The Thai Drunken Noodles is the literal translation of ‘Pad Kee Mao’ because the theory is that these spicy Thai noodles should be eaten with an ice-cold beer and that they are a great cure for a hangover. Funny right? Well, we confirm both cases to be true!
This Thai noodle dish is very popular both in Thailand and in Thai restaurants outside of Thailand. You will be surprised how fast and easy this recipe is to make!
Thai Drunken Noodles
Get Drunken Noodles from the streets of Thailand, and unless you have an exceptional spice-o-meter, you’ll be chugging down the beer in an attempt to cool the burn in your mouth.
Make this at home and you can control the heat!
The amount of chilli used in the recipe is mild enough for most people (hopefully), but enough so you can taste the heat. By all means, feel free to turn up the spice dial!
What you need for Thai Drunken Noodles
There are all sorts of variations of Drunken Noodles in Thailand and even more in the western world. In Thailand the two constants are chicken and Thai Basil, and quite often it came with baby corn as well, though from research there’s no confirmation that this was a “must-have” in this dish.
Get the widest dried rice noodles you can find at your grocery store.
There are actually two types of Thai Basil – regular Thai Basil and Thai Holy Basil. Drunken Noodles can be made with either.
Outside of Thailand, restaurants typically use regular Thai Basil because it is easier to find than Holy Basil. I even have difficulty finding Holy Basil in Thai grocery stores!
Is Thai Basil the same as regular basil?
Thai Basil is not the same as regular basil. It tastes like regular basil with a slight aniseed flavour. A very distinct flavour that you know and love about your favourite dishes at your local Thai restaurant like Drunken Noodles and Thai Chilli Basil Chicken!
Best substitute for Thai Basil: Regular basil! In fact, Drunken Noodles is traditionally made with Holy Basil which tastes more similar to regular basil than Thai Basil!
Wide rice noodles
Use wide ones and prepare per packet. I use ones labelled as “Pad Thai” rice noodles. Fine to use thinner ones if you can’t find wide ones.
2 birds eye or Thai chillies gives this a nice buzz of spice but won’t blow your head off! Feel free to adjust to your taste. Can also use a dollop of chilli paste instead – add it with the chicken.
Both light and dark soy sauce can be substituted with all-purpose soy sauce (ie soy sauce that is just labelled “soy sauce” without “dark” or “light” or “sweet” in front of it). Can also sub the dark soy with more light soy.
DO NOT use all dark soy sauce – will be far too strong.
How to make Thai Drunken Noodles
As with all stir-fries and stir-fried noodles, this moves fast once you start cooking – around 6 minutes start to finish – so have everything ready to go before you start cooking!
Ingredients for Thai Drunken Noodles
- Noodles 7 oz /200g dried rice noodles (dried (Note 1))
- Stir Fry 2 tbsp oil ((peanut, vegetable or canola))
- 3 large cloves of garlic (, minced)
- 2 birds eye chilli or Thai chillies (, deseeded, very finely chopped (Note 2))
- 1/2 onion (, sliced)
- 200 g /7oz chicken thighs [cut into bite-size pieces (breast ok too)]
- 2 tsp fish sauce ((or soy sauce))
- 2 shallot/scallion stems (, cut into 3cm/2″ pieces)
- 1 cup Thai or Thai Holy Basil leaves ((sub regular basil, Note 3))
- Sauce 3 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce ((Note 4))
- 1 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce ((Note 4))
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp water
- Prepare noodles per packet directions.
- Mix Sauce in a small bowl.
- Heat oil in a wok or large heavy-based skillet over high heat.
- Add garlic and chilli and cook for 10 seconds. Don’t inhale – the chilli will make you cough!
- Add onion, cook for 1 minute.
- Add chicken and fish sauce, and fry until cooked, around 2 minutes.
- Add green onion, noodles and sauce and cook for 1 minute until the sauce reduces and coats the noodles.
- Remove from heat and immediately add basil, toss until just wilted, then serve immediately.
Thai Drunken Noodles Comparison to other popular Thai noodles
Whereas Pad Thai is nutty and sweet, Pad Kee Mao is spicy and savoury. Compared to Pad See Ew, the sauce of Drunken Noodles is lighter in colour and not as sweet.
Also, neither Pad Thai nor Pad See Ew does not have Thai Basil in it, and it is not as spicy.
Actually, Pad Kee Mao is essentially like Thai Chilli Basil Chicken stir fry with noodles added!
Better made at home
In Western Thai restaurants, Thai Drunken Noodles are usually very saucy, oily and salty – too much so in my opinion, and very different from the streets of Thailand. So it’s really nice to be able to make a healthier yet just as tasty version at home!
And remember to crack open an ice-cold beer to enjoy these Drunken Noodles with! – Nagi x
More Thai Food favourites Thai Chili Basil Chicken Stir Fry Pad See Ew and Pad Thai Thai Red Curry and Green Curry Massaman Curry Thai Fish Cakes Chicken Satay with Thai Peanut Sauce See all Thai Recipes
Watch how to make Thai Drunken Noodles
Thai drunken noodles is an amazing meal and this recipe is a good one that would turn well when followed. As said earlier, you’d love to enjoy it with a bottle of cold beer.
Read more: recipetineats.com
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