Adapted from Food & Wine: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/drunken-noodles
It’s a Chinese tradition that noodles should be eaten on your birthday. For the most part, noodles are long and continuous and the noodles are meant to represent the longevity of your life; the longer the noodles, the longer your life will be. I’m 1/8th Chinese (I know, huge) and this has been a tradition in my family for as long as I can remember.
Personally, I like the tradition because it’s an excuse to have a plate full of carbs.
Today is my birthday and I was going to make one of my favorite noodle dishes of all time: pad Thai. I love it so much that I even order it at hole-in-the-wall take-out Chinese restaurants that have no business selling pad Thai. Turns out I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand, so I made Drunken Noodles, which is like pad Thai’s wild, spicy, should-have-stopped-after-the-second-drink cousin.
This is definitely a recipe where you want all the ingredients prepped because once that pan is hot and ready you are good to go. Everything comes along so quickly and before you know it, you’re plating the noodles. Or eating them out of the pan, which is one of my favorite things to do. It’s one less thing to wash, right?
I left the ribs and some seeds in the peppers for a little extra heat. And whoa, was it was spicy. I also forgot to add the ½ teaspoon of sugar this time around, but it was totally fine without it.
Drunken noodles got its name because it’s apparently really good hangover food. I can see why. Though I’m not currently hungover, the rice noodles would serve as a good way to soak up all that alcohol and the spiciness will wake you up and make you concentrate on the heat instead of your pounding head and promises to never drink again (until next weekend). No judgment here. I’ve been there countless times.
And I won’t judge you for cleaning your plate (or pan). Drunken noodles will definitely get you top honors in the Clean Plate Club. It’s so incredibly good and the perfect noodle dish to have on your birthday.
- Grapeseed oil
- 7 ounces firm tofu, cubed and dried
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Asian fish sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons roasted red chile paste, or garlic chile garlic sauce. (Use 1 teaspoon for a mildly spicy flavor.)
- 1 teaspoon black soy sauce or 3/4 teaspoon soy sauce sweetened with 1/4 teaspoon molasses
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar, optional
- 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
- 1/2 large jalapeño, seeded and sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 red Thai bird chile, or cayenne or serrano chile, minced
- 1/2 pound pad Thai rice noodles, cooked (*see note below)
- 1 cup Thai basil leaves, plus more for serving
- Lime wedges, for serving
- Fill a large pot with water. Once boiling add a teaspoon of grapeseed oil. Remove the noodles from the bowl and add them to the pot of boiling water, discarding the cold water in the bowl. Boil for approximately 4-5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water. Add a teaspoon of grapeseed oil to the noodles so that they do not stick together, and set aside.
- While the noodles are soaking in the bowl, cut the tofu into cubes and place on a plate with several layers of paper towels. Place a few layers on top of the tofu and let sit until ready to use. You can also place a heavy pan on top of the tofu to remove all the excess water.
- In a nonstick skillet, heat 1/4 inch of oil. Add the tofu and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until crisp, 5 minutes. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
- In a bowl, whisk the chicken stock, oyster sauce, fish sauce, chile paste or chile garlic sauce, soy sauce and sugar, if using.
- In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the bell pepper, jalapeño, garlic and Thai chile and stir-fry over high heat until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the noodles and stir-fry until browned, 4 minutes. Add the sauce and toss over moderately high heat, until absorbed. Fold in 1 cup of basil and the tofu. Garnish with more basil and serve with lime wedges.