was great!

Our only mistake in ordering dinner was opting for the chilli pad se ew special, and when I say chilli, I think the chefs discovered a large sack of hot chilli flakes that needed getting rid of and added it all in. I’m no enemy of spicy food, but this was HOT! The idea of basil though seemed nice.

We quickly changed our order to the regular beef pad se ew so that our mouths could have a break from the spice and focus on winning trivia not coming last in trivia. It worked. We came second last.

A few days later, Mr Chipconnoisseur hinted that he wouldn’t mind a homemade version of the regular pad se ew but with the hint of basil from the firebreather version. I pounced on the opportunity because pad se ew is one of my favourite Thai dishes. And my home-cooked version did not disappoint, plus it was relatively additive and tenderiser free.  I’ll be making it again!

Serves 2

Beef, basil (and chilli) pad se ew

Finding fresh flat rice noodles might prove a little difficult at regular supermarkets, but many Asian grocers stock these in the refrigerator section. I picked my Vietnamese Banh Cuon version from Harris Farm. They were sprinkled with baby dried shrimp which I picked off.

As you know, I believe beef fillet is the secret to a tender stir-fry. It’s pricey but you only need a little, plus you will avoid all the nasty meat tenderiser additives.

Stir fry

  • 250g fresh flat rice noodles (banh cuon is the Vietnamese variety)
  • 200g beef fillet
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 cup freshly picked basil leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red long chilli
  • 1 egg
  • Peanut oil for frying


  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

To prepare flat noodles: cut them into 2in wide strips, and if chilled, heat up in the microwave for 30 seconds before unwrapping. Cover with cling film and set aside.

To prepare sauce: combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix.

To prepare stir fry: slice beef fillet thinly and sprinkle with black pepper. Tear larger basil leaves in half and cut zucchini into chunks. Cut chilli longways and remove seeds (the spicy heat source), slice roughly. Crush garlic.

Heat wok on medium high heat. Add 1 tbsp peanut oil and flash fry beef fillet slices for about 5 seconds on each side. Transfer to a heatproof bowl.  Add zucchini to the wok and stir-fry until lightly charred. Transfer to the bowl with beef.

Heat 2 tbsp peanut oil in the wok and add chilli, garlic and noodles. Stirfry until until lightly fragrant. Push the lot to the side and crack in an egg. Stir to scramble and mix in with the noodles. Add cooked beef and zucchini, basil leaves and stir. Pour in sauce and stir-fry for another minute until the noodles and beef are well covered with sauce and everything is warmed through.

Serve immediately or save some for reheating at lunch the next day.


Maureen June 27, 2011 at 1:00 pm

This looks so good, I can’t wait to try this myself. It doesn’t look too hot for my lips. :)

muppy June 27, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Looks delicious. I really should try it as I haven’t had great success with similar dishes, they seem to be missing something. I hoping that’s not the additives!

Wholesome Cook June 27, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Definitely not the additives. I cringe at them and try to avoid at all cost. I think the flavour comes from the beef fillet, fresh basil and definitely the mixture of different sauces that make the final dish. No additives needed.

Heidi - Apples Under My Bed July 3, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Homemade pad se ew sounds amazing! Trivia + Thai sounds like a great combo!
Heidi xo

Wholesome Cook July 3, 2011 at 9:55 pm

We really need to read up on gossip mags for the trivia. But the food is delish! :-)

Meg July 20, 2012 at 3:05 am

I just made this last night and can’t BELIEVE I cooked it – it tasted more authentic than any other Thai food I’ve cooked before. Thanks for the recipe – its nice and easy and a great way to get some red meat into my diet!


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