People have weird pet names for each other and Patrick and I are no exception. I started calling him noodle, he started calling me noodle back, and now we are even called “the Noodles” by some of our friends. We also both enjoy adult beverages every now and then, sometimes even more than the occasion calls for. So of course a few years ago when I went to Thai Wasabi in Lexington for the first time and saw an entree called Drunk Noodles I just had to order it. There’s a cute little story about how the dish came to be called drunk noodles. It became an instant favorite of mine and until recently I was perfectly content eating it out at my favorite Thai places (Mai Thai and Thai Wasabi if you’re local) until my cravings for it got to be a little too frequent. When I got a new job and was no longer less than a mile from Mai Thai for takeout lunches, I knew it was time to try my hand at making it at home.
Research online as to what’s in the chili-flecked, spicy brown sauce that made the entire dish what it was led me to the Asian Market where I found a key ingredient- oyster sauce- in its vegetarian form and got to working on creating an accessible and authentic (enough) recipe that tastes similar to the ones I love so much.
For the sauce:
- 1 tablespoon chili garlic (more if you like it REALLY SPICY and less according to your heat tolerance)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/2 cup vegetarian oyster sauce
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
For the dish:
- 12 oz. of noodles- either wide egg noodles, or a wide rice noodle to be more authentic
- garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 of a medium onion, roughly chopped
- approx. 1-1.5 cup of a variety vegetables, roughly chopped (if needed) your choice: red bell pepper, baby corn, snow peas, broccoli florets, cherry tomato halves, zucchini, carrots
- 2 scallions diced
- Thai basil (to be authentic but I used sweet basil in a pinch), cut into ribbons
- 1 package firm tofu (optional), cubed and pan fried like this
- Whisk together the sauce ingredients. Taste and adjust as needed.
- Follow package directions to cook or soak noodles. Drain and set aside.
- Heat oil to medium heat in a large skillet or wok. Saute the garlic until it browns but doesn’t burn.
- Turn the heat up to medium high and add the onions and saute an additional three minutes or until onions turn translucent.
- Add the remainder of the vegetables, sauteing and stirring often as they brown.
- Once the vegetables are brown, add the cooked noodles and the sauce. Add pan fried tofu, if using.