Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pad Kee Mow (Drunken Noodles)

If I could eat the daily diet of any other culture I would choose Thai. We traveled there in 2001 to visit some of our closest friends and I must have gained 10 pounds eating my way through Thailand. My favorite Thai dish is Pad Kee Mow and I judge every Thai restaurant by the quality of this dish. Tragically, there are no Thai Restaurants in Mankato. The closest good Thai restaurant is  Senyai-Senlek  ( ) in Minneapolis, but it takes us 90 minutes to get there and sometimes a girl needs some pad kee mow right now.

I've tried dozens of pad kee mow recipes and finally adapted them all into what I deem an almost perfect dish. I can't claim it measures up perfectly to what you can get in Thailand, but if you aren't going to Bangkok anytime soon you can just make this. I love this dish so much that I grow Thai basil and Thai chiles for it in the summer, but they are now pretty common in most large grocery stores as well.

Things start to go quickly once you begin the stir fry, so it helps to have everything ready and in place before you start.

4 Tbsp. light soy sauce or tamari
4 Tbsp. mushroom flavored soy sauce
1 Tbsp. vegetable boullion base
1 scant Tbsp. sugar

1/4 c. canola oil
1 lb. extra firm tofu, cut into cubes
1 lb. rice stick noodles, the thickest ones you can find
1 shallot, finely minced
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
1-4 Thai red chiles, finely minced (or 1-2 Tbsp. chile garlic paste if you can't find Thai chilis)
1 white onion, halved and sliced thinly lengthwise
1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
About 10 crimini or button mushrooms, quartered
1/4 c. Thai basil leaves (or regular basil if you can't find Thai)
10-15 cherry tomatoes, halved

1) Mix together the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl making sure to dissolve the sugar and set aside.

2) Heat a large pot of water on the stove and prepare the rice stick noodles according to the package directions. Try to time it so that the noodles get done almost just before you're ready to add them to the stir fry or they will stick together as they wait to be added.  One option is to start the stir fry as you bring the water to a boil and then turn it off once everything is ready and turn it back on when the noodles are ready to be added.

3) In a wok heat the oil over high heat and fry the tofu in two batches until lightly browned on two opposing sides, about 5-7 minutes per side. Place the tofu on a plate lined with paper towels to drain the excess oil and set aside. This is something you could do ahead of time and either keep it warm or reheat it when you are ready to use it.

4) In the same oil, over medium-high heat add the shallots, garlic and chiles or chile paste and saute for about 3 minutes. Add the onion and saute for about 3 minutes more. Add the peppers and mushrooms and saute for about 3 minutes more.

5) When the noodles are done drain them and add them to the stir fry along with the fried tofu, the cherry tomatoes and the sauce. Toss to coat and stir fry for another few minutes.

6) Turn off the heat and add the Thai basil leaves and toss once more to distribute the basil.

This serves about 6 unless I'm there, then it only serves 4.


  1. Yay! I'm so excited about this recipe and about your blog, Sarah. I have been looking for more meatless recipes and this blog is exactly what I've needed, mainly because I know that you are only putting up really yummy things, unlike cookbooks who sometimes just need fillers to make the book thick enough (and recipes that make me have to serve cereal for dinner because they turned out so bad). I'm looking forward to trying this one, and a lentil recipe I saw.Thanks for sharing!

  2. Is this Tanya? I've never been part of the blogosphere before, so I'm still learning what I'm doing, but I've been reading yours & love it! I hope you like the food, let me know what you think and any improvements you make on the recipes you try. Yay!

  3. Yes, this is Tanya. The comment boss wanted me to use a blog identity for some reason. Anyway, we tried this last night and I thought it was so tasty! I used the smaller amount of Thai garlic chili paste and probably could have used more (my family tends to be big babies when it comes to spice). My noodles ended up being too thin and broke but if I had followed your advice and found thicker ones, it would have been perfect. Thanks for a new dish, and for reading my blog. I hope you enjoy the interaction you'll get here.

  4. Last night I adapted it for my girls:

    1 clove of garlic, pressed
    1/2 a shallot very finely minced almost into paste
    1/2 tub of extra firm tofu, cubed
    3-4 c. cooked brown rice
    lightly steamed broccoli
    1/2 of the sauce recipe from above

    I fried the garlic/shallot in a little oil. Added the tofu & just heated it. Then added the rice, broccoli & sauce and stir fried it all together for a couple of minutes. They LOVED it.

  5. Christina and Nate made this for us last week- fantastic!!!