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Drunken Noodles/Pad Kee Mao

I have prepared this wonderfully spicy Thai dish a multitude of ways! The images above are from a low-carb inspired iteration, however, they can be prepared any way you like! Originally I was inspired by this woman’s recipe and video. But have since adapted for my family’s tastes and preferences.

If you haven’t had Pad Ke Mao/Drunken Noodles, it’s a dish that originates from Thailand and gains its name from when they are eaten, and why. There is no alcohol in Drunken Noodles, as the name would suggest; but rather they are eaten when you are inebriated in an attempt to sober up. They began typically as an after bar food when party goers needed something spicy, a little greasy, and delicious to awaken their senses. I have included a Wikipedia link with more info.

The Recipe: Serves 6-8 adults

Stir fry ingredients:

  1. Broccoli- 1 large head chopped

  2. White onion – 1 and a half, sliced as thin or thick as you like. I prefer thicker for a nice bite.

  3. 1/4-1/2 cabbage, chopped as you like

  4. Mungbean sprouts (bean sprouts) – I don’t have a measurement, a handful? maybe two?

  5. 2-3 Eggs, Fresh.

  6. Protein of your choice: Shrimp and Ground pork are traditional. Pork really is delicious, but I’ve used chicken breast sliced very thin as well and/or tofu. I would not use beef.

  7. 3-4 minced garlic cloves or 3 level tbs pre-minced garlic.

  8. 3 tbs minced fresh garlic, if you can grate it, that’s best! I use a zester.

  9. Spring onion (green onion) – for garnish, sliced very thin

  10. Optional Veggies:

  11. Bell peppers, red or green.

  12. Broccolini in lieu of broccoli -my personal favorite

  13. Mushrooms quartered.

  14. Red Chili Flake, depending on your heat tolerance you will need to adjust. For a mild flavor I would use 1/2 tbs of red flake. For a medium heat I would use 1-1 1/2 tbs red chili flake. For FIRE I would use 2 tbs, and I would also use the optional chili oil below, and you could even sub in some Bird’s Eye Chili-Fresh! That is traditional, to use the bird’s eye chili. Though most American home-cooks may not have that option.

  15. At least 10 leaves of Thai Basil (Cinnamon/Holy Basil) If you can’t find this (it’s likely only available at the Asian Market, use regular basil, just know it won’t taste quite like the restaurant-And that’s okay, do your best.) Basil goes in last!

You will also need wide-rice noodles. If you cannot find these at an asian market, do your best. I have attached a link here. -Please note, this is just for reference, this price is insanely high. Go to your local Asian Market, please! I pay $2 a pack and I buy the ones that say 5mm, but you can go much thicker, 10mm is even more authentic. But I find it harder to eat, personally.

I also have a non-authentic super secret ingredient for myself, when I make this just for me, I also will add in a 1/4 cup of smooth peanut butter near the end. It just adds such a creamy-nuttiness, but make sure you have no one with allergens or aversions.

Sauce Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup Oyster Sauce

  2. 3-4 tbs soy sauce

  3. 1/4 cup water (optional)

  4. Optional: 3 tbs dark soy sauce (available at asian markets.) -adds a lot of umami and really darkens the food.

  5. 3 tbs white sugar

  6. 4 rounded tbs brown sugar

  7. 3-4 dashes fish sauce – if you like less funk, use less. Mine comes out in spirts. I would guess it’s a few tsps.

  8. 1 tbs chili oil (optional)

  9. 2 tsp Red Chili Flake


I know that this recipe has a lot of ingredients, and seems complicated, but I promise you, it’s not. The most important piece is having all your ingredients prepped FIRST.

Editor’s note: If you want noodles, set a large pot to boil, once it’s boiling, add your noodles. They will cook fast. Once they are all limp (you don’t want these al dente), strain immediately and in the colindar rinse them with very cold water. This will stop the cooking process and keep them from sticking together. I would keep washing them as I’m cooking just to make sure they stay loose.

  1. Chop your onions, broccoli/veggies and cabbage into bite-sized pieces. Have them ready.

  2. Wash your mungbean/sprouts and have them ready to be added in as well.

  3. Chop and prep all your garlic, ginger, spring onion, and julienne your basil -hold separately.

  4. Prepare your protein. Wash any seafood or poultry. Chop your poultry or tofu. Tofu in rectangles and chicken as thin as you can! I will actually set a fresh chicken breast in the freezer for about 30-40 mins and then really get a nice slice off it.

  5. Whisk all your sauce ingredients together in a bowl. Taste it. It should be salty, sweet, spicy, and just a bit funky from the fish sauce. If it’s not to your liking, adjust, add some sugar, add some soy, or even some water etc. Remember though the sauce will thin when you add it, and I DO NOT add all the sauce at once. I add it in bits, we’ll see.

Get an extra large pan hot or a wok. Add some vegetable oil, get it almost to its smoke point. Swirl it around the pan or wok. Add your veggies you have prepped all at once, except for the sprouts. Add your garlic and ginger. Stir and mix veggies well. Once they have turned a bit soft add your mungbeans. Add your protein and stir-fry until it’s done.

Once the protein is done, make a whole in the middle or to the side, I like to crack my eggs directly onto the surface and blend them right there, others will whisk first in a bowl and add, up to you. Cook the egg through and then blend it into your mixture, if you have some sesame oil, add a few tbs at this time.

Once your stir-fry is cooked through, start adding your sauce. I would start with about a third of it first. Mix it all together and see how it turns out, taste it. Cooking is like potion-making, it’s a bit of science as well as magic and therefore should be monitored closely. If it tastes weak, add more sauce. If you want peanut butter, now’s the time! Once you’re satisfied with the flavor, add your noodles! -if you want them. It’s likely it will now need some more sauce and I would use tongs to gently fold the noodles and stir-fry together.

Serve piping hot and with chopsticks! I also put chili oil and Sriracha on the table for those that wish to have an extra kick.

Variation: Use lettuce wraps instead of noodles, you can even turn this into a wrap! I would combine it with fresh lettuce in the tortilla and raw mungbeans for added crunch, and maybe make a little extra sauce to add in.

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