Pad Kee Mao Gai (Thai Drunken Noodles with Chicken)

Close up top view of plate with stir-fried fresh flat wide rice noodles dish with chicken and holy basil.

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Pad Kee Mao Gai is a spicy rice noodles stir-fry with peppery Thai holy basil and chicken. It’s easy to make in less than 30 minutes, and full of the BEST garlicky and chili flavors!



For the Chicken Marinade:

  • 250 grams (about 89 ounces) Chicken Thighs, boneless, skinless – cleaned and pat-dried, excess fat trimmed, and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 TSP Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 TSP Fish Sauce
  • ¼ TSP ground White Pepper

For the Sauce:

  • 3 TBLS Oyster Sauce
  • 1 TBLS Light Soy Sauce
  • ½ TBLS Sweet Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1 TSP White Sugar
  • 1 TBLS Water (or chicken broth)

For the Pad Kee Mao Gai:

  • 67 Garlic cloves – roughly chopped
  • 510 Red Chilies (Bird’s eye preferred, but Holland or any other small hot chilies will work), to taste – cut into halves or thirds depending on length
  • 48 Green Chilies (Bird’s eye and Prik Kee Nu chilies preferred, but Holland or any other small hot chilies will work), to taste – cut into halves or thirds depending on length
  • 1 Large Red Chili – deseeded if desired and thinly sliced at an angle
  • ½ Yellow Onion – sliced into ¼-inch thick pieces
  • 34 pieces Chinese Broccoli (or any other Asian greens such as bok choy, choy sum) – stems thinly sliced at an angle, leafy parts cut into rough chunks
  • 3 pieces Baby Corn – cut in half lengthwise, and then again widthwise
  • 3 sprigs Young Green Peppercorn (optional) – washed and pat-dried
  • 1.5 cups Thai Holy Basil Leaves (substitute with Italian basil or Thai sweet basil if unavailable) – washed and dried
  • 300 grams Fresh Flat Wide Rice Noodles (pre-cut, or cut noodle sheets into 1 to 1 & 1/4-inch wide strands)
  • 2 TBLS Canola Oil (or any other neutral flavored cooking oil with a high smoke point)
  • To Serve (optional): Thai chili powder, fish sauce with chopped chilies



  1. Marinate the chicken: Clean and trim off any excess fat from the chicken thighs, then cut into a bite-sized pieces. Combine the chicken, light soy sauce, fish sauce, and ground white pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Mix with a spoon until combined well, then set aside.
  2. Prepare all the fresh ingredients: Roughly chop the garlic and red and green chilies. Add to a mortar and pestle and smash into a coarse paste. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Slice the large red chili, yellow onion, Chinese broccoli, and baby corn as indicated in the “Ingredients’ section. Wash and pat-dry the young green peppercorn sprigs. Pick the holy basil leaves off the stems, then wash and dry them with paper towels. If using noodle sheets and not pre-cut noodles, cut 1 to 1 & 1/4-inch wide noodle strands from the sheets. Set everything aside.
  3. Make the sauce: Combine the oyster sauce, light soy sauce, sweet dark soy sauce, white sugar, and water in a measuring cup or bowl. Mix until evenly combined, then set aside.

For the Pad Kee Mao Gai:

  1. Cook the chicken: Heat the canola oil in a large wok over high heat. Once hot, add the chicken and cook for 1-2 minutes, until no longer pink and the pieces start to brown.
  2. Cook onion, garlic chili paste, and large red chili: Add the onion and cook for 30 seconds. Then add the smashed garlic chili paste and large red chili slices. Stir-fry for 30 seconds to combine. (Note: Open a window or turn on the exhaust fan if needed. Frying garlic and chilies in hot oil can be smoky and pungent business.)
  3. Add the veggies and green peppercorn: Add the Chinese broccoli, baby corn, and young green peppercorn sprigs. Toss to combine.
  4. Add noodles and sauce: Add the noodles and pour the sauce on top. Stir-fry until everything is evenly combined and coated well in the sauce.
  5. Toss through holy basil: Add the holy basil leaves and toss for 20 seconds until just wilted, then switch off the heat.
  6. To Serve: Divide evenly onto plates. Serve immediately with Thai chili powder and fish sauce with chopped chilies on the side if desired.



Ingredient Notes, Cook’s Tips, and FAQs

  1. Chicken: Boneless and skinless chicken breasts can be used instead.
  2. Chilies: Use as many or as few hot Bird’s eye and Prik Kee Nu chilies as you like depending on your heat level preference. The large red chili is mild and mainly for color, not heat.
  3. Young Green Peppercorn: This tastes similar to black peppercorns and add a peppery pop of flavor to the dish. They’re optional, but you can find them at a Thai grocery store if there’s one near you.
  4. Fresh Flat Wide Rice Noodles: Try to find these at an Asian grocery store or fresh noodles shop if there is one where you’re located. You can purchase them pre-cut, or as noodle sheets from which you can cut your own noodle strands from.
  5. Warm the fresh flat wide rice noodles or noodle sheets in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. It’ll make them more pliable and easier to separate (and cut if not already pre-cut) if they’ve clumped up together from being in the fridge.
  6. Can I use dried wide rice noodles or other types of noodles? You can use 150 grams (approximately 5.3 ounces) of dried wide rice noodle sticks or even egg noodles in a pinch. Prepare them according to package instructions, then toss with a bit of oil to prevent them from sticking to each other after draining (if your package instructions required cooking in hot or boiling water). If your package instructions required soaking the noodles in room temperature or warm water, you don’t need to toss the noodles with oil. Alternatively, you can use cooked spaghetti like I do in my Thai Basil Chicken Spaghetti
  7. Can I make this vegetarian/vegan? Use a vegetarian mushroom flavored oyster sauce, and make it with crispy pan-fried tofu cubes instead of chicken. Omit the chicken marinade ingredients and season the tofu with salt and pepper instead. Pan-fry in a bit of oil for about 10-12 minutes, or until crisp and browned on all sides. Transfer to a plate, then follow steps 2-6 to make the Pad Kee Mao. Add the tofu cubes back into the wok after adding and tossing the veggies and green peppercorn sprigs in step 3. You can also add additional veggies like thinly sliced bell peppers or carrots to this dish if desired.
  8. Can I make this with pork, beef, or seafood? Thinly sliced pork scotch fillet, tenderloin, skinless pork belly, beef sirloin, or flank steak will all work well. You could also use shrimp or other seafood. Skip marinating the pork, beef, or seafood though, and add 1/2 tablespoon of fish sauce to the Pad Kee Mao Sauce. You’ll need 250 grams (8-9 ounces) of whichever protein you choose.
  9. Can I make this gluten-free? Use a gluten-free oyster sauce, gluten-free light soy sauce, and a gluten-free sweet dark soy sauce such as this gluten-free kecap manis. Also, make sure that the fish sauce you’re using is GF certified.
  10. Can I make this ahead? These noodles taste best when eaten immediately after cooking. I don’t recommend making it ahead as the noodles will continue to absorb the sauce after cooking, and they may become too dry.


Keywords: pad kee mao, drunken noodles, pad kee mao gai, drunken noodles with chicken