Sometimes I come up with pretty good ideas when it comes to cooking. Remember when I dreamed up those Boston cream cupcakes? Yeah. Sometimes I think I’m a genius.
This is another one of those bits of brilliance. See, a few months ago Rob and I started eating Thai food. I’ve talked about it on Twitter a lot, especially when it comes to my undying devotion to pad thai.
Oh, pad thai, how I love thee…
Rob, on the other hand, prefers drunken noodles. Why are they called drunken noodles, you ask? The name allegedly refers to the amount you have to drink in order to cool your mouth off after all the spiciness.
The thing is, a person can only afford but so much takeout. And since we’re trying to, ya know, be more responsible with our money (especially our food budget), I figured that it might not be a bad idea to try to recreate drunken noodles in my own kitchen.
But then I made a huge rookie mistake, one which I will not let you make: I didn’t monitor the spice levels as I went along. In fact I was in such a hurry to get everything finished at the same time (all four burners and the oven were going at once) that I just sorta plopped everything in the pan and hoped for the best. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Two glasses of milk later, I managed to get through this dish. Drunken noodles, indeed.
The best part is, I only used one chili pepper – the original recipe called for twice that much! Eek! Unfathomable. You could definitely stick to only half of one pepper (or none, and just use more chili sauce).
Speaking of the chili pepper, here’s a tip: You might want to wear gloves while chopping it up. Because no matter how careful you are about washing your hands, you may still feel as though you dipped your fingers in boiling water hours after the meal is finished and the kitchen cleaned.
I can’t lie to you. It was agony.
But! The result is pure deliciousness. It may not be the most authentic version you can find, but Rob said that in terms of flavor it tasted just like what he gets from the restaurant.
And even though our mouths were burning with the heat of a thousand suns, we kept eating. So that’s gotta say something!
Another tip: If you’ve never used fish sauce, I’m here to tell you that it’s called fish sauce for a reason. It smells exactly like fish. Surprise! It may be a turn off at first, but let me assure you, it really adds to the finished product. So don’t be all “Eww, Jen steered me wrong!” when you open the bottle, okay?
Adapted from grouprecipes.com
Serves 4-6 people
1 16 oz package fettucine
3 chicken breasts, cubed
2 tbs vegetable oil
1/2 Anaheim chili pepper, seeded and chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbs hoisin sauce
1 1/2 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs chili garlic sauce*
2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup basil leaves, torn**
Cook fettuccine according to package directions.
While pasta is boiling, heat oil in large frying pan or wok over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring frequently, until browned and almost cooked through. Push chicken to side of pan.
Turn heat down to medium and add chili and garlic. Stirring frequently, cook for around 30 seconds, then combine with chicken. Continue cooking this way until chicken is cooked through. Keep an eye on the heat to ensure the garlic doesn’t burn.
Stir in sauces and sugar. If sauce is too thick, add a ladle or two of pasta water to thin it out. Turn heat to low until pasta is finished cooking.
Drain the cooked pasta and immediately add to pan. Toss to coat the noodles, sprinkle with basil leaves, and serve immediately with lots of lime wedges on the side.
*You can start with less than this and work your way up. Just remember: You can put more in, but you can’t take it out!
** Thai basil is what’s recommended but I couldn’t find it anywhere. Sweet basil can work in a pinch, or you can leave it out completely.
Have you ever eaten Thai food? What’s your favorite dish?