Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao) is one of my favorite Thai dishes. I love the textures and the balance of sweet, savory, and spicy. The slippery noodles are covered in a savory, sweet, and spicy sauce! I’ve mainly seen this dish made with bell peppers and onions, but you can play around with it and add things like broccoli.
Let’s talk about the type of noodles to use in drunken noodles. I like to use fresh wide rice noodles like the one below. Some Asian stores will have them super fresh and unrefrigerated, and these are the easiest to work with. You can just unravel them and toss them into your stir-fry. The ones I normally get are refrigerated, so they are hard and can only be separated once softened. The method I grew up using is microwaving for a couple of minutes and then unraveling by hand. This method will require you to grin and bear it through the heat. Haha.
I tried tossing them into boiling water this time, but I couldn’t get them to unravel quick enough, and they ended up turning into mush. Thankfully, my Insta friends came to the rescue. Ngan said it’ll still work if you unravel them in cold water AFTER you microwave it. Someone also said to leave them out of the fridge for a while, and they will be easier to pull apart. Christopher said to try finding Lee’s Noodles which are easier to pull apart. You can also get the rice sheets that haven’t been cut into strips yet. This will allow you to make them as long or wide as you want!
And if you can’t find the fresh rice noodles, you can also use dry noodles (below) which is what I used in my video. It’s not my favorite. Only use half of the package for this recipe. The package says to soak in hot water, but you’ll want to boil it until it’s soft enough to almost eat. It’ll still cook a bit in the stir-fry, so you don’t want them overcooked. Also, in order to get them to taste like the noodles at the restaurant, you’ll need to add extra oil!!! The fresh ones are already oiled up, but these dry ones are not. Obviously, you don’t HAVE to add extra oil, BUT they just won’t taste restaurant-quality. 🙂 The difference will be very obvious. That’s why those restaurant noodles are so SHINY and delicious!
Also, here are the brands I used for the sauce! You can get them at 99 Ranch or order them online here. You want to have everything ready to go when you start cooking because you need to move quickly! Have your sauce mixed, your noodles, ready, and all your veggies chopped up.
Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao)
Chewy rice noodles are stir-fried with veggies and a sweet, savory, spicy sauce that will delight your senses!
- If using dry noodles, cook them until they’re a little underdone. If using fresh refrigerated noodles, microwave for 2 minutes, and unravel them in cold water. For fresh unrefrigerated noodles, peel them apart.
- Mix soy sauce and chicken pieces together in a large bowl.
- Mix together the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl.
- Heat a large pan or wok on medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add 1 tbsp of oil, swirl it around, add chicken, and sear for a couple of minutes on each side. Remove the pan from heat. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
- Place the pan back on the heat. Add 1 tbsp of oil, swirl, add chili peppers, bell peppers, and onions, stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add garlic and stir for a few seconds.
- Add chicken back to the pan. Add noodles. Drizzle on oil (dry noodles will need a lot more than the fresh ones). If you want restaurant quality, then extra oil is a must. Give it a little mix. Pour on the sauce. Mix everything together thoroughly until the sauce is evenly distributed. Turn off the heat, add basil, and toss together.