Vegetarian Spicy Thai Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao)

"One bourbon, one scotch, one beer... Gonna get high man, I'm gonna get loose, Need me a triple shot of that juice". If someone followed George Thorogood's advice in this song, there's only one known dish on this planet that will satiate their alcohol-suppresed taste buds... Pad Kee Mao, also known universally as Drunken Noodles! Certainly the name suggests that one should stir-fry noodles in a wok with these three spirits (& maybe some wine for good measure), but take a raincheck before you start invading your home bar (however, let me know if you do try this - it should be an interesting compilation). The Drunken Noodles recipe contains no alcohol, but multiple theories exist for its bacchanal name - some say that its intensely hotter, spicier and saltier flavor is the only thing that alcohol-soaked taste buds can register, or that one needs to drink alcohol to combat the spicy heat of the dish, or that it is the perfect & easiest dish to rustle up if one is coming home drunk. Personally, I would love this amazing Thai dish even if I was a teetotaler :) 

Whatever your reason, Drunken Noodles is a must-have dish if you love spicy, hot Asian food - it is quick & easy-to-make, versatile in the choice of ingredients (you can pretty much throw in anything except the kitchen sink), and finger-lickin' good. While it is typically made with a good deal of spicy heat, you can reduce the spices but still have a really flavorful dish on your hands (or rather on your plate, for the sake of hygiene). The most important thing to get right in this recipe is the mix of sauces - it will determine whether you come up with a winner that has your family & friends steaming & 'ooh'-ing 'aah'-ing with the spices but not stopping till they have polished off the last noodle. So prepare it correctly, & Drunken Noodles will become your best buddy ... but don't let it drive your car ;)


Serves : 2-3

7 oz 1/4" wide (Dry) flat Rice Noodles
1/3 cup sliced Green Onion
1/3 cup Green Bell Pepper; seeded & cut into 2" strips
1/3 cup Red Bell Pepper; seeded & cut into 2" strips
3-4 pcs Baby corn; cut each corn into 3 pcs
1 tbsp minced fresh Garlic
2-3 Thai chilies, or to taste; ground to a coarse paste
2 1/2 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
1 tsp Black Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Golden Mountain Sauce or Maggi Sauce
1 tsp Sugar
1/2 cup fresh Holy Basil Leaves; or chopped Italian Basil leaves
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil

How to make Pad Kee Mao

  1. In a small bowl combine light soy sauce, black soy sauce, Golden Mountain sauce & sugar. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot of boiling water, add salt to taste(optional), 1 tbsp oil & noodles. Cook noodles until tender but still firm to bite, stirring frequently. Drain.
  3. Keep all your ingredients prepped & ready before you start. In a large wok, heat 1 tbsp of oil over medium heat. Swirl the wok (carefully) to coat the bottom & sides of the wok with oil.
  4. Add garlic & chillies & saute for 30 seconds. Raise the heat to high & add green onion, bell peppers & baby corn & saute for about 2 minutes.
  5. Add noodles & sauces and toss to combine until sauces are absorbed. Adjust seasoning as per your taste.
  6. Turn off the heat and add the holy basil. Toss to mix with the noodles. Serve.
  1. Light soy sauce is NOT the same as Low-Sodium Soy Sauce.
  2. All the above sauces are essential to get the right flavors of this dish so do not skip these sauces. These sauces are available in Asian Grocery stores.
  3. You can add veggies (broccoli, cabbage, carrots etc.), tofu, meats of your choice.
  4. I used dry Rice noodles, you can use fresh noodles if you so prefer. If using fresh noodles, cook the noodles as per the instructions given on the package.

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