Drunken noodles, also called Pad Kee Mao, is made with broad rice noodles, soy sauce, garlic, meat or tofu with some vegetables. The star ingredients are the basil leaves (this one ingredient seals the deal for me!!!) for the distinct flavor and thai chilli that gives the right amount of spiciness. Although the original recipe uses holy basil, I haven't really seen them in stores, so, I used thai basil which works for me. If you want to be all authentic, try using holy basil in this recipe. My version might seem like there are too many veggies but feel free to add/limit your own choice of veggies.
7 oz oriental rice stick (banh-pho), medium size
1 medium onion, cut lengthwise
1 medium carrot, cut into thin strips
1/4 cup green onions, chopped (only green part)
1/2 cup napa cabbage (although I used regular green cabbage), cut lengthwise
1/2 cup baby corn, cut into halves
1/2 cup water chestnuts, sliced
5-6 broccoli florets
2-3 thai chillies, cut lengthwise
1/2 cup thai basil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4-5 tbsp light soy sauce (adjust to taste)
2 tsp light brown sugar (adjust to taste)
1/2 - 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
1 tbsp white vinegar
3 tbsp oil (I used canola but you can also use toasted sesame oil)
1 tbsp chilli paste (optional)
For the noodles, I used a medium sized flat noodles but you can also use a much broader rice noodles. Cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions. You can drizzle some oil to the noodles when cooking it to avoid it from sticking.
If you want to add tofu (like you didn't have enough veggies to begin with :)), shallow fry them in little oil, drain and set aside.
In a wok, heat oil, add the minced garlic, thai chillies and crushed pepper flakes. After the garlic turns slightly brown, add the onion and vegetables (carrot, napa cabbage, baby corn, water chestnuts and broccoli). Keep stirring and cook the vegetables until they are half done (to give a slight crunch) for about 6-8 mins (cook for 2-3 mins longer if you want your veggies nearly done). Add few tablespoons of water (you can use the water from the noodles) to avoid things from sticking to the wok.
Add the noodles and mix with all the veggies. Add little water if things are sticking to the bottom of the wok (make sure you don't add too much water otherwise your noodles will end up being a mushy disaster).
Fry the noodles and veggies for 2-3 mins and add the soy sauce, brown sugar and the chilli paste and mix well. Add the vinegar to the veggies and stir well. Finally, add the basil leaves (pick the leaves only, not flowers) and mix well with the noodles. When the basil starts to wilt, remove from heat and serve.
Fun Fact: When trying to look up on how this recipe got its name, pad kee mao in thai means stir fry ('pad') for someone who drinks too much ('kee mao'). Oddly enough, it happens to be a cure for hangover (personally, I don't think you should test it out but if you are still curious, go ahead and enjoy) but tastes good no matter what!!!
Makes 4 servings.