Pad Kee Mao (Thai Drunken Noodles) is a stir-fry that features wide rice noodles tossed in a classic Thai sauce, ground pork or chicken with an assortment of fresh vegetables. The fresh Thai basil adds a fantastic aroma and flavor profile to this popular street food.
Pad Kee Mao is a delicious noodle stir-fry with lots of protein and veggies; very much like Pad See Ew but with a different flavor profile. I love ground pork in this dish as it blends so well with the rice noodles. The baby corn adds a really nice crunch while the tomatoes add a fresh tanginess. The Thai basil leaves give the dish a fantastic aroma. This flavor profile almost reminds me of Gai Pad Krapow.
Even though this dish is named Thai Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao or Pad Ki Mao), nobody really knows how this name came about since it does not contain any alcohol.
As Pad Kee Mao loosely translates to “drunkard’s fried noodles”, one theory states that it was created by someone who came home drunk and threw this dish together with the ingredients that he had available at the time.
However, I am inclined to believe that the dish was named as such because it is perfect after a night of too much partying (not that I would know from first-hand experience). Or perhaps it is because this dish pairs so perfectly with an ice cold beer.
You will love the flavors of this classic Thai stir-fried noodle dish, and you will also how love how quick and easy it is to put together!
Noodles for Pad Kee Mao
If fresh rice noodles are not easily accessible in your area, you can use dried wide rice noodles instead. If you will be using dried wide rice noodles, soak them in warm water for about 30 minutes, then drain them well using a colander.
Immediately after draining the noodles, pour about a tablespoon of cooking oil over the noodles, then use your fingers to coat the noodles in the oil.
I recommend this step if you are using fresh noodles as well. The oil prevents the noodles from sticking together, making it much easier to stir-fry to coat each noodle evenly with the yummy sauce.
This recipe calls for 1 pound of fresh wide rice noodles or 8 oz of dried wide rice noodles.
How to Make Pad Kee Mao
Prepare the sauce by combining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons fish sauce, 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce (or sweet soy sauce), and 2 teaspoons brown sugar.
Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in your wok over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 a pound of ground pork, and stir-fry until the pork is fully cooked.
Remove the pork from the wok and set aside.
Add about 1 more tablespoon of cooking oil to the wok, followed by 2 cloves of garlic (minced), 1/2 a small onion (sliced), and 6 pieces of baby corn (halved lengthwise).
If you don’t mind the spice, add 1 Thai bird chili (thinly sliced). Feel free to omit this step if you prefer a non-spicy Pad Kee Mao. If you love the super spicy heat, add 2 Thai bird chilies!
Add the noodles to the wok, followed by the sauce mixture.
Stir well to distribute the sauce evenly throughout the noodles.
Return the cooked ground pork to the wok.
Add 2 cups of cherry or grape tomatoes, and 2 cups of fresh Thai basil leaves. Give the noodles a stir to mix all the ingredients.
Serve immediately with lime wedges and more fresh basil leaves if desired.
This dish is traditionally prepared with wide rice noodles. It’s very similar to Pad Thai noodles but quite a bit wider (about 1/2 an inch wide). If you are not able to locate these noodles, you can use the same noodles you would use for Pad Thai.
If fresh rice noodles are not easily accessible in your area, you can use dried wide rice noodles instead. Soak the noodles in warm water for about 30 minutes, drain them well using colander, then gently toss them in some cooking oil to prevent them from sticking.
Keep any leftover noodles in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. I would not recommend freezing it.
Re-heat the noodles in a microwave for approximately 2 minutes. As the noodles tend to dry out in the fridge, I recommend sprinkling a splash of water (about 1 teaspoon) over the noodles so that they can soften up a bit in the microwave.
Pad Kee Mao (Thai Drunken Noodles)
Pad Kee Mao Stir-fry
- [1 lb fresh wide rice noodles or 8oz dried]
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil divided
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 onion sliced
- 6 pieces baby corn halved lengthwise
- 1 – 2 Thai bird chili thinly sliced
- 2 1/2 cups fresh Thai basil divided
- 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1 lime cut into wedges
- If you are using dried wide rice noodles, soak them in warm water for at least 30 minutes. Drain well, then coat them in about a tablespoon of cooking oil to prevent them from sticking.
- Prepare the sauce by combining soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice vinegar, fish sauce, dark soy sauce and brown sugar.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil to your wok over medium-high heat. Add ground pork, and stir-fry until the pork is fully cooked. Remove the ground pork from the wok and set aside.
- Add 1 more tablespoon of cooking oil to the wok, followed by minced garlic, sliced onion, baby corn.
- Add the sliced Thai bird chili. Omit if you prefer a non-spicy dish.
- Add the noodles to the wok, followed by the sauce mixture. Stir well to distribute the sauce evenly throughout the noodles.
- Return the cooked ground pork to the wok.
- Add tomatoes and 2 cups of fresh Thai basil to the noodles. Stir to combine all the ingredients.
- Serve immediately with the remaining fresh basil leaves and lime wedges.