There is no alcohol in “drunken” noodles, but there are countless variations on this delicious dish all over Thailand. It’s typically a very spicy dish and that’s the way I like it. However, you can control the heat level by using fewer spicy chilies or adding more if you like it hot. Use the widest rice noodles you can find for this recipe. I made Drunken Noodles this time with tofu, but you could substitute chicken, shrimp, pork, beef or whatever protein you’d like. Or, you could just enjoy the noodles without an added protein. Just skip the tofu step.
- Vegetable oil
- 7 ounces firm tofu, cubed and dried
- 1/2 cup chicken stock or lower sodium broth
- 1 Tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 Tbsp Asian fish sauce (nam pla)
- 1 1/2 tsp Thai red curry paste
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 2 red Fresno peppers, seeded and sliced
- 2 large jalapeños, seeded and sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 2 bird’s eye chiles or Thai chilies, minced
- 1/2 pound wide pad Thai rice noodles
- Julienned Thai basil leaves – about 1 cup
- Soak the pad Thai noodles in a large bowl of water until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- In a nonstick skillet, heat 1/4 inch of oil. Add the tofu and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- In a bowl, whisk together the chicken stock, oyster sauce, fish sauce, curry paste, soy sauce and sugar.
- In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the peppers, garlic and Thai chiles and stir-fry over high heat until fragrant, 2 minutes or so.
- Add the noodles and stir-fry until browned, 3-4 minutes.
- Add the sauce and toss over moderately high heat, until absorbed. If the mixture becomes too dry, add a half cup or so of water or broth.
- Fold in most of the basil, reserving a quarter cup or so, and the tofu.
- Garnish with the rest of the basil and serve.
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.
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