A friend of mine, let's call him Patrick, suggested I make drunken noodles. I was unfamiliar with this concoction when he first made the suggestion, but after a little research, I decided he has right. Drunken noodles, or pad kee mao, were created by Chinese living in Laos and Thailand. There are several theories about the origin of the name.
I combined two recipes for my vegetarian version. One recipe came from food.com, and the other came from a blogger with the pseudonym Average Betty. The ingredients are 8 ounces flat rice noodles, 4 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 3 tablespoons coconut oil (any oil would work), 3 teaspoons minced garlic, 1 cup cubed extra firm tofu, 1 teaspoon red chili flakes, 1 1/2 cups thinly cut broccoli, 1 small onion, 1/2 medium tomato, and 1 cup basil. Both authors suggested Thai basil, but, alas, I could not find it.
You begin by soaking your rice noodles in warm water for 15 minutes. You should have a pot of water boiling in anticipation because you need to boil the noodles for one minute after soaking. These are finicky noodles.
While the noodles are soaking, combine the soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, and brown sugar. This resplendent bottle contains oyster sauce. Oyster sauce is a viscous liquid made from sugar, cornstarch, oyster extract, and water. The creation of oyster sauce is credited to Lee Kam Shueng from Guangdong province. Way to go Guangdong!
Put the sauces aside and fry the tofu bits in oil. They should be fried until they turn a golden brown.
I removed the crisped tofu and fried the garlic in the remaining oil. I can't make up my mind if this picture is in focus or not.
I added the red pepper flakes and onions with the garlic and sautéed for 2 to 3 minutes.
I then added the vegetables. What bright colors! Stir-fry this for 3 to 5 minutes.
I added the noodles once the vegetables had begun to soften. My one complaint about this dish is the noodles. They were over cooked and too mushy for my taste. I don't know for sure, but maybe they didn't need to be boiled at all.
I added my slurry of sauces with the slightly mushy rice noodles.
I stirred this around and continued to heat for a minute or two before adding the basil and tofu. I continued to stir fry until everything was warm.
You can see the steam rising up. In some of my photos it fogged up my camera lens. I don't think food blogging is good for the longevity of cameras.
This was a little spicy, savory, and very enticing. It's definitely one of my favorite dishes so far. It is something I would order at a restaurant but never think of making at home. Good suggestion Patrick!