Panang Curry Chicken

I felt like getting back to my Thai cooking roots with this post.  This is one of the most flavorful dishes you will ever eat.  Incorporating the best from sweet, savory, sour and spicy, this meal makes your taste buds sing!  This dish is a favorite among most of my family (the part of my family that can eat somewhat spicy food).  While Panang Curry is a Malaysian dish by name, the use of a pounded curry paste with lemon grass and coconut milk or cream is definitely a Thai tradition.  So though this dish may be popular in Malaysia, it is most definitely a rice dish of Thai origin.

Above we have most of the ingredients of our curry paste.  Not shown are garlic, shallots, soy sauce, ginger and galangal.  But starting from the top and winding in clockwise are Chili powder in a bag, ground coriander, shrimp paste, tmato paste, red onion and lemon grass and ground cumin.

The shrimp paste is an ingredient rarely seen or discussed in the US so I will go into more detail on that here.

This is dried, fermented shrimp paste.  This is perhaps the most pungent ingredient used in Thai cooking.  The smell is very strong and depending on what you are making with it, it is often better to be cooked outside.  Indeed there is a dish called Nam Prik Gapee (fried fish with shrimp paste and water dip) that when eaten, can literally wreck your breath for more than a day.  I know because it’s happened to me and I had to sleep on the couch when I ate it.  This condiment is made by harvesting fresh small shrimp from the sea or from fresh water lakes and then mashing them into a paste.  The paste is then mixed with salt and allowed to ferment in baskets.  It is later dried in the sun and formed into solid bricks or cakes of shrimp paste.  Called Gapee in Thai, the dried shrimp is mixed with other ingredients to flavor food.  This stuff is impossible to eat straight out of the container (it is incredibly salty) and it has to be cooked before use.  In the tub above, even after opening the lid, the surface of the product was coated with a wax seal that I had to break when I opened it.  That’s when the smell hits you.  I store my excess in the garage.  For what we are going cook, we only need to use about a tablespoon of it and we’ll be grilling it and then mixing it with a lot of other ingredients so it shouldn’t be too smelly cooked indoors.

Above, I have about a tablespoon that I will wrap in aluminum foil to cook.  I cook it not only for the grilled flavor but to ensure the paste is safe to eat and cooking it cuts way back on that fishy taste and smell.

I have the paste wrapped in aluminum foil.  Now you COULD cook it over your grill but we only need about a minute of high heat for a tablespon full like we have here.  A gas stove on high will work too.

I am cooking mine with a brulee torch on all sides for about a minute before adding the paste to the mortar and pestle with the other curry paste ingredients.

Here I have pounded the roasted shrimp paste with the garlic, shallots, onion, lemon grass, coriander, cumin, chili powder, ginger, galangal, soy sauce and a little lime juice.

Above are my ingredients for the gravy part of the sauce.  Coconut cream, brown sugar and fish sauce.  Before we start, it is important that we start cooking our rice.  For me, that means adding 3 cups of well rinsed Japanese medium grain rice to the required amount of water and starting the cooker.  This is the way this dish would be eaten in Northern Thailand.  In Southern Thailand they would use Jasmine rice.  You can use whatever rice suits your own fancy.

Here I have about 1.5 lbs of chicken tenderloins cut into bite sized pieces.  To start this dish, we will heat some oil and fry the curry paste first.

I will let the vegetable oil heat here for a full minute on high heat before adding the curry paste.

You want to fry the paste until it’s very fragrant.  The smells of garlic, lemon grass, chili pepper and shrimp paste will be prominent before we add the next ingredient.  I cooked this on high heat for about 90 seconds stirring constantly.

Here I am adding the two cans of coconut cream.  Thai people add coconut milk and/or cream to their curries to soften the savage attack of the spices on the palette.  This curry paste is quite strong in flavor and will easy overpower the palette of most people.  The coconut attenuates this to a normal level for us.  And for this dish – this is next point is very important.  When you go to get the coconut cream for this.  If you go to any Asian market (and even some US grocery store chains) you will see they have coconut milk at least and hopefully the cream.  Try to find the coconut CREAM instead of the MILK.  There is a difference.  Coconut cream is the liquid that is the first press from the shredded coconut meat and if you don’t have it, you have to add corn starch to the gravy to get it as thick as the cream will get it.  You want the gravy to be rich and somewhat thick.

I use a whisk for this next step.  You want the curry paste well mixed into the coconut cream.  If it isn’t, your diners might get a lump or two of the paste itself and you will hear about it if they do.  Much spicier and hotter than the rest of the gravy, it is brutal on the taste buds.  Take the extra time to get this well mixed.  Note the lovely peachy hue of our gravy.  That pinkish-orange color is the hallmark of good Panang curry sauce.

Next we’ll add our chicken.  Now you can add beef or shrimp but I find red curry to be best for beef and green curry to pair better with shrimp.  (I will add those recipes at some point later to this blog).  But you are by no means bound by my preferences.  Feel free to cook what you want in your kitchen.

Stir this well until the chicken pieces start to get opaque.

Here I’ll add a heaping tablespoon of brown sugar and stir well to dissolve it.  

Next I’ll add the juice of one whole lime, one half at a time.  We need some more citrus to balance out that sweetness.

And here, I’ll add about 3 tablespoons of fish sauce.  Stir this very well.  It’s here that you will want to taste it.  It should have a nice balance between sweet, salty and sour as well as with spicy heat.  Here is where you will make any final corrections in flavor.  Add sugar, lime juice or fish sauce, depending on whether your dish needs more sweetness, acid (sour) or salt, respectively.

I like to add a cup or so of frozen peas and carrots.  This will be the last ingredient we will add while the dish is actively cooking.   Give it a good stir and let it simmer on very low heat for about 10 more minutes.

With 8 minutes left for my rice to cook, I shut off the heat on my curry sauce.

I have one final ingredient I will add to the curry after the stove is shut off.  These snow pea pods will cook using the left over residual heat from our gravy.

Snow peas added to our curry.

And our final stew ready to be served over rice.

This is my own dish with chopped cilantro leaves and sliced Thai red chili pepper added.  I add about 1/2-1 cup of gravy to each cup of cooked rice.

And the final dish after a good stir.  It’s ready to eat after a quick drizzle of additional fish sauce.

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as my family and I do!

Panang Curry Chicken (serves 5-6 as a main course)


  • 1.5 lbs chicken tenderloins cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Two 13.5 oz cans of premium quality coconut cream
  • 1.5-2 tablespoons brown sugar (to taste)
  • 1.5 cups frozen peas and carrots
  • 1.5 cups cut fresh snow pea pods
  • 2-4 tablespoons fish sause (to taste)
  • Juice of 1-2 limes (to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons of either prepackaged penang curry paste or use the below recipe

Panang Curry Paste

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tsp minced red onion
  • 1 large shallot
  • 2 lemon grass stalks pounded into paste
  • 1 tablespoon galangal (thai ginger) root pounded to paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grilled Thai shrimp paste
  • 2 tablespoons red chili powder or 4 fresh thai chilis pounded into paste
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin


  • Pound the Panang Curry paste ingredients in a mortar and pestle or use premade paste bought from an Asian grocer.
  • Begin cooking the rice you will serve with the dish.
  • Begin heating the oil in a pot
  • Fry the curry paste in the oil for about 90 seconds (it will be very fragrant)
  • Add both cans of coconut milk and whisk together well.
  • When red oil starts to appear on top of the coconut milk, add the chicken pieces and stir well.
  • Add brown sugar
  • Add lime juice
  • Add fish sauce
  • Stir well and taste.  Add any of the 3 condiments desired to fill in flavor gaps to personal taste.
  • Add the frozen vegetables and stir well.
  • Simmer on very low heat for about 10 more minutes.
  • Turn off heat.
  • Add the snow pea pods and stir well.  Allow the gravy to rest about 10 minutes.
  • Serve over steamed white rice (your preference here).





Thai Glass Noodle Salad

This is a cold dish that is remarkably simple to prepare but very high in flavor.  When I was a child in Thailand our maids used to make this all the time but the strong flavors didn’t appeal to me in my youth and sadly, I didn’t like it.  But the flavor was hard to forget and when I was reminiscing with my younger brother about the dishes we remembered most from Thailand, I remembered this one and got a strange craving for it.  After discussing this with our friend Tu (a former Thai restaurant owner) I came up with the recipe below which might not be exactly what our maids made, but the flavor sure is the same.  This is a very authentic Thai dish that can be eaten as a main course or as an appetizer with smaller portions.

Our first (and perhaps most important) ingredient is our glass noodles.

You can get these at almost any Asian market.  The ones I have here are made in Korea but they are almost always made with sweet potato starch, no matter the country of origin.  Cooking the noodles is simple.  Boil for 5 minutes, drain and then rinse with cold water.  I prefer to then soak them in an ice water bath to get them even colder.  I will use this whole 12 oz package.

Now for the meat you can cook your own.  If you do, you have to add in the time to chill your meat after it is coooked.  Here I am taking a shortcut and using frozen precooked salad shrimp.  So named because it’s usually used in shrimp salad 😉

I will use about a half pound of these thawed.  Toss these in with your chilled, cooked noodles.

Above are Japanese black sesame seeds used in making sushi.  Again, this will be sold by your local asian grocer.  I like these because they have a pleasant texture as well as a roasted sesame taste that ads character to our salad.  But these have to be roasted in a pan for about 5-6 minutes before being used to release that flavor.

You don’t need a lot of heat.  I am using my smallest burner here.

For the rest of the ingredients you will want cilantro (extremely important), Thai chili peppers, green onions, lime juice, fish sauce and some chopped nuts for texture as well as flavor (I prefer cashews).

Not shown are the thai chilis, julienned cucumber, edamame and cashew nuts.  But above we have our garlic, lime, scallions, cilantro and fish sauce.  I will sautee 2-3 minced cloves of garlic in 4 tablespoons of oil until golden.  Then take the oil and garlic off the heat and put into a cool ceramic bowl.  Mix in the juice of one or two lime wedges (to taste), 2-4 tablespoons of fish sauce (to taste),  and 2-8 thai chili peppers sliced thin (to taste) as well as 1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil and whisk together.  That will be our dressing.

Now if you are one of those people that simply cannot abide cilantro you can substiture parsley for it but it will drastically change the flavor profile of the dish.  I will mince up 1 dry measure cup of cilantro, 1/2 cup of scallions and toss these into the noodles.  Lastly I will toss in the dressing and cashews and then top with the roasted black sesame seeds.  In my plate below I also have edamame (soybeans) and some seaweed.  I have omitted the seaweed in my recipe below but you can use that if you can get your hands on some.

Two warnings I will give here.  One is if you decide to use commercial salad seaweed, they use dyes in that which can stain your glass noodles.  Especially if you chill your salad in the fridge for a while before eating it.  The other caution is if you store any left over portion overnight, the glass noodles will cloud over.  It won’t affect the flavor but your dish won’t have as pretty of a presentation.

This is a very strongly flavored salad with shrimp, cilantro, lime and fish sauce giving forward notes and finishing with the heat from the chilis.  Once you’ve had this dish for the first time, any time you remember it your mouth will curiously water, regardless of your fondness for it.  I am at a loss to explain why.  I truly disliked this dish as a child but as an adult, I get an awful craving for it sometimes.

Here is the recipe:

Thai Glass Noodle Salad (Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as an appetizer)


  • 12 oz package glass vermicelli noodles
  • 8 oz frozen mini precooked salad shrimp
  • 1/2 cup chopped cashews
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup green onions
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup shelled, cooked edamame beans (soybeans)
  • 1/2 cup julienned cucumber


  • 2-3 garlic cloves minced
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2-4 tablespoons fish sauce (to taste)
  • 2-10 Thai chili peppers thinly sliced (to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  • Juice of 1-3 lime wedges (to taste)


  • Thaw the frozen shrimp for 1-2 hours before starting.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles for 5 minutes.
  • While the noodles are cooking, sautee the minced garlic in the oil in a separate pan until golden.  Remove the oil and garlic to a bowl and whisk in the fish sauce, chili peppers, lime juice and sesame oil.  This is our dressing
  • Drain the noodles and rinse well with cold water.
  • Roast the black sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium heat for 5-6 minutes until fragrant.
  • Toss the noodles with the shrimp, cucumber, cashews, cilantro, soybeans and scallions.
  • Drizzle the dressing over the noodles and toss well.
  • Serve in salad bowls and sprinkle with sesame seeds.



Thai Pork Fried Rice

Getting back to the Asian recipes, I am going to show how I make my fried rice.  There are at least a dozen times as many varieties of fried rice as there are countries that make it.  And they all taste very differently from one another and yet there some techniques to cooking that are common to all of them.  The dish I am going to share today is Pork Fried Rice cooked the way it might be in Thailand.  I say might because there are so many ways this dish can be prepared even with that title.  As Chinese Pork Fried Rice is the pork fried rice dish most people are familiar with, it is the one most people use as a reference and indeed will compare this one to.  There will be differences between Chinese pork fried rice and Thai – one big one being the pork is often dyed red and sliced differently in China.  The other being that very fragrant and flavorful Thai basil is present in the Thai version.

The preparation actually starts a day in advance.  I will cook 2 dry measure cups of Jasmine rice in my rice cooker and then allow it to cool, covered.  After that, put it in the refrigerator overnight.  The following day, I will take the rice out, wet my hands and break up the clumps into individual grains of rice.  I choose Jasmine because Japanese rice is a poor choice as it sticks together readily even the next day.  If you go to a Japanese restaurant and you sit at the Hibachi grill, next time you are there look at the rice they give people when they ask for steamed.  It’s probably Nishiki or Calrose medium grain (both low cost Japanese style rices).  But when the chef starts to fry the rice on the grill after he does his egg trick, you will note he has long grain rice he dumps out on the heated surface.  In most of these restaurant they use previously parboiled rice because it separates very easily and they don’t have to mess with the rice as much by hand.  That’s right.  Your favorite Japanese Hibachi joint makes your fried rice with Minute Rice!


Above I have my ingredients, minus the oil, Chinese white pepper and the eggs.  Starting from the rice and working clockwise in a spiral we have precooked, chilled Jasmine rice, my fried rice sauce (recipe below), shrimp powder, chopped red spanish onion, minced garlic, mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, lima beans, corn and green beans), diced pork (butterfly pork chops cut into bite sized pieces), Thai basil and snow pea pods in the center.

Like most dishes I start by firing up my burner and heating up my wok.  I put the burner at about 60% as ultra high heat is not needed here and may even burn the rice.  So for those of you that don’t have wok burners – you can make this dish taste just as good on an indoor stove.   For this recipe I use my 18″ Cantonese wok as this makes a lot of food.   When the oil starts to shimmer with heat, we put in the beaten eggs.


Scramble the eggs just until they are no longer runny and add the pork.


We want to cook the pork until it is white all over.


Add the garlic and onions and stir fry until fragrant.  Even on lower heat, the wok gets very hot as low heat on this burner is still 50,000 BTU.  Lots of steam.


After the pork is cooked, add all the vegetables except the snow pea pods and Thai basil and stir.


I add the snow peas and stir these in.  You want them coated lightly with oil.  The trick here is to flash cook everything.  That is – the outside of the vegetable pieces cook and the inside are still a little raw and full of vitamins.  You want that crispness and fresh flavor.


Now for the most savory ingredient in this dish and one that will clearly distinguish this as being Thai – the Thai basil.  You want to cook this until the basil is wilted before adding the rice.


Add the rice and mix well.  Now the rice frying begins in earnest.  You want to stir well but don’t overdo it or you will break too many of the grains.  You want the rice to mix with what little oil may be left.  At this point I add a teaspoon of dried shrimp powder and 1/2 teaspoon of ground Chinese white pepper sprinkled over the top.


After the rice has cooked maybe 5-6 minutes I like to add my fried rice sauce.  I will pour in a spiral and use maybe 3/4 cup to 1 cup.  You do not want ANY loose liquid pooling.  Everything you pour in should be absorbed by the rice with a quick stir.


Now it looks like a fried rice, doesn’t it?  The sauce gives the rice its tan color which is really a trademark of fried rice in any Asian country.  At this point it’s done and ready to be served.  I like to take it out of the wok and put in a large bowl to serve from.


For most people this meal would be ready to eat.  And for the rest of my family, it was and their the plates looked like the above.  But for me – it needs three more things to be truly Thai.


A fried egg on top is a signature Thai move.  You want to fry at high heat so the whites get a little crispy around the edges and the yolk inside still crawls over the rice when the skin is broken.


Lastly I sprinkle some cilantro over the top and then spoon some Prik Nam Pla over the meal to season it as desired.  I like a lot of hot pepper but adding the things that make me happy occur after it is done is fine and does not lessen the enjoyment of the other diners of this dish.  One thing that differs greatly between countries own fried rice dishes will be the composition of the fried rice sauce.  So you can make this, the recipe is below.

Thai Pork Fried Rice (serves 4-6 as a main dish):

  • 4-5 Tbs peanut oil
  • Day old cooked rice made from 2 cups of uncooked Jasmine rice.
  • 3/4 lb butterfly pork chops cut into bite sized chunks.
  • Two eggs beaten.
  • 1 cup Thai basil
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, beans)
  • 1 cup snow pea pods
  • One medium onion chopped (you can substitute 4 scallions chopped if desired)
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tsp dried shrimp powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground white Chinese pepper

Sauce ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs sweet soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs Golden Mountain sauce
  • 1 Tbs soy sauce
  • 3 Tbs Fish sauce
  • 4 Tbs oyster sauce
  • 2 Tbs white or rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbs corn starch
  • 2 Tbs water


  • Heat oil in a wok or large flat bottom pan until the oil is hot.
  • Add the beaten eggs and scramble.
  • Add the pork and stir fry until the pieces are opaque.
  • Stir in the onion and garlic.
  • Add the mixed vegetables and stir well.
  • Stir in the Thai basil and sweat the leaves until they wilt and shrink up.
  • Stir in the snow pea pods to coat with oil.
  • Add the rice and mix well.  You will want to fry this for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally.  You want the rice to cook in the oil some.
  • In a spiralling motion twirling in, pour some of the fried rice sauce over the rice and stir.  Add more if all the rice kernels don’t get that beige color.
  • Sprinkle the shrimp powder (if using) and the Chinese pepper over the rice and give one more stir.
  • Remove from heat and put into a large serving bowl.
  • Garnish plates with cilantro, sliced cucumber and tomato wedges.
  • Add an over easy-medium fried egg on top of each dish if desired.
  • Serve with Nam Pla Prik.

This is one of those dishes that got its start with people wondering what to do with leftover rice.  The cult just grew from there.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I.


Prik Nam Pla

I thought I would add this recipe here for Prik Nam Pla since I will reference it frequently when I talk about serving Thai dishes.  To a Thai person, this condiment is like salt and pepper is here in the U.S. and is found on just about every Thai table.  Prik Nam Pla literally translated means spicy-hot fish water.  And even Thai households will have this sauce readily available at every meal to be spooned over a dish to add spice and saltiness.  It’s not just something you will find in restaurants.  This is very easy to make and keeps in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.  I have been known to keep it longer but it will lose heat if kept past that.  You will need at least 3 ingredients, 4-5 with the optionals.

Nam Pla Prik (Makes about 1 cup)


  • 1 garlic clove (optional)
  • 3 garlic (chinese) chive flower stalks.
  • 1-2 lime wedges (to taste)
  • Thai Chili peppers (as many as desired – to taste)
  • 1 Red Savina Habanero pepper (optional if you want it REALLY hot).
  • 1/2 cup of a good quality Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce.


You want the ingredients to be as fresh as possible though if you look closely at the picture above, you will see frost on my Thai chilis.  Yes, they were previously frozen so I cheated here.  I grow them all summer long (I’ll discuss that in another post) and freeze them for the winter.  I have a fresh Red Savina Habanero above as well (I do not recommend that unless you have an asbestos palette like I do – a result of having spent my childhood in Thailand).


  • Mince one garlic clove well.  Add to the jar or container that can hold 1 cup in volume.
  • Slice the garlic chives into 1/8″ slices.
  • Slice the peppers into 1/8-1/4″ sections depending on personal taste.  I like 1/8″ myself.  If you decide to add a habanero as I did, mince that well too.  Add to the jar with the garlic.


  • Squeeze as many lime wedges as desired (I prefer one wedge but some may want more citrus in their sauce).


  • Fill the rest of the way with the fish sauce and gently stir well.

I like to chill mine in the fridge for an hour to give the flavors some time to meld.


And below is a batch I made that has minced garlic chive flower stalks in it.  I’ve added that to my recipe here because I always make it like this way now because it drastically improves the flavor after it sits for 3-4 days..

And there you have it.  Over time you will probably make adjustments to your own recipe until you have it the way you like it.  This will be called for to be served with almost all recipes I provide here.



Drunken Noodle

Drunken noodle is a dish popular in Thailand and there are a few stories floating around about how it got its name.  One is that a man came home knee-walking drunk every night to his wife and she would always have a meal ready for him when he arrived (she must not have had a rolling pin).  In any event, he complained to her that her dishes were boring and needed more excitement (again, where in blazes is that rolling pin??).  So the next night, she cooked him a fine meal complete with savory spices, sauces herbs and meats that made him swoon with gratitude.  He ran through the streets drunk, singing her praises after eating it.  Another story says the meal was created because it’s good for a hangover.  This one sounds more plausible for me for two reasons.  One – the dish includes a healthy portion of scrambled eggs (great for a hangover) and two – the Thai name for this dish is khee mao which translated literally means shit drunk as in the description of the diner.

For us here in the states, most of us get introduced to this dish when we see it on the menu in a local Thai restaurant and ask the wait staff to tell us more about it.  It is a dish of no small fame back in Siam and Thai waiters will not stop short of issuing their exuberant praises for it, making the average American diner jump at the chance to try some.  It is worth mentioning that celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis listed Drunken Noodles as her favorite meal on The Best Thing I Ever Ate television show in the “With Chopsticks” episode in season 4 on Food Network.

Drunken Noodle is a stir fried noodle dish influenced by Chinese people living in Thailand (as evidenced by the use of Chow Fun style noodles in the dish).  Below are the two kinds of noodles used in Drunken Noodle.  On the right are 1/2″ wide rice noodles made in Thailand and Vietnam.  On the left (and on the plate so you can see them more clearly) are the Chow Fun noodles which I mix in.


My own journey of discovery with this dish starts with my wife always asking for it when we’d go to a local Thai hangout.  It is her favorite dish and she is not unique among my friends in that regard.  My younger brother Rick also claims this dish as his favorite and started experimenting with trying to produce the sauce that makes this dish so special.  After weeks of exasperation and trial and error he came up with a recipe he said was spot-on.  And when I made the dish for the SECOND time, I had to agree.

Don’t ask about the first time.  I’d like to forget that ever happened.

Anyway, Drunken Noodle can be made indoors on a stove but you will not get that same flavor you do when eating it in a Thai restaurant.  You need extreme heat and wok hei or breath of the dragon.  That hint of flame broiled flavor you get when the food gets seared on the outer surface by temperatures in excess of 600 degrees F.  I will show you how I make it here and include the recipe at the bottom.  I never share recipes on my Facebook page but here in my blog I will share them all with my readers.

Before cooking any Asian dish in a wok at very high heat you want everything prepped and by your side.  You don’t even want to be preheating the wok at this point.  Because if you walk away from your food in the wok to get the dish of minced garlic you left by the sink you WILL burn your dish.  If you have the heat level where it should be, this is a certainty (600+ degrees F in the pan).


So here I have my ingredients laid out clockwise (spiraling in) starting with the oil:
Peanut oil, beaten eggs, Scallions, minced garlic, chinese white pepper, mixed blanched rice stick noodles (square and long), thinly sliced chicken tenderloins, Drunken Noodle sauce (recipe developed by the labor of my younger brother Rick), baby bok choi, Thai basil, and Chinese chives.


For the sauce, the ingredients are: (from left to right) mirin (rice vinegar), sweet soy sauce, black soy sauce, normal soy sauce, very high quality fish sauce (blue label bottle in back), oyster sauce, golden mountain sauce, corn starch and brown sugar down in front.  I didn’t show water as you can come by that rather easily.  I’ll have the proportions below in the recipe.  You should be able to find most of these products at any large Asian grocer.

The first thing I do is fire up the burner.  Now while you don’t have to have a strong burner to make this dish, I highly recommend it.  There are plenty of 150,000+ BTU burners available online for less than $100 – some that go up to 220,000 BTUs.  I can provide links in comments if anyone desires.


After the burner is lit and turned up all the way, I like to put the wok on and let that sit for about 15-20 seconds.  Let it get very hot.  Then I add the cold oil which heats up fast.  Wait until you start seeing a little smoke around the edges.


I start with the Chinese chives.  An aromatic vegetable that tends to stink of sulphur when you first chop it up but then mellows so a savory shallot-like garlicky spice as soon as it hits the hot oil.  At this stage it starts to smell wonderful.  But you haven’t seen anything yet!


I like to scramble the eggs next.  These will get mixed in with the other ingredients well but I actually like them with some brown around the edges.  The sauce will soften them up later so they aren’t dry and that browning improves the flavor!


After the eggs are no longer runny add the chicken (or whatever meat you intend to use).  Stir quickly because it will burn if you let it sit.  See the eggs getting a little brown there?  We want that!


My chicken is almost done.  It’s at this stage that I add my minced garlic and a minced fresh Thai chili pepper and stir those in.  Now the aromas are really getting alluring.  Your guests don’t get to have this olfactory vantage point – this is one of your rewards for being the chef.


I’ve added the Thai (or Holy) basil along with my chopped baby bok choy and scallions.  You want to stir that and sweat these leaves until they shrink up and get a coating of oil.


Our main ingredient gets added here.  Stir this around and then let it sit until the noodles start to sear on the bottom for about 30 seconds – you want it to sear.  Then pour on enough of the sauce to just coat everything.  Too much and the dish will get soupy.  Too little and the noodles will clump together.  I suggest adding a little at a time and stirring until you get all the noodles a nice cafe brown color.  Once the sauce is well stirred in, we are almost done.  This is when I like to tilt the wok into the flames of the fire with my spatula holding the food in the wok.  You don’t have to tilt the wok very far but you want the flames to lick some of the food.  Do this 3-4 times, putting the wok back on the fire level and stirring between to get that wok hei on a good amount of the noodles.


Here is the dish plated.   My wife absolutely loves this dish and I love the complements after dinner.  While not my favorite, it does rank very high among my most wished for Thai meals.  This recipe and methodology will produce Drunken noodle nearly exactly like what you would get in a Thai restaurant (they might use different veggies).   Below is the recipe I have shared for the first time with the public (with strong influence from my brother):

Drunken Noodle (Serves 4-6)


  • 1 lb of Chicken tenderloins sliced thinly
  • 1 Fourteen ounce package 1/4 to 1/2″ wide rice noodles
  • 1/3 of an 8 oz package of Chow fun noodle squares
  • 1 1/2 cup Holy or Thai basil
  • 2 cups chopped Bok Choy
  • 3 Eggs beaten
  • 1/2 cup Scallions cut diagonally into 1″ sections
  • 1/4 cup chopped Chinese chives and their flower buds (1/2″ pieces)
  • 3 Tbs minced fresh garlic
  • 1 Thai red chili pepper minced (optional)
  • 4 Tbs peanut oil
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese white pepper

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 4 Tbs soy sauce
  • 3 Tbs fish sauce
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbs sweet soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs black soy
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbs Golden Mountain sauce
  • 3 Tbs corn starch


  • Mix all sauce ingredients in a bowl and blend well to dissolve the sugar. Set aside.
  • Bring a pot of water (about 4-6 quarts) to a boil.  Put all rice noodles in the water and cook for 90 seconds. Remove from heat and drain.  Rinse well with cold water and set aside.
  • Gather all ingredients and bring to the burner and wok.
  • Heat the oil in the wok for about 20 seconds.  Add the Chinese chives and stir for about 10 seconds.
  • Add the beaten eggs and scramble gently until eggs are no longer runny (about 10-15 seconds).
  • Add the chicken and stir fry until the meat is opaque and no pink is seen.
  • Add the garlic and hot pepper (if using). and stir in.
  • Add the remaining greens (scallions, Bok Choy and Basil) and stir until they sweat and shrink down in volume. You may need to add a little more oil depending on how quickly the vegetables are cooking down.  If so you may add another Tbs of peanut oil   If you do, move the food way from the center of the wok and drop the oil there.  You want it hot immediately.
  • Add the previously blanched noodles and stir in well.  Let the food sear for about 30 seconds.
  • Stir the sauce well and begin adding a little at a time and keep stirring.  Do this until all the noodles are light brown in color but do not add more than that.  You do not want loose sauce pooling in the wok.
  • You may need help with this next step.  Tilt the wok edge into the fire, letting the flames lick up into the food for about 10 full seconds.  You may need someone to hold the food in with one or more spatulas.  Then put the wok back on the flame and stir well.  Repeat the tilting and burning 3 more times and then take the wok off the heat.

Serve immediately with nam pla prik  or dried hot pepper powder.  Enjoy!

I hope you relish this dish as much my family and I do.