There are a lot of different theories to explain how “Drunken Noodles” got their name. This hot, savory Thai dish does not have alcohol in the recipe, but is widely loved and adored as a perfectly balanced fusion dish.
Some people say the noodles are so spicy, that you’re likely to get a little sauced chasing each bite with a cold beer. Other people say they are referred to as “drunken noodles” because they’re perfect to settle your stomach after a night out and prevent hangovers. If you want to take a page out of Chrissy Teigen’s book, Cravings, you can even add alcohol to the noodles. I prefer to make mine without alcohol.
For years, I had unknowingly been making a similar recipe out of one of my oldest cookbooks, Practical Thai Cooking. This book has taught me a variety of sauce and curry recipes. The sauce used in the noodle recipe on page 153 is nearly identical to Drunken Noodles and has been a staple in our home for years.
Making Drunken Noodles only takes about 20 minutes. As always, feel free to adjust your spice level accordingly. While I use chicken in mine, I have seen other recipes use ground pork, shrimp, tofu, or a combination of each. Make sure you have all of your ingredients ready prior to dropping food into your wok. Noodle dishes cook incredibly fast, and you don’t want to burn or overcook anything while you prep.
Recipe for Drunken Noodles:
3 Chicken Breasts (Sliced)
150g Dried Rice Noodles
1/2 Red Bell Pepper (Julienned)
1 Handful Red Cherry Tomatoes
1 Teaspoon Dark Soy Sauce
2 Teaspoons Regular Soy Sauce
2 Teaspoons Brown Sugar
3 Garlic Cloves (Minced)
1/4 White Onion (Chopped)
2 Birds Eye Chillis (Sliced)
1 Inch Fresh Ginger (Matchstick)
1 Teaspoon Fish Sauce
1 1/2 Teaspoon Chili Oil
1 1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 Teaspoon White Pepper
Hot Sesame Oil
Lime Wedges (For Serving)
Cilantro (For Garnish)
Kosher Salt (To Taste)
Instructions for Drunken Noodle Recipe:
1: Fill a large bowl with warm water, and drop in your rice noodles. Set aside. Preheat your wok over medium-high heat.
2: In a bowl, mix dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, brown sugar, fish sauce, chili oil, red pepper flakes, birds eye chili, and white pepper. Set aside.
3: Drop your sliced chicken into the wok, stirring until cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.
4: Check your bowl of noodles. Once they are soft and flexible, drain the water. Drizzle hot sesame seed oil into your wok. Drop garlic, ginger, and onion into the oil, and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add red peppers and cherry tomatoes, tossing until they blister. Add your noodles and chicken back to the wok.
5: Pour your sauce over the noodles, tossing quickly, ensuring even distribution. Allow the noodles to heat through, then remove from the heat.
6: Serve with fresh cilantro (or Thai basil) and fresh lime wedges.