Among all the Southeast Asian cuisines, Thai cuisine is a place that never fails to amuse us with its tasty dishes. This article is dedicated to unveiling a delicious episode about the Thai Drunken Noodles dish.
Thai Drunken Noodles, popularly known as Pad Kee Mao in Thailand, is a classic stir-fried noodle dish made easily with a few basic ingredients. This dish usually requires fresh broad Thai rice noodles, vegetables, a source of animal protein, and glazed in a special sauce. The spices and herbs used include garlic, fresh Thai red chiles, and Thai basil.
So, let’s dive right in and see what this noodle dish really is and how it is easily made at home!
What is Thai Drunken Noodles?
Thai Drunken Noodles is one of the most classic stir-fried noodle dishes that originates from northern Thai cuisine for many centuries. They call it Pad Kee Mao which translates to “Drunkard stir-fry”.
However, one shouldn’t misunderstand its name as it is quite misleading to think that this noodle dish has alcohol in it. But the name refers to the person who is eating this since it is believed that the amount of hotness and spiciness in this noodle dish is perfect to be enjoyed with alcohol or during a hangover.
Some also say that Pad Kee Mao is so spicy that it makes a person feel drunk or go dizzy. So, with all the interesting stories related to this noodle dish, it has become one of the most favorite dishes of Thai people and spicy food lovers globally.
What Ingredients Are Used in Thai Drunken Noodles?
Thai Drunken Noodle dish is famed for its spiciness. It has many flavor elements but the level of hotness and spiciness is always heightened due to the fresh ingredients used. It is Thai rice noodles glazed with a specially-made sauce, mixed with proteins, vegetables, and greens.
It is one-of-a-kind, aromatic to its peak, and versatile as you can go over and beyond to add your favorite proteins and veggies to adjust the dish according to your preference. You will find this in many street food stalls and top-tier restaurants in Thailand along with many homemade versions.
Authentic Thai Drunken Noodles typically use fresh broad Thai noodles in the recipe. This is a very common type of noodle used in many Thai dishes. The most important thing is that the dish only includes “rice” noodles. Some people even use the dried version of the noodles. However, this is among the main ingredients and one of the non-negotiables in the dish.
Pad Kee Mao Sauce
The sauce used in this dish is the key to bringing out all the flavors in it. The ratio of the amount of noodles used and the sauce used is critically important to build the flavor profile of this dish.
Three main sauces are used to make the Pad Kee Mao sauce which includes: fish sauce, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, and oyster sauce. Some add a dash of palm sugar to balance out the taste of the sauce while some tend to skip this step.
There’s no standard variety of protein that should be used in this noodle dish. It all depends on your personal preference while most Thai Drunken Noodle recipes come together with chicken, shrimp, pork, or beef. However, you can also use any type of white fish, meat, or seafood. And if you prefer a vegan version of this dish, you can also use fried tofu or soy chunks.
Like the source of protein, vegetables used in this recipe also vary depending on what you like to put in your dish. Generally, vegetables like carrots, bok choy, spring onions, cabbage, mushrooms, and Chinese broccoli florets or stalks go well with it. However, you can also use more greens and make a twist with vegetables depending on your palate.
Spices and Herbs
Red Chiles- Thai Drunken Noodle dish usually incorporates fresh Thai red chiles that are considerably hot to the bite. Some recipes also include Thai spur chiles and green chiles in combination. This is the main ingredient that lends fantastic heat to the dish and makes the base flavor. The amount of red chiles depends on one’s preference for the hotness of the dish.
Garlic- Fresh garlic is usually pounded with red chiles to be added to the noodle dish during the first stages of making its base. Garlic pairs well with the chiles while its pungency and intense flavor note seeps through the noodles to burst the dish out of flavor. This spice also gives so much aroma to this dish and the amount used depends on one’s preference for garlic.
Thai Basil- This is one of the most important ingredients in this noodle dish. While Thai basil is the traditional addition, some recipes also include holy basil or regular basil. Each type of basil varies slightly in flavor. Fresh Thai basil leaves are usually added at the end of the cooking process. This herb has a distinctive spicy licorice flavor with a fresh and spicy aroma.
Apart from the main ingredients used in Thai Drunken Noodles, onion is often added to the recipe and is usually seasoned with salt and palm sugar or brown sugar. Also, some recipes might include:
- Black pepper powder
- White pepper powder
- Young green peppercorns
- Sliced finger root (grachai)
- Paprika powder
- Red chile flakes
- Seasoning sauce
While Thai Drunken Noodles can tantalize your senses with its flavor and aroma, Pad Thai is another noodle dish from Thai cuisine that has stolen the hearts of all noodle lovers. Click here and refer to this post for more information about Pad Thai!
How To Make Thai Drunken Noodles at Home?
Making Thai Drunken Noodles at home is not at all a tough job when you have the right ingredients. As mentioned earlier, getting the proportion of the rice noodles and the sauce correctly is very important. On that note, here’s a simple yet mouthwatering recipe you can easily make at home.
We have secured some of the authentic flavor notes in our version while adding our own twist to it to make a better recipe. Grab the necessary ingredients and enjoy this dish to your heart’s content!
Traditionally, the authentic Thai Drunken Noodle recipe is not suitable for vegans since its main sauce contains oyster sauce. But one can make a vegan or vegetarian version by leaving oyster sauce and animal protein out of the recipe.
Most Thai Drunken Noodle dishes could not be favorable to the ones who follow a gluten-free diet since most types of oyster sauce contain gluten. Therefore, you can make a gluten-free noodle dish by using a gluten-free oyster sauce or skipping it from your recipe.
This recipe calls for a considerable amount of carbs as it is made with rice noodles. Thus, this noodle dish is not very suitable for people who follow a strict ketogenic diet.
Satisfy Your Senses With A Warm Plate of Thai Drunken Noodles For Dinner!
Spicy, hot, and bursting with salty, sweet, and umami flavors, Thai Drunken Noodles or Pad Kee Mao is such a heavenly dish that every noodle lover should savor at least once in life! This dish has the ideal balance of taste, aromatized with spices and herbs like Thai basil to bring perfection to your table with a wonderful Asian twist.
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