I thought Valentine’s Day was a great day to post about a spicy recipe. Outside of my family, the one thing I miss about both Cleveland and Indianapolis is drunken noodles. Mint Cafe in Cleveland and Siam Square in Indy are two of the best Thai restaurants I’ve tried. Basil in Charleston is OK (though their shrimp rolls are amazing) but I wasn’t too impressed with Taste of Thai. They actually tried to serve drunken noodles with Italian spaghetti noodles……..? Anyhoo, I’ve missed my favorite Thai dish (which, if you didn’t know, contains no alcohol but is named for how much liquid you must drink to overcome it’s spiciness) and decided to try my hand at making it myself.
The ingredients in the recipe I found are not all items you can find at your local grocery, but luckily most cities have Asian markets somewhere, and Charleston is no exception. My aunt also procured some ingredients for me from their Asian market near Charlotte, which had a much better selection of Thai chilies.
*Note regarding Thai chilies: The demonstration I found on YouTube showed a person preparing chilies that looked larger than what I had on hand. They were able to easily remove the seeds and white areas, which are known to carry the most heat. Mine were so skinny that this method seemed too difficult, so I skipped it and added the whole thing. I DO NOT recommend this unless you like your food VERY spicy. I normally order my drunken noodles with medium spiciness and even that is bordering on too spicy. I’m sure the batch I made would be considered the spiciest at most restaurants, although it seemed to lose a little bit of heat after being refrigerated and microwaved.
That being said, this dish was DELICIOUS and got rave reviews from all who ate it (while gulping down no small amount of cold beverage). The following recipe was found here (my comments in italics):
2 14-ounce packages 1/4-inch-wide flat rice noodles (This was entirely too many noodles. You can easily get away with 1 package.)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
12 garlic cloves, chopped (Yes, 12. I used the whole amount and have no regrets.)
1/4 cup chopped fresh Thai chiles (Preferably seeded!)
1 1/2 pounds ground chicken (I usually order with beef, but found that the ground chicken did a great job of soaking up flavor!)
1/4 cup fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc nam)
1/4 cup black soy sauce (My research indicated that there is an important difference between this and the traditional kind found in regular groceries.)
1/4 cup Golden Mountain sauce or light soy sauce (I used Golden Mountain.)
1 tablespoon sugar
4 large plum tomatoes, each cut into 6 wedges
4 Anaheim chiles or Italian frying peppers, or 2 green bell peppers (about 12 ounces total), cut into strips (I could not find Anaheim or Italian frying peppers but much prefer red and yellow over green bell peppers so I used one of each of those.)
1/2 cup fresh Thai basil leaves or regular basil leaves (I could not find Thai so I used at least 1/2 C regular and prepared them julienned [I ❤ basil].)
Cook noodles in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring frequently. Drain. (Be careful not to overcook and stir frequently to avoid clumping.)
Meanwhile, heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and Thai chiles; sauté 30 seconds. (I added the bell peppers with the chilies and garlic, as they seem to take longer to soften. ) Add chicken and next 4 ingredients and sauté until chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add noodles, tomatoes, and Anaheim chiles; toss to coat. Transfer to large platter, sprinkle with basil leaves, and serve.
This recipe made plenty of food, even with using half the noodles. This was so good I don’t even care about finding a great Thai place anymore!