How to Make Authentic Drunken Noodles Pad Kee Mao

Dive into the vibrant world of Thai cuisine with Drunken Noodles, also known as Pad Kee Mao, a dish celebrated for its bold flavors and spicy kick. This stir-fry masterpiece combines wide rice noodles with a generous helping of chicken, seafood, or tofu, all tossed in a savory sauce spiked with Thai basil, garlic, and plenty of chilies. The name “Drunken Noodles” is rumored to come from its popularity as a late-night street food favorite, perfect for sobering up after a night of revelry. Whether or not you’ve had a night out, this dish promises a deliciously fiery experience that’s sure to awaken your taste buds.


Why You’ll Love Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao):

  • Bold and Spicy Flavors: A perfect dish for those who love their meals with a bit of heat.
  • Customizable: Easily adapted to suit your protein preferences and spice tolerance.
  • Quick to Prepare: A fast and flavorful meal, ideal for busy weeknights or when you need a quick culinary escape.
  • Authentic Thai Experience: Brings the essence of Thai street food right to your kitchen.

Ingredients Notes For Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao):

  • Wide Rice Noodles: The backbone of the dish, providing a chewy texture that’s perfect for soaking up the sauce.
  • Protein: Chicken, beef, shrimp, or tofu work beautifully in this versatile dish.
  • Thai Basil: Offers a unique anise-like flavor that’s essential for authentic Pad Kee Mao.
  • Chilies: Adjust the number to your spice preference. Bird’s eye chilies are traditionally used for their fiery heat.
  • Sauce Ingredients: A mixture of soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, and a touch of sugar balances salty, sweet, and umami flavors.

Recipe Steps:

  1. Prepare Noodles: Soak or cook the wide rice noodles according to package instructions until just tender.
  2. Cook Protein: Heat oil in a wok or large skillet, and stir-fry your choice of protein until cooked through. Remove and set aside.
  3. Sauté Aromatics: In the same wok, sauté minced garlic and chilies until fragrant.
  4. Combine: Add the noodles to the wok, along with the cooked protein, and toss together.
  5. Sauce: Whisk together the sauce ingredients and pour over the noodles. Stir-fry until everything is well coated and heated through.
  6. Finish with Thai Basil: Add a generous handful of Thai basil leaves, stir until wilted, and remove from heat.
  7. Serve: Dish out the Drunken Noodles hot, garnished with additional basil leaves or lime wedges for an extra zing.

Storage Options:

  • Refrigerate: Best enjoyed fresh but can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • Reheat: Warm up leftovers in a skillet over medium heat, adding a splash of water to revive the noodles.


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How to Make Authentic Drunken Noodles Pad Kee Mao



For the Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce (for color, optional)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste or sambal oelek (adjust to taste)

For the Noodles:

  • 8 ounces wide rice noodles
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 Thai bird’s eye chilies, chopped (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 pound chicken, beef, or tofu, sliced or cubed
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 cup Thai basil leaves
  • 2 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup baby corn (optional)
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (optional for a burst of sweetness)


  1. Prepare the Noodles:
    • Soak the rice noodles in warm water for about 20 minutes until they are soft but still firm to the bite. Drain and set aside.
  2. Make the Sauce:
    • In a small bowl, mix together the oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, dark soy sauce (if using), brown sugar, and chili paste. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and set aside.
  3. Cook the Protein:
    • Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add the garlic and bird’s eye chilies, and stir-fry for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
    • Add your choice of protein (chicken, beef, or tofu) and stir-fry until cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. Stir-Fry Vegetables:
    • In the same skillet or wok, add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the bell pepper and onion, and stir-fry for a few minutes until they start to soften. If using, add baby corn and cherry tomatoes.
  5. Combine Ingredients:
    • Add the cooked noodles to the skillet along with the prepared sauce. Toss everything together until the noodles are evenly coated with the sauce and heated through.
  6. Final Touches:
    • Return the cooked protein to the skillet. Add the Thai basil leaves and green onions. Stir everything together for another minute or two, until the basil is wilted and the dish is well combined.
  7. Serve:
    • Serve the Drunken Noodles hot, garnished with additional Thai basil leaves or lime wedges on the side if desired.
  • Author: Maria

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