Drunken Noodles à la Heidi

Can I just point out that I’ve spent almost my entire pregnancy to date not posting recipes? Partly because I’ve had a lot of other stuff to talk about–all the fun details of housing a baby in your body for the first time. Partly because I’ve been low on energy and haven’t wanted to cook new recipes that require more thought and effort. Partly because this lack of energy causes the camera to get neglected even when I do make something new and exciting. And finally . . . because of the sickness.

But at last, I have something to share! I cooked this up near the beginning of my sickness, and it’s delicious. However, in a semi-tragic turn of events, the strong smells set me against Thai noodles from the night I made this until last week, and thus the drafted post for this recipe just sat in my blogging line-up, causing me to wrinkle my nose every time I looked at it.

However, based on my positive experience with Pad Thai last week, I’m now ready to look at this thing again without feeling the bile rise! So here goes.

My sister Heidi is a huge lover of Thai food. She experiments fearlessly and works at the recipe until it’s perfection. I had her curry during our Alaska visit last summer, and . . . oh wow. She’s got that figured out (though I have yet to get the recipe from her!).

According to her, this recipe for Drunken Noodles may not be at its peak of perfection . . . but knowing her, she will probably always strive to tweak it even further. But ignore her–I think it’s amazing! She relayed me the instructions over the phone, which I repeated back to her and then actually wrote down a few days later. Then, the next weekend, I made it. Oh baby oh. It’s definitely spicy, but not burn-a-hole-in-your-palate spicy, and the noodles are cooked to perfection using her instructions. My husband loved it, and I loved it . . . except for the whole being pregnant thing. I ate it the first night, and then couldn’t look at it again after that. But my husband appreciated having the leftovers all to himself, so it all worked out for the best.

Ingredients

(Serves 4)

2-3 TBS vegetable oil
1/3 cup water, optional
1/2 head of cauliflower
1 crown broccoli
2-3 carrots
3 jalapeño chilies
1 chicken breast
2 TBS chili garlic sauce
1/2 lb rice noodles
1 handful fresh Thai basil leaves

For the sauce:

1/3 cup light (low-sodium) soy sauce
1 TBS dark soy sauce
1/3 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1/3 cup sugar
1-2 TBS sriracha

Soak the rice noodles in warm water for 1 hour.

By the end, they should be pliable (they don’t snap when you bend them) but still firm and crunchy if you bite into them.

And yes, all of today’s pictures have a blue cast to them . . . oh well. Maybe there’s a way that I can blame pregnancy for that, too.

Slice the carrots thinly on the diagonal, and chop up the cauliflower and broccoli. Set these 3 veggies aside.

Slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces on the diagonal, and de-seed and mince the chilies. Place the chicken, chilies, and chili garlic sauce together in a bowl to marinate.

Rip the basil leaves off the stems, and glory in their smell. Heavenly.

Mix all the ingredients for the sauce. I will call this sauce . . . Blue Lagoon.

Make sure to use low-sodium soy sauce, or you’re in for a salty surprise! And not of the pleasant variety either.

Heat 1 TBS of vegetable oil in a wok over high heat. When shimmering, add the bowl of veggies.

Stir fry for 6 minutes, until crisp and browned. If they aren’t tender enough at this point (especially if you cut them in larger chunks like I did), add the 1/3 cup of water and simmer/boil over high heat for a few minutes, until the water has evaporated and the veggies are more softened.

There’s probably a word for this technique, but I don’t know what it is. I’ll call it “fryboil.”

Remove the fryboiled veggies.

Heat another tablespoon of oil in the wok and, when shimmering, add the chicken.

Let it sit and brown for about a minute before stirring. Stir fry the chicken for 6 minutes, or until cooked through. Keep that heat high, Mildred!

Add the noodles and stir fry them with the chicken for a few minutes.

Add the sauce.

Bring to a boil, stirring to mix it into the noodles.

Add the veggies back in . . .

. . . and stir fry everything together for a few minutes. You can use tongs to mix the noodles more easily.

Stir in the basil and serve!

Okay, these pictures aren’t at the top of my photographic “game”–but it’s so delicious that I hope you can see through the blue and through the dark into its inner core of tastiness.

Yum.

My husband was good enough to capture my reactions as I tasted this dish for the first time.

I love it! Thanks Heidi for verbally forcing me to make this.

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17 thoughts on “Drunken Noodles à la Heidi

  1. Suzie

    This looks so good. That chicken frying in the pan…it’d be picking pieces out and eating them! Glad you can eat this dish again. I can’t find rice noodles around here, and suggestions for a substitute or would it just not be the same?

    Reply
    1. Jenna Post author

      Hmmm–I think the rice noodles are pretty essential, but you could always try it with thin spaghetti? Just cook it about 4 minutes under al dente so that it finishes cooking in the sauce if you decide to give it a try.

      Reply
  2. Sara

    I have all the ingredients at home right now except for the oyster sauce and Thai basil. I will sub cilantro and add a bit more fish sauce and make this tonight! Your culinary expertise is trusted, even pregnant :)

    Reply
    1. Sara

      I did make it last night- tres YUM!!!! I liked the way the veggies were cooked (light lightly browned first) I’ve never done stir fry like that before. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

      Reply
      1. Jenna Post author

        Yay!!! I’m so glad you liked it–and Heidi will be happy to hear it too.

  3. Veronica

    I have to make this! And I actually have a basil plant so I’m super excited to use my fresh basil in it. It’s the only fresh herbs I’m growing right now. OK, so if there’s not alcohol in the recipe, why are these called “drunken” noodles? Loved the pics of you eating it–so cute!

    Reply
    1. Jenna Post author

      I have no idea why they’re called Drunken Noodles–I’ve wondered about that myself. Let me know if you find any answers!

      Reply
      1. Veronica

        I actually Googled it to see if that’s just the name or if the dish used to have alcohol. All the recipes I looked at had no alcohol but a couple of them said “drunken” refers to how much you have to drink to combat the spiciness of the dish. So there you go! I thought that was a great explanation. I did see a video where the guy used alcohol in the noodles but although he’s Asian, he’s not very traditional in the flavorings he uses in dishes so I think the answer I found on epicurious and another blog is the correct one. You gotta get “drunk” to put the fire out of your mouth after eating these. LOL!

  4. Joanne

    I vote you can blame just about anything on pregnancy…blue photos, blue skies, blue waters. It’s totally the baby’s fault!

    Oh thai noodles how I adore thee! TOTALLY NEED THESE.

    Reply
  5. giselle

    omg that looks AWESOME. I LOVE thai food. I need you to keep working on Heidi to get her curry recipe stat!

    And btw I LOVE the pictures of you! You’re so pretty in your beginning of pregnancy glow :)

    Reply
  6. Julia Menn

    I’ve always been wary of trying to make Thai food – it always just seems so daunting. But you laid this out really easily and I might actually try it!

    Reply

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