Ironically, ever since moving to the Midwest, I’ve been cooking Asian-inspired food almost non-stop. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m missing my old corner Thai joint where I could get a giant plate of pad kee mo for less than $7 bucks; or just missing California in general.
I tend to wrestle with the authentic or not conversation a lot in my own head. Growing up on the east coast, with Danish and Italian parents, I wasn’t privy to many Thai meals. However, ever since moving westward, I’ve made up for those missing years by craving- and eating- spicy Thai (& Indian & Vietnamese) every chance I get.
My palate has been refined on restaurant meals, which I’m sure put their own Americanized spin on the dishes I love. I imagine it’s the similar feeling I get when dining at most Italian restaurants; the food is wonderful, but it’s not the cuisine I grew up on.
So, are these Drunken Noodles authentic? I have no idea. Is it delicious? You bet.
My goal here was easy. Since Thai is my take-out of choice, I wanted something that I could throw together in almost as much time as it used to take me to run down the street and place my order.
The vegetables here are a mere suggestion, I used peppers and cabbage to add bulk to the dish, creating a more nutrient dense approach to the noodle-fest. Like most things, use what you’ve got. I think baby corn, broccoli and/or shredded carrots would also be a nice, colorful touch.
Easy in the title also refers to the ingredient list; you should be able to find all of the ingredients at your local, well-stocked grocery store. Even to someone who loves hiking across town to the International food market, I appreciate when I don’t have to make any special trips for dinner. Of course, I think this recipe is better with Thai basil over regular basil, but the traditional kind will do in a pinch.
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 3 tbsp. lime juice
- 1 tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons sriracha
- 8 ounces rice noodles
- 3 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided
- 1 package extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 cups shredded green cabbage
- 1 small jalapeno, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 scallions, sliced into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup roughly chopped Thai basil leaves (or regular basil will work in a pinch, but it doesn't have the same flavor)
- Lime wedges for serving
- Whisk together soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and sriracha in a bowl.
- Prepare the noodles according to package directions (usually soaking in hot water until al dente).
- Heat 1 teaspoon sesame oil in a large wok or pan and add the crumbled tofu. Lightly fry until just cooked through, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
- Remove the tofu and add the remaining 2 teaspoons sesame oil. Add the onion, cabbage, peppers, garlic and scallions to the pan; stir-fry 2 minutes.
- Add the prepared noodles and sauce. Toss well and stir fry for another 2 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the noodles are hot.
- Stir in the basil leaves. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing.