Thai-style drunken noodles (pad kee mao) are a wonderful combination of satisfying savoriness, a subtle sweetness, a spicy kick, and a permeating umami that make the dish widely popular at Thai restaurants around the United States. The origin of the name remains up for debate, but one thing is clear: this dish is seriously delicious.
One of the defining ingredients that gives drunken noodles their signature flavor is oyster sauce. Although a select few companies do make a gluten-free oyster sauce, it can be exceedingly difficult to find—even at Asian, gluten-free, and other speciality markets. So we’ve developed this recipe using a combination of other ingredients that are much easier to find and yet still yield the classic drunken noodles flavor.
Our version of the dish gets most of its spiciness from serrano peppers. Dial them up or down to suit your taste.
Thai-style Drunken Noodles
For the sauce
- 4 tbsp tamari GF soy sauce
- 3 tbsp GF chicken stock / broth
- 3 tbsp mirin
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp sambal oelek (red chili paste)
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
- 1/8-1/4 tsp anchovy paste
For the stir fry
- olive oil (for stir frying)
- 1 red bell pepper (chopped into ~1-inch pieces)
- 1 white onion (chopped into ~1-inch pieces)
- 1-2 serrano peppers (sliced into tiny "coins")
- 4 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast (sliced thin)
- 3/4 lb Pad Thai-style rice noodles (banh pho or similar style)
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar
- Whisk together all the sauce ingredients and set aside.
- Pre-heat a large cast iron skillet (or wok) over the stovetop on medium-high heat. Also place a large pot of water on the stovetop and bring it up to a boil while you're stir-frying the vegetables and chicken.
- Add 1 tbsp olive oil to the skillet, then add the bell pepper and onion. Sauté just until the edges are starting to brown and the onions are beginning to turn translucent, but the peppers and onions are still al dente, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the serrano pepper and sauté 1 more minute. Remove the peppers and onions from the skillet and set aside.
- Add another 1 tbsp olive oil to the skillet and stir-fry the chicken. Make sure the chicken is in a single layer. Stir-fry in batches, if necessary. Allow the chicken to brown on the first side before tossing. When just cooked through, remove from the skillet and set aside.
- Add a final 1 tbsp olive oil to the skillet, then add the minced garlic. After the garlic aroma opens up (about 15 seconds), deglaze the skillet with the 3 tbsp rice vinegar. Then add the sauce and bring to boil.
- Once the sauce reaches a boil, add back the chicken, peppers, and onions. Turn the heat down to medium and let simmer while the rice noodles cook.
- Cook the rice noodles in the pot of boiling water until al dente. Then strain and add to the skillet. Toss everything to coat well.
- Serve with Thai basil and lime wedges.