Pad see ew can be easy to make at home if you soak the noodles right and then stir fry the vegetables and protein. Photo by Min Kwon / @mjandhungryman.

Rice noodles, soaked in hot water to soften, can be a blank slate for many things, but pad see ew has to be one of the most versatile.

Min Kwon, a registered dietitian who blogs about healthy eating at MJ and Hungryman, recently shared this photo of a vegetarian pad see ew she made with tofu, explaining that the popular Thai dish’s name means “fried with soy sauce” and can include an array of vegetables or different sources of protein, such as beef, chicken or shrimp. (She’s even made it with butternut squash or mango just to experiment.)

Making this dish at home takes about 10 minutes after the noodles have soaked, and you can cut back on the oil and sodium if you follow Kwon’s suggested quantities. (You can buy the wide rice noodles in many grocery stores today, but the best selection is at an Asian market.) Dry the tofu as much as possible to ensure a crispy skin, Kwon recommends, and she also advises using a grill pan to get those grill marks that are so visually appealing.

Vegetarian Pad See Ew

14 oz. firm tofu, drained
Salt, to taste
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
2-3 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
6 oz. dried wide rice noodles
1 tsp. canola oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 head baby bok choy, leaves and stems separated, roughly chopped
2 tsp. light soy sauce (see note)
2 Tbsp. dark soy sauce
1 egg
2 Tbsp. brown sugar

For garnish: mung bean sprouts, sambal, peanuts or cashews

Soak noodles in hot water for 15 to 20 minutes, drain and run under cold water.

Prepare tofu: Slice the tofu, then lay the slices out flat on a cutting board with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Press until tofu is dry to touch. Sprinkle with salt. Toss to evenly season tofu. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of cornstarch over tofu, then toss to evenly coat. Continue sprinkling and tossing until all the cornstarch is used.

Cook tofu: Heat grill pan (or skillet) over medium high heat and add 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Add tofu and pan-fry until golden brown. Set aside.

Cook noodles: Heat a deep pan or wok over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of canola oil and saute garlic for 10 seconds, until fragrant and brown. Add bok choy and cook until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Toss in the noodles along with soy sauce and cook until noodles are softened and have absorbed the sauce. (If noodles are taking a while to cook, add some water.)

Make a well in the middle of the noodles and add the egg. Let it fry for about a minute and when it’s almost cooked, mix in with the noodles. Add sugar and mung bean sprouts. Serve with tofu and sambal. Add more mung bean sprouts and peanuts or cashews, if desired. Serves 2-3.

— From Min, MJ and Hungryman blogger (