Over the years, Drunken Noodles or Pad Kee Mao has acted like drunkard, relaxing its boundaries. What started simple and clean, got dressed in random vegetables and herbs. Then people confused it with another dish. Now it is barely recognizable. This recipe dials Pad Kee Mao back to its roots.
When I was still living in Thailand, Pad Kee Mao was a very hot stir fry with meat, holy basil and seasoning. When oyster sauce became popular; it was incorporated into Pad Kee Mao. Spaghetti Kee Mao was popularized. Seafood Kee Mao was added.
Recently, Pad Kee Mao has gotten so drunk that it can’t even remember its repertoire. More vegetables and herbs slowly show up on Pad Kee Mao’s ingredient list; mushrooms, onions, baby corn, bell peppers, carrots, green beans, kaffir leaves, Chinese keys and fresh green peppercorns, Thai basil and even eggs. All in all, the common thread is still the intense heat. The tongue of a drunk can’t feel the spicy hot chili peppers; the vibrancy of the flavors and seasoning must make up for it.
As most of us will be cooking and eating Drunken Noodles sober, I tone down the heat but keep all other flavors true to the dish. When you feel like having the noodles with an insanely amount of alcohol, crank up the seasoning and the chili peppers as you please. Enjoy!