Thai drunken noodles or pad kee mao is one of those ultimately comforting dishes to make, offering the perfect combo of carby goodness from silky, wide rice noodles, and proper warming spice, delivered via a gloriously sticky homemade sauce made from plenty of chilli, garlic, soy and oyster sauce as well as ginger, all finished off with a generous helping of super fragrant Thai basil.
There are many different stories as to why these noddles are coined "drunken", I personally like the version which claims the sheer chilli kick from the noodles will blow out even the worst hangover cobwebs out of ones body though it is also meant to awaken the kind of thirst that can only be quenched by a chilled alcoholic beverage.
Regardless the origins of it's name, these noodles are proper, proper warming comfort food, easily made at home and as good as your favourite go-to takeaway Thai option, able to fix even the worst after effects of a wine, or five too many the night before, trust me!
- 400g wide rice noodles (about 1/2 a standard package)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-inch cube of ginger, minced
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped (or more if you like it really spicy)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/2 red pepper, chopped
- 2 large handfuls of Thai basil leaves (crucial ingredient in this that tastes very different to conventional basil and is available at Waitrose!)
- 1 spring onion, sliced
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp dark brown sugar (can sub maple syrup)
- 1 tbsp water
- Cook the rice noodles in a pot of hot water for 5-6 minutes until al dente.
- They should be a bit hard in the centre, and not cooked fully through.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan or wok on medium-high heat.
- Add the garlic and chilli pepper and cook for 1 minute, then add the ginger, onion and pepper and let cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the noodles to the pan, tossing together and letting them cook for 2 minutes, until the noodles start to brown on the bottom slightly.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the sauce and Thai basil leaves, mixing everything together.
- Serve immediately and top with sliced spring onion.