This Vegan Pad Kee Mao (Drunken Noodles) dish is a scrumptious and drool-worthy that will surely satisfy your take-out cravings! The recipe is easy, quick, and made using fresh homemade flat rice noodles.
What is your favorite Thai noodle dish? Pad Kee Mao is definitely at the top of my list especially the one from Chiangmai. I love the fragrant herb paired with charred noodles and sautéed in a delicious and flavorful sauce which makes me drool just thinking about it.
I shared this recipe on @woon.heng a couple of months ago and many readers asked if I could make a video on it. So, here you go and make this noodle dish today with the easy steps below.
How to make Pad Kee Mao
Step 1: Mix all the sauces together in a bowl and set aside until ready to use.
Step 2: Chop or pound garlic and chili into crumbles to release its flavor.
Step 3: Pan-fry tofu until golden brown, then push them to the side of the pan. Add a little more oil and sauté garlic and chili mix until fragrant.
Step 4: Add vegetables of choice and cook for a minute or two. My favorite vegetables to use are baby Gai Lan, broccolini, and today, I am using homegrown bok choy.
Step 5: Add the rice noodles and spread it out slightly on the pan and continue to add the sauce.
Step 6: Using a pair of tongs, toss noodles in sauce until all noodles are well-coated. Continue to cook for another 30 seconds to allow the noodles to absorb all the flavors. Taste test and season accordingly that is to add more vegan ‘fish’ sauce or stir fry sauce for more umami flavor or more soy sauce or salt for saltiness.
Step 7: Add the Thai Basil and give it another toss until all ingredients are well-combined.
Step 8: Serve warm with a side of chili flakes or vegan ‘fish’ sauce.
- Basil – Thai Basil is the reason why I love Pad Kee Mao so much! See substitution under the ‘Cooking Tips and Variations’ section below.
- Dark soy sauce is usually used for color and I used the thick version which is normally a bit sweeter compared to the thin ones. However, if you can’t find either, then you can skip this ingredient.
- Stir-Fry sauce is one of my go-to sauces to create that umami richness in a dish. Store-bought or homemade Stir Fry sauce works great in this dish.
- Light soy sauce is a type of soy sauce that is slightly salty with a touch of sweetness.
- Vegan ‘fish’ sauce is my favorite ingredient to use in a lot of my Vietnamese and Thai dishes to create that extra touch of savoriness. Try this Easy 5-minute Vegan ‘Fish’ Sauce recipe or use your favorite store-bought vegan ‘fish’ sauce. Since store-bought sauces’ sodium level varies, please adjust the sauces accordingly in the mixture.
- Sugar – a little touch of sweetness to balance the saltiness from the above sauces.
- Spices – I used garlic and fresh Thai chilies here to keep it simple and for a milder flavor, feel free to omit the chili.
Pad Kee Mao Cooking Tips and Variations
- Can I use store-bought rice noodles? Yes, of course! Fresh rice noodle is the best if you can get a hold of it. Alternatively, you can make your own Flat Rice Noodles, which is totally worth it by the way.
- Basil – The best kind to use is definitely Holy Basil, but you can sub it with other basils of choice such as Thai Basil.
- Vegetables – Use your favorite leafy greens or cruciferous vegetables. My favorite go-to vegetables are broccoli, broccolini, and Gai Lan. I used homegrown bok choy in today’s recipe.
- Protein – I chose tofu as it’s one of my favorite protein foods but you can substitute it with seitan or soy mince.
- Chili – Fresh or dried chilies work great in this recipe. If you can’t find either, chili flakes will be a great sub as well.
This Vegan Pad Kee Mao is
- made with gluten-free flat rice noodles
- Flavorful with the fragrant Thai Basil
- Quick and easy
- Gluten-free friendly – replace sauces with gluten-free options
- Easily customizable
- and super TASTY!
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback and see your beautiful re-creation. Leave me a comment, rate it, and tag @woon.heng and #woonheng to your photos on Instagram or Facebook. Happy cooking, friends!
Vegan Pad Kee Mao (Drunken Noodles)
- 2 servings of fresh flat rice noodles* [about 420g]
- 1 cup of vegetable of choice used bok choy
- a handful of Thai basil leaves about 1 cup packed
- 4-5 cloves garlic
- 2 Thai chilies
- 4 oz firm tofu
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 1½ tablespoons stir fry sauce
- 1½ tablespoons soy sauce/tamari
- 2-3 tablespoons homemade vegan ‘fish’ sauce see Notes if using store-bought version
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Set aside.
- Pound or finely chopped the chili and garlic into bits to release its flavor.
- In a heated non-stick pan with a drizzle of oil, pan fry tofu until golden brown. Then, push tofu to the side of the pan.
- Add a little more oil to the pan and sauté the garlic and chili until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the vegetables of choice and continue to cook until they are fully cooked through.
- Next, add the noodles and slightly spread it out on the pan.
- Pour in the sauce and quickly toss the noodles with a pair of tongs until all noodles are well coated. Continue to cook for another 30 seconds or so to allow the noodles to absorb all the flavors.
- Taste test and season accordingly that is to add more vegan 'fish' sauce or stir fry sauce for extra umami flavor or more soy sauce or salt for saltiness.
- Finally, add the Thai Basil and give it a quick toss and turn off the heat. Serve warm and enjoy!
- For dried rice noodles, please prepare noodles as directed before adding them to the mixture.
- If you are using store-bought vegan ‘fish’ sauce, please adjust the taste accordingly as some brands may have higher sodium or sugar level.
- For homemade sauces, feel free to check out my Cooking Essentials page.
Just made your Pad Kee Mao !! Tastes great !! Now I know what Thai Basil tastes like !
I used vegan Oyster sauce instead of running out to buy the stir-fry sauce.
I used thin-deep-fried-tofu slices rather than regular, firm tofu.
Chinese broccoli (gai-lan) was my green vegetable.
I used soaked dry 10mm (wide) Thai noodles instead of fresh. I used 100 gm which became 550gm soaked.
The rest of the recipe was followed fairly exactly.
Maybe because the deep-fried tofu slices (purchased that way) soak up a lot of sauce, next time I will use the tofu you suggest. Also I could have used 2 cups of the green veg, I think.
Overall, very good !!
the 100gm dried noodles should have been 200gm … sorry for typo !
Delicious and super quick and easy!! Didn’t have stir fry sauce, so used some chili bean paste and chilli garlic oil, and used whatever noodles I had at home.
What is stir fry sauce?
I will try this but not sure what sauce you mean there….
Thanks for reaching out, Ella. I used Lee Kum Kee Vegetarian STir-fry sauce, you can find this sauce under the Vegan category on their website. Or you can use any vegan oyster sauce of your choice. If you like a homemade version, feel free to use the one on my blog. Let me know if you need anything else. Have a wonderful day.
Hey, this looks amazing but I have no idea where to find Thai chili peppers. What’s a good substitute?
Hi Heidi, thanks for your interest. Any chili peppers will do such as jalapeño or fresno. 🙂
One of the best vegan blogs out there! Thanks for all the great recipes! You are a rockstar!
I loved this! Much better than I expected, made it in my wok for the first time. Might have to make this more often! Sometimes recipes can be hit or miss but this is definitely a hit!
Amazing! I made the flat rice noodles too! My only complaint is that I wish I made more! You have the best, easiset, and most authentic vegan Asian food! Thank you so very much!
woohoo, thanks so much Amy! I’m so happy you loved the recipe. Hope you get to try others soon. Have a beautiful day. Best, WoonHeng
I’m looking forward to trying this! Can you substitute regular/sweet basil for Thai basil? I’m unable to find Thai basil at any local stores (except for dried flakes).
Hi Hayley, for sure! 🙂
This recipe was absolutely amazing! The flavors were perfect and I will absolutely be making this again. I made your fish sauce, stir fry sauce, and rice noodles for this dish. Everything just went so well together.
Thank you so so much. I love that you made everything from scratch, wow! The stir fry sauce and fish sauce are definitely handy for other dishes as well. Thanks again and have a wonderful one. Best, WoonHeng
Amazing recipe as always. I have cooked this a few times because they are so good! Together with your rice noodle recipe I can now enjoy my favorite Thai noodle dish at home. Thanks so much!
Thanks so much! 🙂
I made this for dinner tonight and it exceeded my expectations. As I was making the stir fry sauce, I thought “there is no way this is gonna taste as good as the pic on the blog looks.” But it did and it was totally worth it. Thank you for the recipe!
woohoo Sarah! yay, so happy to hear this. I bet yours tasted so good! 🙂 Thank you for your support! Best, WoonHeng
I am really impressed together with your writing abilities as neatly as with the format in your weblog. Is this a paid subject matter or did you modify it your self? Anyway stay up the nice quality writing, it’s uncommon to see a nice weblog like this one nowadays.
Thanks a lot for your kind words. Have a good day.
Thank you so much!
Of course! 🙂
Hello Woon, I would like to try this recipe for 1st time. Which flat rice noodles should I buy from store?
Hello Mitali, you can use my homemade version: https://woonheng.com/homemade-flat-rice-noodles/ or you can get fresh ones from the store. There are some wide one that is dried but I haven’t tried it before. Some of the readers made it with wider width dried stick noodles, and turned out great. :0) Hope that helps. Happy cooking!
This was delicious! My husband and I both kept going back for seconds and thirds;) The flavors reminded me of my favorite dishes from restaurants, I felt so accomplished being able to make such a tasty dish at home on my own! I’m excited to try some of your other recipes where I can use more of the stir fry sauce I made for this…
Thanks so much Chelsea for your wonderful comment and feedback. I greatly appreciate it and so happy to hear that you and your husband went back for more. 🙂 Yay! I hope you like my other recipes too. Happy cooking! Best, WoonHeng
I no longer have to buy all of my favorite foods. Woonie, you have made my life complete! I can now do this myself at home. Thank you! I want to try all of your recipes. I never knew the right recipe or how to cook it but your website is so easy to understand and I love the videos and all of the cooking tips.
Thank you very much, Janice. I am soo happy to hear this, really glad you can now enjoy this yummy dish at home. 🙂 Have a wonderful day, Janice.
I just made this for lunch an hour ago. It was easy to make and super delicious. This is my first year growing fresh Thai basil. I absolutely love it in this dish. Definitely we will make it again.
Yay, thank you so much Henrietta! I’m so happy to hear you made this yummy dish and liked it! It’s really great to have homegrown plants, and thanks so much. Have a wonderful day.
I can’t find decent vegan drunken noodles where I live! This recipe is a lifesaver, it’s a close to a restaurant version (better than it) as it can get. I followed instructions down to the T, and it’s absolutely perfect!!
Thank you soo much for the recipe!
Love this recipe so! Added in Kristian Thai chili
Peppers for added punch. Broccolini, cabbage, sweet red peppers, and cayenne peppers worked beautifully with the sauce. Thank you! Wish I could add a photo. Such a beautiful dish.
yay, thank you so much Heather for your sweet and wonderful feedback. I love all the additions, so yum! Have a wonderful day.
Pad Kee Mao is my favorite! This is an easy to recipe for Vegan. Thanks for sharing your easy homemade flat rice noodle recipe. It is not easy to get fresh rice noodles in US so your recipe makes cooking delicious Pad Kee Mao at home possible.
Thank you so much, so glad you loved the recipe.