A spicy stir fry, Thai Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao) is a delicious combination of Rice Noodles, Veggies, and an irresistible Thai Basil sauce, which is so addictive that you will make it again and again. Here is how to make it.
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.
What are Drunken Noodles?
A perfect combination of savory and spicy, Thai Drunken Noodles are my all-time favorite to make for a comforting meal. These are very popular in Thailand and in Thai restaurants all over the world.
Well, there is no alcohol in this noodle recipe. It is named as Drunken Noodles, as they are the perfect noodles to enjoy after a night of drinking. They are also considered great to cure the hangover.
Juicy chicken pieces, refreshing basil leaves, and goodness of vegetables, this “Better Than take Out” Rice Noodle recipe is a complete package.
Traditionally, called as Pad Kee Mao, Drunken Noodle is my go-to recipe when I and my kiddo wants something spicy, delicious, but something that gets ready in under 30 minutes. Because for lazy days, you need such easy recipes right?
You will be actually surprised how easy and quick this recipe is to make.
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.
The sauces that are used in this dish definitely oomph the flavor and take this dish to a different level.
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.
You can substitute Chicken with Shrimp or any Sea Food. But if you are looking for a vegetarian option, feel free to use Tofu instead of Chicken.
Also, whenever I make these Drunken Noodles at home, I serve it along with Chinese Spring Rolls and a simple Shrimp Stir Fry with a side of Virgin Pineapple Mojito. This makes for a great Brunch meal!
These Thai 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 Noodles also works great in this recipe.
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.
Thai Holy Basil – This is a must in this dish, and the use of Thai Holy Basil gives this Noodles a unique taste. If you can’t find it use simple Thai basil or even Italian Basil.
Vegetables – I have used Onion, Baby Corn, Bell Peppers, 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 Birds Eye Chillies.
Thai Birds Eye Chilli adds that right amount of heat and spiciness to the dish. If you can’t find it add in finely chopped fresh red chilies.
You can also top these spicy noodles with some crushed roasted peanuts or even with fried garlic.
How to make Drunken Noodles
Mix sauce ingredients in bowl and keep aside.
Cook the rice noodles according to package directions and keep aside.
Heat vegetable oil in a wok.
In the same oil, add garlic, chillies and onion.
Next, add baby corn, bell peppers, spring onion greens, and Thai holy basil and saute for 2-3 minutes.
Add the sauce, cooked noodles and mix everything well.
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.
Vegan – If looking for a vegan alternative, just substitute fish sauce with soy sauce.
With Chicken – To make these noodles with chicken, just add in 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 Thai Curries on the side or even a soup as a starter.
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Drunken Noodles Recipe
- 8 oz Rice Noodles
- 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 300 g Boneless Chicken Thighs (Cut into small pieces)
- 1 tsp Garlic (Finely Chopped)
- 2-3 Thai Bird's Eye Chillies (Chopepd)
- ¼ cup Onion (Thinly Sliced)
- 4-5 Baby Corn (Sliced into quarters)
- ½ cup Scallion Greens (Cut into 2 inch pieces)
- 1 cup Thai Holy Basil
For the sauce
- 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
- 1 tbsp Water
- Mix sauce ingredients in a bowl and keep aside.
- Cook the rice noodles according to package directions and keep aside.
- Heat vegetable oil in a wok.
- Once the oil is hot, add chicken pieces and fry until they are nicely browned.
- Remove them on a plate.
- In the same oil, add garlic, chillies, onion, baby corn, spring onion greens and Thai holy basil and sauce for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the sauce, cooked noodles and chicken and mix everything well.
- Serve hot.