Tyler Pathammavong and his wife have recently been dedicating themselves to running a food truck with Growler’s Taproom that serves a Northern Thai-style fried chicken and noodle-focused menu.
From pad thai and drunken noodles to pineapple fried rice and pad se ew, they offer options of beef, chicken, or pork for you to select. Don’t forget a side of their famous lumpia for dessert!
What is Drunken Noodles?
Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao) are a delicious Thai street food dish. Usually made with chicken, vegetarians can easily substitute tofu as an alternative source of protein in this spicy yet satisfying noodle dish whose sauce contains various fresh herbs like Thai basil and peppercorns for an unforgettable flavor experience!
There are various theories on why drunken noodles got its name; some claim it’s due to its spicy-sour combo being refreshing when combined with cold beer; others believe that its name relates more directly to being an effective hangover remedy. Whatever its source, drunken noodles are one of my favorite Thai dishes and easy enough for me to prepare in my home kitchen!
Use Thai holy basil when preparing this recipe; its anise flavor sets it apart from regular basil varieties. If this cannot be found, regular Thai basil works just as well.
Before cooking drunken noodles, it is also essential to soak them according to their package’s directions, which will speed up their development and cooking time. Also, prepare your ingredients beforehand so everything runs smoothly during this fast and fun family meal! Drunken Noodles make an enjoyable, quick dinner option!
Why is it called Drunken Noodles?
Drunken Noodles are named for their delectably spicy, salty, and subtly sweet sauce paired with wide rice noodles and protein of your choice (usually chicken). Although there are multiple theories as to why drunken noodles earned this name, one hypothesis suggests it might have come about due to their overwhelming spice levels requiring one to be drunk to manage them!
One popular theory suggests that noodles got their name because they reminded people of alcohol. Their spiciness and combination of spicy heat, tart sweetness, and salty sauce remind people of a great cocktail experience.
Although this recipe has various versions, all components include fish sauce, oyster sauce, lime juice, garlic cloves, chili peppers, and Thai basil. Fish sauce adds umami, while oyster and hoisin sauce temper the spicy flavors for an unforgettable dish!
If you are allergic to shellfish or vegetarian, oyster sauce can be replaced by more soy sauce – just be sure to use low sodium varieties so as not to oversalt your dish!
This dish is very similar to Pad See Ew, featuring a fantastic combination of flavors. However, the main distinction is that Pad See Ew often features beef or other dark meats, while this version focuses more on chicken.
How to Make Drunken Noodles at Home
Drunken Noodles combines several delicious flavors into one delightful stir-fry dish, which includes chewy rice noodles, chili garlic paste, and holy basil as the key ingredients. Although this may appear complicated to create at home, the process is very straightforward.
Fresh wide rice noodles are best, although you could also use linguini or spaghetti if necessary. Follow the directions on their package for optimal results.
Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat, adding serrano and dried chilis and stir-frying for 30 seconds before adding garlic, white parts of green onions, and red bell pepper, and cooking until vegetables begin to char slightly. Stir constantly while adding chili garlic paste. Cook for another two minutes while stirring frequently to prevent ingredients from burning.
Combine all sauce ingredients and set aside in a mixing bowl. When ready, stir your prepared noodles to coat evenly before adding Thai basil or cilantro as garnish before serving.
This dish is simple to create and can incorporate many proteins and vegetables. Vegetarian versions can easily be made using tofu as the protein source and switching out fish sauce with soy sauce for optimal results.
Subtract some or all of the chilies to reduce the spice level for a mild version, or use fewer chilies to increase the sauce’s spiciness. Add Sriracha or Sambal Oelek into the sauce for an extra spicy kick! Drunken Noodles can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for two days; when reheating them, add a splash of water from the pan into the microwave before warming back up again.
How to Store and Reheat Drunken Noodles
Drunken Noodles are an exotic Thai dish perfect for busy weeknights. Packed with complex flavors like oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar chili paste, and Thai basil, dried wide rice noodles can be found in Asian food aisles or online. Regular basil can also be substituted if necessary but it won’t provide as much anise flavor!
This recipe can be pretty spicy; if that isn’t to your taste, reduce the amount of Thai chilis and chili paste used. To make this meal vegetarian-friendly, replace chicken with tofu slices or add additional vegetables such as shredded carrots, baby corn kernels, or diced zucchini.
This quick and easy dinner can be on the table in 30 minutes – faster than ordering takeout! Additionally, this dish works well for crowds; multiply the ingredients accordingly. Feel free to opt for vegetarian mushroom oyster sauce as an alternative or water instead of clam juice or chicken broth if preferred.