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Drunken Noodle Anyone Can Make | Pad Kee Mao

Pad Kee Mao is the THE perfect customizable stir fried noodle dish. You get tons of smokey charred noodles, sweet spicy sauce along with whatever veggies and protein you’d like. Let me show you the framework for it. For today, stir frying is the name of the game. This is the process of cooking ingredients in a really hot wok with oil. Think of it as sauteing with more heat. Oil is important, as it’s going to act as a conductor for the heat, and it’s important to not overcrowd the pan. The more ingredients added, the more the temperature will drop which causes boiling rather than stir frying. In the case of this Pad Kee Mao, we can do almost all the work upfront, and then take like less than 5 minutes to stir fry all the components.


6oz dried thick Thai rice noodles

6oz protein

6oz veggies

Handful of basil

1 tsp sugar

All of the chili paste

All of the stir fry sauce

Chili Paste

3 garlic cloves

1-3 Thai chiles

1/2 shallot

Stir Fry Sauce

1.5 tbsp oyster sauce

.75 tbsp dark soy

.75 tbsp fish sauce

.75 tbsp golden mountain sauce

Protein Options

For any protein, aim for pieces that will cook quickly in the wok. Think thinly sliced, or tender to start with. Shrimp, thinly sliced pork, thin cuts of beef, chicken or tofu.

Vegetable Options

Same concept for the vegetables as the protein, the pieces will need to cook rapidly in the heat of the wok. Any denser veggies will need to be thinner than more delicate items. For example, spinach leaves can just wilt in at the end, but carrot will need much more time to be crisp but cooked. Good options include broccoli, carrots, Gai Lan, bell peppers, baby corn, and mushrooms.

Step 1: Make the chili paste

 For 2 servings, start with 3 green thai chiles, 3 garlic cloves, and half a shallot. Remove the stems from your chiles and the paper from your garlic and shallots, then add them to your mortar and pestle or the base of your food processor. Take that into a semi chunky paste, if the pieces are too fine they run the risk of burning. If you go the mortar and pestle route, break down the chiles first so you don’t end up with a ton of large pepper pieces. It’s important that this dish is hot, it’s one of the key flavor profiles, so 3 chiles is what tastes right to me. This is where you can define you’re own spice level. If you want it hotter, add another pepper, or go down to just 1 for a milder experience.

Step 2: Make the sauce

To make our sauce, combine 1.5 tbsp of oyster sauce, 3/4 tbsp of fish sauce, 3/4 tbsp dark soy, and 3/4 tbsp golden mountain sauce. That’s it, it’s pretty straightforward, but super super flavorful.

Step 3: Prep the vegetables

Slice 6 oz of pretty much any veggie you’d like and set that aside. For me, I’m gonna go with carrot along with red bell pepper for some nice crunch and watery snap. For the carrot, peel it, and take it into a few pieces that are as long as you’d like the final julienne to be. Square one of the sides, and then cut the carrot into planks. Take those planks and slice them into our final julienne to be stir fried in the wok later. Our bell pepper is easy as well, take the top and bottom off the bell pepper, and then slice off the cheeks from the center cylinder. Slice those cheeks into a julienne and set those in the same bowl as the carrot. These will both cook in about the same time as long as the carrots aren’t super thick.

Step 4: Prep the protein

If you’re using seafood, no need to season it before hand, but if you use chicken, pork, or steak, it’s a good idea to salt it so it retains some juiciness in the pan. Slice 1 chicken breast or 6oz of desired protein into thin, bite size pieces. If your breast is particularly large, cut it in half down the middle first before slicing. Place this in a bowl and season it with a large pinch of kosher salt. Mix that in and let it sit for the next few minutes as we handle the noodles.

Step 5: Cook the noodles

Get a pot of water boiling on the stove and measure out 6oz of the dried noodles. Place your noodles in the boiling water, put the lid on, turn off the heat and set a timer for 10 minutes. Every few minutes give this a stir so the noodles don’t stick together. After that 10 minutes is up, wash the noodles in cold water to stop them from cooking much further and then separate any noodles that are stuck together if you didn’t do a great job stirring often enough. Any super large noodle nest won’t soak up the sauce correctly, and may end up a little too chewy. Drain these and set them aside.

Step 6: Fry the protein

We’re ready to fry all of this, and it’s going to happen fast. The order we do this in is super important, so have everything nearby and ready to go as we heat our wok on high over our largest burner. Turn your fan on, and open a window, as the chiles can definitely create a pepper spray type situation. Once your wok is real hot, and you see wisps of smoke, add in a touch of cooking oil and drop in your protein. Place these pieces in a thin layer so they can brown nicely and just let them sit for a few seconds. These need maybe a minute and a half in total, so once you see the tops turning opaque, give them a mix. As you start to see no more pink, you can remove the chicken from the wok and drop the heat to medium.

Step 7: Finish the dish

Add in another bit of cooking oil and then drop in your chile paste. It’s important to not have your heat on high so this doesn’t smoke too bad. Mix this around for about 15 seconds or until you see a little brown on the shallot, and then add in your veggies and crank the heat back up to high. If you mix this rapidly, the large veggies should help insulate the chile and garlic. After roughly 45 seconds to a minute, add in your cooked noodles along with all the sauce and sugar. Mix this to combine all of that beautiful sauce into all the noodles, and then let it sit on the heat for a few seconds so you can hear the noodles cooking into the sauce at the bottom of the pan. The charring of the noodles like this creates a ton of depth to the savory sauce. Add your chicken back and mix that as well, then you can tear in your basil. Toss this one last time and check for final seasoning. I usually just add a small pinch of salt.

This is finished and ready to devour.

The dish is fragrant, spicy, sweet and perfectly balanced. You get tons of heat balanced with the chewy charred noodles. The bitter from the charring helps bring down the heat, and it comes together to create something really special.



Hey, I'm Cameron, and I'm glad you're here. I post new recipes every week, all intended to build your confidence in the kitchen, each one with video tutorials to help. Craving something specific? Drop me a note in my contact form! 

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