You might wonder why this popular noodle dish is called Thai drunken noodles. I did before I looked it up. I’ll save you the time of doing that.
There are several theories as to how Thai drunken noodles or pad kee mau as they are often called on restaurant menus got its name.
Pad means rice noodles and kee mao in Thai means drunkard.
One explanation is that the recipe was originally prepared by a man you came home drunk and hungry on evening. He decided to use up what he found in his fridge and this was it.
He was drunk and wanted something tasty and simple which this recipe is.
Another theory goes that home cooks began making it as a delicious dish to consume while drinking. Again, it was easy and though drinking was what they had in mind, they new they would start feeling a bit peckish as the evening progressed.
Whatever the true story behind this popular Thai noodle dish is, you can rest assured that when you make it, you will like it.
This is comfort food at its best! You can literally make it in less than fifteen minutes including all the required preparation.
I should mention that although I have made this recipe with chicken, you could use the main ingredient of your choice. Thai drunken noodles are often prepared with tofu for vegetarians and pork is another popular substitute for the chicken.
You could even make this simply with noodles and the sauce.
- 4 tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1½ tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 200g wide Thai dried rice noodles.
- 3 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
- 1 banana shallot - thinly sliced
- 12 cloves garlic - roughly chopped
- 2 - 3 green bird's eye chillies - sliced thinly
- 225g ( ½ lb) diced chicken breast or thigh
- 5 green onions (scallions) cut into 5cm (2 inch) pieces
- 1 large handful Thai sweet basil
- Prepare the sauce ingredient by mixing the oyster sauce, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and sugar together. Set aside.
- Fill a large bowl with bath hot water and submerge the dry rice noodles in it. The noodles only need to soak for about 5 - 7 minutes so do this right before you start cooking.
- Heat a wok over high heat and add the oil. When it begins to shimmer, add the sliced shallot and fry for about two minutes.
- Add the chopped garlic and chillies and fry for a further minutes stirring regularly. Now add the chicken and fry for about two minutes. Stir in the chicken and fry for about a minute or two until it is about 50% cooked through.
- Pour in the sauce ingredients, the green onions (scallions) and noodles. Don't worry about drying them off. Just pick them out of the water. Any water that drips off them will help cook them.
- Submerge the noodle in the sauce and stir continuously. They will cook quickly but test them before serving. They really need to be covered in the sauce to cook until soft. There isn't a lot of sauce so keep pressing them down until cooked.
- Top with some of the basil and stir it in. Then add the remaining basil for a garnish.
- Serve immediately.