Pad Kee Mao (ผัดขี้เมา) literally means "fried drunkard" but it's a delightfully flavorful Thai noodle dish loaded with a random assortment of vegetables and protein.
Pad Kee Mao, or

I love Thai food so much that I often wonder if I was Thai in a past life. I often joke about this, but according to my DNA ancestry, my maternal haplogroup F, is predominantly found in Thailand, so this actually may not be that far from the truth. Can DNA really influence flavor preferences?

While I have different favorites for different moods, this is a lunchtime staple in my house. The name Pad Kee Mao (ผัดขี้เมา) literally translates to “Fried Drunkard”, but rest assured there were no alcoholics harmed in making this dish. Nor does it include any alcohol (though that may not be a bad idea). In all likelihood the name, refers to the random assortment of ingredients that looks like it was assembled by a boozer, or perhaps the fact that it goes so well with a beer. Whatever the case, the dish is pretty versatile and a great way to clean up odds and ends in your fridge.

As the name sounds it’s not the most elegant dish, but its lack of refinement is what makes it so viscerally good. The seemingly random assortment of vegetables all contribute something to the dish whether it’s the crisp sweetness of the onions, the crunch of the baby corn, or the tangy juiciness of the tomatoes. The green peppercorns add a satisfying heat, while contributing to the herbaceas perfume of the Thai basil. Last, but not least, the noodles have an addictively chewy texture, absorbing the intensely savory and pleasantly sweet sauce like a thirsty sponge.

With loads of veggies and fragrant Thai basil, Pad Kee Mao is an easy, balanced weeknight meal.

I used chicken breast for this because that’s what I had on hand, but you could really make this with just about any protein including pork, beef, shrimp, tofu, or seitan. Regardless of what protein you choose, marinating it first with soy sauce and potato starch not only seasons it, it keeps the protein moist and tender by gelling the juices and preventing them from leaking out all over the pan.

The prep work does take a bit of time to get everything cut and ready, but this is important to do ahead of time. The stir-fry goes very fast and will burn if the next ingredient isn’t at the ready when you need it.

Pad Kee Mao (ผัดขี้เมา)Pad Kee Mao (ผัดขี้เมา) literally means “fried drunkard” but it’s a delightfully flavorful Thai noodle dish loaded with a random assortment of vegetables and protein.


  • CourseEntree
  • CuisineBest
  • Yield2 servings
  • Cooking Time5 minutes
  • Preperation Time10 minutes
  • Total Time15 minutes


150 grams
dry wide rice noodles (or 350 grams fresh, sen yai)
For chicken
200 grams
chicken breast (thinly sliced)
1 teaspoon
soy sauce
1 teaspoon
potato starch
For Pad Kee Mao sauce
1 tablespoon
fish sauce
1 tablespoon
oyster sauce
1 tablespoon
1 teaspoon
rice vinegar
For stir-fry
2 tablespoons
vegetable oil
18 grams
garlic (3 large cloves, finely minced)
2 medium
75 grams
onion (1/2 small , sliced)
70 grams
baby corn (5 ears, sliced in half at an angle)
50 grams
red bell pepper (1/2 small pepper, sliced)
30 grams
carrot ( 8 thin slices)
1 tablespoon
green peppercorns in brine
bird chillies (optional, finely minced)
70 grams
tomatoes (1/2 medium tomato, sliced)
20 grams
Thai basil* (leaves only)


  1. Rehydrate the noodles in room temperature water for 2 hours. You can also rehydrate them with boiling water in about 10 minutes but you'll need to stir them gently to keep them from sticking together.
  2. Mis en place for making pad kee mao, with re marinated chicken, thai basil, eggs, tomatoes, corn, red peppers, onions, green peppercorns, garlic and carrots.
    Add the chicken breast (or your choice of protein) to a bowl along with the soy sauce and then stir to combine. Add the potato starch and mix well to combine. Let this marinate while you prepare the other ingredients.
  3. Make the sauce by stirring together the fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and rice vinegar until combined.
  4. Stir-frying chicken for Pad Kee Mao recipe.
    Heat a frying pan or wok over medium-high heat until hot and then add 1 tablespoon of oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the chicken and spread it out in a single layer to let it brown on one side. Stir-fry until the chicken is cooked through and then transfer it to a clean bowl, leaving as much oil in the pan as possible.
  5. Add the garlic and fry until fragrant.
  6. Scrambling egg for making Pad Kee Mao.
    Add the eggs and then scramble.
  7. When the eggs are almost cooked, add another tablespoon of oil, along with the onion, baby corn, bell pepper, carrot and green peppercorns. Fry until the onions are translucent but still crisp.
  8. Noodles added for Pad Kee Mao.
    Add the rehydrated noodles and stir fry until the noodles take on some color.
  9. Making delicious Pad Kee Mao is easy.
    Add the sauce and stir-fry until the noodles are evenly coated and the liquid has been absorbed.
  10. The best Pad Kee Mao Recipe.
    Return the chicken to the pan and add the tomatoes and basil. Quickly stir-fry to reheat the chicken and wilt the basil.
  11. Serve immediately.


* It's worth noting that Pad Kee Mao is traditionally made with Holy Basil, which has a different fragrance from the purple Thai Basil I use, but Thai Basil is easier to find and I personally like the way it tastes better.