Introducing my favorite Thai dish in the form of these EASY, fast, and fiery Drunken Noodles. This delicious recipe is ready in 30 minutes!
Looking for more Thai food recipes? Try my popular Fresh Spring Rolls, Panang Curry, and Easy Pad Thai.
Drunken Noodles, also known as Pad Kee Mao (ผัดขี้เมา), is a stir fry noodle dish that is very popular in Thailand and found in most Thai restaurants. It’s my personal favorite and I’m adding this recipe to my list of “better than take-out” Thai food recipes, like this pad gra prow.
What I LOVE about this recipe:
- Choose the spice level: I love fiery hot pasta, sandwiches, etcetera, but my young kids don’t so I can easily customize this dish to add more or less red chili sauce depending on who I’m serving.
- Adaptable: This recipe allows for a lot of modifications and substitutions depending on what you have on hand. If you can’t find wide rice noodles, substitute thinner Pad Thai noodles, or even linguini. if you don’t have chicken, substitute another protein (tofu, shrimp or pork would all taste great), and add any vegetables that need to be used from your fridge. (See more adaptation ideas below).
About the basil:
As explained previously in my Thai Basil Beef recipe, Thai cooking usually includes a variety of different types of basil. Here are the main three:
- Thai Holy basil (or hot basil): this is what’s used in this drunken noodles recipe! It’s a basil leaf known for adding heat to dishes. It’s harder to find, even in Asian grocery stores, but you can have it shipped directly to you on Amazon, OR you can substitute regular (sweet basil) that you find at the grocery store.
- Thai Basil: this basil leaf can be recognized by it’s purple stems and spicy licorice-anise flavor. It’s not typically found at your American grocery store but it can be found in most Asian grocery stores.
- Sweet Basil: this is the basil we are all probably most familiar with because it’s the most common type found in grocery stores. It’s also used most commonly in all types of sauces, marinades, and other recipes. This is a perfectly fine substitute for Thai basil in any recipe, you just loose a little of the unique flavor that Thai basil and Holy basil provide.
About the noodles:
Drunken noodles are traditionally made with rice noodles, and in particular, extra wide rice noodles. My grocery store only carries thinner Pad Thai rice noodles, which will work well for this recipe, but I buy extra wide rice noodles from Amazon or an Asian market.
If you can’t find or don’t want to use rice noodles, linguini noodles can also makes a decent substitute.
The directions for cooking rice noodles vary per package, so follow the directions found on your rice noodles and cook them while you prepare the rest of this dish.
How to Make Drunken Noodles (step-by-step)
- Produce: shallots, carrots, garlic, fresh ginger, zucchini, bell pepper, green onions, roma tomatoes, basil
- Rice noodles
- Sesame oil (or canola)
- Chicken (or other protein)
- Sauce ingredients: oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, water, red chili sauce
1. Cook the rice noodles according to package instructions. Drain, rinse with with water and set aside.
2. Prepare the sauce: Mix sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
3. Cook chicken and vegetables. Heat oil in wok or large skillet over high heat. Add shallots and carrot and cook for 2 minutes. Add more oil and cook chicken. Add garlic and ginger, add bell pepper, zucchini, and the whites of the chopped green onion and sauté.
4. Add noodles and sauce. Toss and cook for a few minutes until warmed through. Remove from heat and stir in chopped basil.
5. Serve immediately, garnished with remaining green onion and extra chili sauce, sriracha, or crushed red pepper, for added spice.
Other Variations and Adaptations:
- Add more vegetables: yellow squash, broccoli, baby corn, etc.
- Swap out the protein: shrimp, tofu, beef, chicken thighs
- Vegetarian drunken noodles: substitute tofu for chicken. You may choose to sauté the tofu separately until browned on all sides before adding to the dish.
- Vegan Drunken noodles: substitute tofu for chicken, soy sauce for the fish sauce, and hoisin sauce for oyster sauce.
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- 8 oz wide rice noodles
- 2 Tbsp sesame oil (or canola)
- 2 shallots , chopped
- 2 carrots , thinly sliced
- 1 large chicken breast , chopped (or shrimp or tofu)
- 3 large cloves of garlic , minced
- ½ teaspoon fresh minced ginger
- 1 zucchini , thinly sliced
- 1 green bell pepper , thinly sliced
- 2 green onions , chopped
- 1 roma tomatoes , sliced
- 1 cup fresh Thai Holy Basil leaves (or substitute regular basil) , roughly chopped
For the sauce:
- 3 Tbsp oyster sauce
- 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp water
- 1 teaspoon Thai red chili paste , more or less, to taste (or substitute sriracha or crushed red pepper flakes)
- Cook noodles according to package instructions.
- Mix sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in wok or large skillet over high heat. Add shallots and carrot and cook for 2 minutes. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add chicken and season with pepper. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 10 seconds. Add bell pepper, zucchini, tomato and the whites of the chopped green onion and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add noodles to the pan and pour the sauce over the noodles. Toss and cook for a few minutes until warmed through. Remove from heat and stir in chopped basil.
- Serve immediately, garnished with remaining green onion and extra chili sauce, sriracha, or crushed red pepper, for added spice.
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Have you tried this recipe?!
RATE this recipe and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.
Way too much sodium more than half of what you should have per day…I live in an Asian community and kidney and heart failure are common because of high salt…you can unami without the high salt.
This was my first time attempting to make drunken noodles and I loved it! Thank you, I’ll be making it all the time now!
This recipe was great! My family really enjoyed it. My personal changes were doubling the sauce and adding only 3/4 of fish sauce, and instead of the Thai chili paste I simply used 3 Thai chilis (deseeded), added in with the shallot. I definitely plan to make this againb
This recipe gave me confidence, I didn’t realize it was simple to recreate one of my favorite takeout dishes at home. I’m fortunate to have easy access to fresh wide rice noodles and other Thai ingredients. I used regular soy sauce (not low sodium) and ground turkey as a protein due to what I had on hand.
Followed the recipe to a T and it was delicious! Loved it.
Just ok. Not nearly as good as the restaurant version. Definitely won’t bother making this again. It just doesn’t compare
I made a vegetarian version of this with fresh spinach stirred in at the end (wilted). Even without the chicken I had to double the amount of the sauce for a good flavor. Very tasty!
Amazing dish. Made it as the recipe said and would do it again and again…. Tried it with Shrimp the first time – will do it with Chicken next time and I’m sure it will be amazing again. So darn good.
First time making this and from reading some reviews I added 1 teaspoon of cornstarch. Next time I will add much less. I also only added 3 Tablespoons of soy sauce and the dish was not salty enough. While eating it I was tempted to shake some salt on it. And in case your package of rice noodles is unclear. You put the noodles in boiling water, you don’t continue to boil them like regular pasta.
Keeper recipe! YUM!
The recipe calls for 1/3 cup of soy sauce. So you didn’t follow directions and then continued to complain about the changes you made in a comment? Make it make sense.
I love Asian Food, and this recipe looks divine. That being said, it is a sodium bomb. Any suggestions for lowering the amount of sodium without compromising the flavor?
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