This is the BEST Pad Kee Mao recipe that will light up your taste buds with flavor and spice! It’s unapologetically bold, spicy, and anything but boring. Learn how to make this famously popular Thai dish in the comfort of your own home in about 30 minutes!
Why is it Called Drunken Noodles?
Pad Kee Mao in Thai translates to Drunken Noodles, but deceivingly it has no alcohol.
There are many stories on how this dish came to have its name. One theory is that it can be a cure for a hangover. So, if you’re waking up from a wild night out and need a pick-me-up, this might just be what you’re looking for!
If anything, it’ll definitely wake up your taste buds!
Difference Between Pad Thai and Pad Kee Mao
Pad Thai and Pad Kee Mao are two very popular dishes & loved for very different reasons!
Pad Thai is made with dry rice stick noodles sauteed in a tamarind sauce. It’s nutty, tangy, salty, and sweet. Pad Kee Mao, on the other hand, is made with fresh thick rice noodles in a savory spicy sauce.
Both are equally irresistibly delicious for very different reasons!
Noodles for the Best Pad Kee Mao Recipe
- Finding the Right Noodles: Fresh wide noodles are best for this recipe because they’re quick to prep and cook! You can easily find them at Asian markets in the refrigerated section. If you like EXTRA wide noodles, you can also buy the fresh noodle sheets a cut them yourself to your desired width.
- Prep Noodles for Even Cooking: Before turning on the stove, it’s important to prep your noodles first so they don’t clump or break while cooking. Either bring your noodles to room temperature or pop them in the microwave for a few seconds until they become easily pliable. Very gently, separate your noodles individually. Yes, it’s more work, but I promise you’ll be glad you did it because all your noodles will be evenly coated in the most deliciously savory sauce!
How to Prevent Breaking Your Noodles: No one wants short noodles, it’s just not as satisfying! Since the noodles can easily break while cooking, it’s important to handle them with care. Gently stir them as little as possible, just enough for them to be evenly coated in the sauce. This gives you a much better chance at those long chewy noodles you know and love!
Let's Get Cooking!
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Best Pad Kee Mao Recipe (Drunken Noodles)
- 10 ounces fresh wide rice noodles
- 2 shallots finely diced
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- 1 - 3 Thai chilies minced, adjust to your spice level
- 4 oz shrimp peeled & deveined
- 2 ½ oz Chinese broccoli/gailan sliced at 60-degree angle*
- Handful of basil
- Gently separate noodle strands so they don’t clump while cooking. If the noodles are too stiff or difficult to separate, pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time until they’re soft.
- In a small bowl, combine the sauce ingredients. Set aside.
- Heat a wok or large pan on medium-high heat. Add about a tablespoon of oil then add shallots. Cook until golden then add garlic and Thai chilies. Cook for a few seconds until they’re soft and fragrant.
- Toss in shrimp and cook for about 2 minutes or until 80% done.
- Add in Chinese broccoli and saute for about 2 minutes or until tender but still crunchy.
- Toss in noodles, pour in the sauce, and gently stir, being careful not to break the noodles. Cook until the sauce is absorbed.
- Turn off heat, toss in holy basil, gently combine until it's wilted. Serve and enjoy!
- Fresh Wide Noodles: You can find fresh noodles at local Asian markets and they come in various widths. You could even buy rice paper sheets and cut them to your desired width!
- Chinese Broccoli / Gai Lan: You can easily find this in the produce section of Asian markets. It's important to cut the stalks at a sharp angle so you get longer pieces that cook quickly.
- Dark Soy Sauce: Dark soy sauce is used for the rich dark color it gives food - I HIGHLY recommend making the effort to get it at your local Asian market or online. If you omit it, keep in mind your noodles will be significantly lighter in color.
Exact calculations may vary. For the most accurate nutritional information, use your preferred nutrition calculator, actual ingredients, and quantities used for the recipe. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian if more precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.