Make these easy, and quick Thai Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao) in under 30 minutes for a delicious Asian dinner. These can be made vegetarian or with any meat of your choice.
I make noodles very often as it is loved by everyone at home, therefore I keep trying on different noodle recipes. Here are some of my other favorites – Pad Thai Noodles, Hakka Noodles, Chilli Garlic Noodles, Peanut Sesame Noodles, and Schezwan Noodles.
About This Recipe
A perfect combination of savory and spicy, Thai Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao) is my all-time favorite noodles dish to make for a comforting meal. These are very popular in Thailand and in Thai restaurants all over the world.
This stir fry Thai noodles dish is fast and easy to make and comes together in under 30 minutes.
Pad Kee Mao literally translates to “eaten with cold beer“. People say that these noodles are called drunken noodles because they are a cure for hangovers. Some say they are named so because they are the perfect noodles to enjoy after a night of drinking.
You will find these noodles in the streets of Thailand, and if you have ever tried it, you will know how spicy it is. The street style noodles are so spicy that I am sure you will be chugging down a chilled beer after every bite. Haha!
Well, but as we are making it at home now, we can always control the heat in this recipe. My recipe will yield mildly spiced noodles. If you want them even milder, feel free to reduce the amount of chilies.
You will definitely find many variations of these noodles, especially in the western markets, but traditionally it is made with extra-wide rice noodles, Thai holy basil, and chicken. Quite often people in Thailand also use Baby Corn in their Drunken Noodle recipe.
These Thai Drunken Noodles are,
- Easy to make
- Perfect for your quick meals
- Loaded with summer vegetables
- Better than Thai takeout
Noodles – Well if you have had this Drunken Noodle in Thailand, it is prepared with fresh rice noodles. In Thailand, you will find fresh rice noodles easily in the refrigerated section of the Asian grocery store.
But if you do not have access to the fresh one, you can use dried extra-wide Rice Noodles for this dish. Opt for the flat noodles, but if you cannot find that too, you can use any other rice noodles for this dish. I used Pad Thai Noodles as these were the closed ones available. Linguine pasta also works great in this recipe.
Thai Holy Basil – This is a must in this dish, and the use of Thai Holy Basil gives these noodles a unique taste. If you can’t find it use simple Thai basil or even Italian basil works.
Vegetables – I have used onion, baby corn, bell peppers, and green onions, But you can add more veggies such as broccoli, zucchini, carrots, etc to make it filling.
Oil – You can use any vegetable oil of your choice to make these delicious noodles.
Other Ingredients – Some more basic ingredients required are garlic and Thai bird’s eye chilies.
Thai bird’s eye chili adds the right amount of heat and spiciness to the dish. If you can’t find it, use any spicy fresh red chilies.
Sauce – The sauces that are used in this dish are dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, fish sauce, and oyster sauce. The combination of these sauces adds a delicious flavor, that makes this dish even more delicious. You can replace dark and light soy sauce with an all-purpose soy sauce.
Others – You can also top these spicy noodles with some crushed roasted peanuts or even with fried garlic.
I made this dish vegetarian but you can add protein like chicken, shrimp, pork etc. Tofu also goes great in this dish,
How to make Drunken Noodles?
Before starting to cook the dish, keep all the ingredients ready. Once you start to stir fry, it should be done quickly on high heat.
Mix sauce ingredients that are 2 tsp dark soy sauce, 2 tsp light soy sauce, 2 tsp fish sauce, 2 tsp oyster sauce, 2 tsp brown sugar, ¼ tsp ground pepper, and 1 tbsp water in a bowl or a measuring cup and keep aside.
Notes – You can use 4 tsp of all-purpose soy sauce in place of dark and light sauce. Skip the fish sauce and oyster sauce for a vegetarian version.
Cook the rice noodles according to package directions. Drain and keep aside.
Heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil in a wok.
Once the oil is hot, add 1 tsp finely chopped garlic, 2-3 chopped bird’s eye chilies, and ¼ cup thinly sliced onion. Saute for 30 seconds on high heat. Keep stirring continuously to avoid burning.
Now add 4-5 baby corn (sliced into quarters), ½ cup sliced mixed bell peppers, ½ cup chopped green onion, and 1 cup of torn Thai holy basil. Saute for a minute on high heat.
Add the sauce mixture, and the cooked noodles to the pan and toss everything well.
You might see some liquid at the bottom but it will get absorbed by the noodles in a few minutes. Transfer the noodles in the serving bowl and top with crushed peanuts, sliced chilies and Thai basil. Serve hot.
Frequently Asked Questions
If Thai Holy Basil is not available, you can use Thai Basil. No these two are not the same, Thai Basil tastes like regular basil with a slight aniseed flavor. Usually, restaurants outside Thailand, use Thai basil as holy Thai basil is difficult to find.
Thai basil and holy basil have their own special flavor, which makes this dish even more delicious. The flavor that these two have is missing from regular old Italian basil, so make sure you use one of them. If you don’t find any of these two, then you can definitely use the regular Italian Basil.
Both these noodles are very different in terms of taste and flavor. Whereas Pad Thai is nutty and sweet, Pad Kee Mao or Drunken Noodles is spicy and savory. Also, we use Thai Basil in Drunken Noodles, whereas it is not used in Pad Thai.
If we talk about Pad See Ew, this recipe also doesn’t use the Thai Holy Basil and is not as spicy as Drunken Noodles. The sauce of Pad See Ew is also lighter than Pad Kee Mao.
Pro Tips by Neha
Noodles – Try to get extra wide rice noodles to make this dish. If not use any ones easily available. You can even use flat pasta like linguine.
Chilli – Bird’s eye chilies are very hot. While chopping them wear gloves and wash the hand well with soap after chopping. You can also reduce their amount in the recipe if you cannot handle the heat.
Basil – If Thai holy basil is not available, use the regular Thai basil or Italian basil.
Vegan – To make this dish vegan, skip adding fish sauce and oyster sauce.
Protein – You can add chicken, shrimp, beef, or any other meat to this dish.
Vegan – If looking for a vegan alternative, just skip adding fish sauce and oyster sauce.
With Chicken – To make these noodles with chicken, just add cubed chicken pieces in heated oil and take them out once they are cooked nicely. Now follow the same process at the veg version and add the cooked chicken later and give it a mix. You can also add shrimp, beef, or any other protein to this recipe.
These noodles are so flavourful that they are served on its own with some chilli oil.
If you are making it for your brunch, then you can serve some Asian curries like sweet and sour vegetables on the side.
You might also like
Drunken Noodles Recipe
- 8 oz flat rice noodles
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
- 2-3 Thai bird's eye chilies (chopped)
- ¼ cup finely chopped onion
- 4-5 baby corn (sliced into quarters)
- ½ cup sliced mixed bell peppers
- ½ cup chopped green onions
- 1 cup Thai holy basil
For the sauce
- 2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon light soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon fish sauce
- 2 teaspoon oyster sauce
- 2 teaspoon brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon water
- Before starting to cook the dish, keep all the ingredients ready. Once you start to stir fry, it should be done quickly on high heat.
- Mix sauce ingredients that are 2 tsp dark soy sauce, 2 tsp light soy sauce, 2 tsp fish sauce, 2 tsp oyster sauce, 2 tsp brown sugar, ¼ tsp ground pepper, and 1 tbsp water in a bowl or a measuring cup and keep aside.
- Notes – You can use 4 tsp of all-purpose soy sauce in place of dark and light sauce. Skip the fish sauce and oyster sauce for a vegetarian version.
- Cook the rice noodles according to package directions. Drain and keep aside.
- Heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil in a wok.
- Once the oil is hot, add 1 tsp finely chopped garlic, 2-3 chopped bird’s eye chilies, and ¼ cup thinly sliced onion. Saute for 30 seconds on high heat. Keep stirring continuously to avoid burning.
- Now add 4-5 baby corn (sliced into quarters), ½ cup sliced mixed bell peppers, ½ cup chopped green onion, and 1 cup of torn Thai holy basil. Saute for a minute on high heat.
- Add the sauce mixture, and the cooked noodles to the pan and toss everything well.
- You might see some liquid at the bottom but it will get absorbed by the noodles in a few minutes. Transfer the noodles to the serving bowl and top with crushed peanuts, sliced chilies, and Thai basil. Serve hot.