This recipe is a long time coming, guys.
I have been working on perfecting this version of Thai drunken noodles for months. MONTHS!
And I think I finally figured it out.
I have a longtime love affair with Thai food. It is definitely one of my favorite cuisines, and lucky for me, we have access to some delicious Thai food in Philly. Unfortunately, we don’t always have the time or inclination to drive into the city to get said food.
Which led to me taking it upon myself to figure out some of the recipes at home. Thai coconut soup is my absolute fave, and I make it all the time in the winter months. My mother swoons every time she eats it, so I always try to make an extra quart or two for her to take home. It’s simple but oh so good.
I have a recipe on my site for Thai coconut soup, but I have since improved that recipe. I hope to share the updated version with you soon!
Drunken noodles, my favorite entree to order, were a little bit harder to figure out. If you’ve ever ordered drunken noodles from an authentic Thai place, then you know how complex and deep and nuanced the flavor can be. It is an addicting mix of savory, salty, sweet, herby, and spicy. And the textures are to die for! It is DELICIOUS. Having such little experience cooking Thai food, I was a bit intimidated to try it at home.
But I was determined.
I have made this dish, or at least a version of this dish, probably 10 times now? Each time was closer and closer to the flavor I was going for. And THIS version is finally it. Thank the heavens. Both Dan and I have agreed that this is it. This recipe wins.
Now, drunken noodles is typically a spicy dish, and when you make it at home, you can completely control the heat level. See my notes in the recipe below for regulating the heat level to your tastes. Because Thai chiles are NO JOKE. They are freaking HOT. With all my testing and tweaking of this recipe, I finally feel like I have a good gauge as to what is needed to get our ideal spice level.
You’ll also notice that there are some ingredients listed in the recipe that you may not have on hand, like dark Thai soy sauce. I was determined to make this as authentic as possible, so I went out and got a bottle at a local Asian grocery store. If you cannot find it or don’t want the extra bottle in your pantry, just sub with regular soy sauce. Same with the Thai basil. While I HIGHLY recommend that you use the real stuff, you can sub with Italian/American basil, if needed.
Investing in Asian pantry ingredients, however, is something I recommend. They last forever, as most are potently flavored and a little bit goes a long way. They have a long shelf life. They add an incredible flavor to dishes that you really can’t get elsewhere. I cook Asian food with some regularity, and so to me, it’s totally worth having a few extra bottles in my pantry.
What is it about rice noodles that is so spectacular? It’s the texture, right? They’re soft with a little chew, and given their mild flavor, they are the ideal vehicle for flavorful sauces and curries. I love them.
These noodles are definitely a point of pride for me. They took a lot of work, testing, re-testing, trips to the specialty store, and tasting to get just right. It was tough. Well, as “tough” as it can be to attempt a delicious dish over and over again. It was super taxing. Hah.
Indulge me and indulge yourself by making these as soon as possible. You will NOT be sorry. They taste just like Thai takeout!
Thai Drunken Noodles with Chicken
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
For the Chicken
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
For the Noodles:
- 1 package wide dried rice noodles
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar, dissolved in ¼ cup hot water
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Thai dark soy sauce (if you can’t find, sub with another teaspoon of regular soy)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1 large sweet onion, cut into thin wedges
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 4 scallions, chopped
- 4 Thai red chile peppers, seeded and thinly sliced (See NOTE)
- 1 cup loosely packed Thai basil
- 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (sub with dry sherry or marsala wine, if needed)
For the Chicken
- Place the chicken in a large bowl and add the water, soy sauce, and cornstarch.
- Stir the ingredients together until all the chicken is evenly coated. It will almost look paste-like on the surface of the meat.
- Set aside for 20 minutes.
For the Noodles:
- While the chicken is marinating, soak the noodles in hot water, according to the package directions.
- Drain and rinse well. Set aside.
- I recommend prepping all your vegetables so they are ready to go. Stir fries happen fast and you want everything ready when you start.
- Stir together the dissolved brown sugar/water mixture, soy sauces, fish sauce, and oyster sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
- Heat your wok until it’s close to smoking, and spread 2 tablespoons of oil around the perimeter of the wok. Add the chicken and let it sear for 2 minutes per side until it is mostly cooked through.
- Remove the chicken and place on a plate.
- Add another tablespoon of oil to the wok and add the garlic, ginger, and onion. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds.
- Add in the bell peppers, scallions, Thai chiles, and Thai basil. Stir fry for another minute, stirring and shaking the pan as things cook. Add the wine and cook for another few seconds.
- Add the brown sugar-soy sauce mixture along with the softened rice noodles and chicken.
- Toss everything together well, and cook until everything is tender and the sauce is evenly coating all the noodles and veggies. Serve immediately.
- I have made this with both fresh and dried Thai chiles. I find that the dried chiles are HOTTER than the fresh, so if using dried, start out with 2-3 and add more, as needed. In my testing, 4 fresh chiles was the right amount of heat for us, which is quite spicy.
Sonya Atkins says
I want to make your Thai Drunken Noodle with Chicken recipe, but I live in a rural area and was hoping you could tell me what brand name is your Thai Dark Soy Sauce. You could also include brand names you used for the oyster and fish sauce too. I’ll probably have to order everything. Thank you in advance. Your recipe looked the best! I’ve eaten the Thai Drunken Noodles with beef in Washington State, many times while visiting. Unfortunately, my Son moved, and we probably won’t be returning there. Hubby and I are very good cooks and I know this will be great! Thank you for the recipe and the help needed.
Shelby F says
This was probably the best homemade meal I have ever made! Tastes just like drunken noodles I had ordered at a restaurant a few months ago.
Woo hoo! That makes me so happy. Good drunken noodles are hard to find, and it was my goal to create them at home. SO glad you enjoyed them!
chris po says
Best Thai recipe yet – right balance of ingredients AND expert instruction!
Matt M. says
Stumbled across this recipe today while looking for something fun to make with b/s chicken thighs. Of COURSE I’m making Thai drunken noodles! I got pretty excited about the idea only to discover I had no bell peppers, oyster sauce, or Thai basil. As I often do, I figured it out. I skipped the bell peppers (they were missed), meant to add some broccoli and forgot (might have made it more like pad see ew anyway), used tons of dried basil instead (went in with the onion), and subbed some decent bottled teriyaki for the oyster sauce (googled that one). It was still DELICIOUS. Seriously, this turned out beautifully, especially given the fact I need to upgrade to a 14″ carbon steel wok from my little 10″ one. The proportions were all exactly right. Almost forgot: since I was winging it, I also used a different noodle: Trader Joe’s cooked Thai wheat noodles, and they were perfect. Thanks for this – it really did all work very well.
(PS. Posted and tagged on IG and FB)