All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012
This was an adventure that nearly ended in disaster. I was really trying to duplicate my favorite restaurant Thai dish that I posted a while back (https://delightfuldeliciousdelovelyblog.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/torung-noodle-36-at-torung-thai-restaurant-in-hollywood/) but what I got was something different. TASTY – but different. My first effort resulted in an inky black mush that tasted great but was so ugly – I didn’t even bother to photograph it for this blog. Then, I thought – “Why not just double the quantity of noodles in the dish?” – just add another whole package of noodles to the existing muck – to water down the darkness – so I did and voila! The dish you see here is what I served my guests. I understand this isn’t a proper Drunken Noodle dish because I didn’t use Thai Spicy Basil (no idea where to get that – if it’s not at my Thai market) – but whatever. I’m not hung up on formality. Know that this recipe used FOUR POUNDS of fresh noodles. It was enough to feed at least ten people. Cut it in half – unless you are either feeding a lot of people or, like me, love having a ton of Thai leftovers. This will taste better the next day – for sure. I fed five, sent everyone home with some & still have leftovers for myself.
I used this type of fresh rice noodles:
I think fresh noodles are critical – but I haven’t tried this with a dried version – so maybe I am wrong. These cost somewhere between a dollar or two and, if the packaging is accurate – all two pounds of noodles contained have a collective count of 292 calories. Is that possible?? Is is an enormous amount of pasta for 292 calories! But wassup with the “must be consumed within four hours of manufacture” business?? My Asian market has these things out on a shelf near the produce – not even refrigerated. Is that safe? Lord knows the meat & fish section of the store is pretty sketchy! Pad See EEEEW – if you know what I’m saying. Larvae? Pig feet? Beef bile? WTF?
Anyway – I am just gonna go ahead & trust that the four hour warning on the noodles is a typo.
This recipe is going to use something called DARK or BLACK soy sauce & SWEET soy sauce. I had never used them before & found them to resemble crude oil and they made my first batch of noodles look like something skimmed out of the reeds of Alabama after the BP disaster. I will try to avoid using these again – especially the sweet stuff – as it was really thick, squid inky & ugly. I tasted the dark soy sauce & it seemed surprisingly mild to me. In the future – I will try to use a substitute of some kind. Despite the aesthetic drawbacks these ingredients present, however – the fact is – the dish TASTED very good. When I work out a prettier version of these noodles – I will share it.
I am going to have you guys make this the way I did – by adding the second package (or second half of the first package – if you are cutting this in half) at the very end – so the noodles stay more in tact & do not absorb all the black goo of the soy sauces. Also note – these noodles are rolled tight in the package. Soak them in warm water for a few minutes & then manually separate them from each other. This is critical because they will not come apart in your wok (or other pan). They will remain thick & clumped. Not good. Once all separated – let them rest in a colander until you are ready to use them. If they start to dry out or stick – just rinse them with more water.
Pad Kee Mao or Drunken Noodles
2 packages (4 pounds) of fresh wide rice noodles – or dry substitute cooked according to directions.
3 TBS dark soy sauce
1 TBS sweet soy sauce
1 TBS oyster sauce
4 TBS fish sauce
6 TBS sambal oelek (less or more – according to your tolerance for heat)
3 TBS canola or peanut oil
6 garlic cloves – minced
1 medium onion – sliced
1 large shallot – chopped
1 red bell pepper – sliced into slivers with a little set aside – diced & reserved for garnish
1 cup Thai basil – chopped
6 large mushrooms – sliced (optional)
5 heads bok choy (optional) – or other meat/fish/veggies of your choice
Soak & separate your fresh noodles – or cook dry ones according to instructions. Set aside in a colander – rinsing occasionally so they don’t stick & set.
Scramble the eggs in a small pan & set aside.
Heat the oil in a wok or other LARGE pan and add the garlic, onions, shallot & mushrooms & saute until the onions are soft.
Add the red bell pepper & saute another minute or two.
Blend the sweet soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce & fish sauce in a bowl & add to the onion mixture in the wok.
If you are using a meat or fish – add that here & saute until done. I did not use anything like that in my version.
Add HALF the noodles & stir them in well until they are well coated with the sauce. They should look pretty dark & unappealing. These noodles might break up a bit, too. That’s fiine – let them. These dark & broken apart noodles will serve as a kind of sauce on the second portion of noodles added later. Add the sambal oelek & the juice of the lime & stir it in well. A few minutes before you are ready to serve the dish – carefully mix in the remaining noodles, bok choy, Thai basil & the scrambled eggs. Try not to break up the noodles – striving to keep as many as possible in the longest possible length and maybe don’t stir so much – so that not all the noodles get completely covered in sauce. Cook 2-3 minutes or until the bok choy is wilted but still vibrant.
Serve on individual plates & garnish with diced red bell pepper and/or some sliced Thai basil. Extra sambal oelek can be added individually by those who want a hotter dish.