A Thai Winter Feast: Drunken Noodles and Beer

There’s nothing better on a cold winter night than spicy Thai drunken noodles with a glass of beer. It’s a pairing that makes the darkest winter seem less bleak.

Drunken noodles, or Pad Kee Mao, are fried in savory chili-based sauce. It’s not certain why they’re called drunken noodles. Some theorize that they’re a good hangover cure, while others suggest you have to be drinking to stand their heat. At any rate, you can experiment with different types and amounts of peppers, depending on your taste. Traditionally, drunken noodles include fish sauce and chicken, beef or pork, but my version is vegetarian.

Drunken noodles might not be made with any alcohol, but they are good with a cold beer. I especially like an IPA, such as Dogfish Head’s 60 Minute IPA. The hoppiness of the beer pairs perfectly with the spiciness of the noodles, and together they’re just the thing to warm you up on a cold, snowy night.

Thai Drunken Noodles
1/2 cup soy sauce
Juice of one lime
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons Thai garlic chili sauce
1 16-oz package of Thai wide rice stick noodles
1/4 cup vegetable or peanut oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, cut into slivers
2 fresh red Thai chili peppers, de-seeded and chopped
3 Anaheim chili peppers, de-seeded and cut into strips
4 Roma tomatoes, cut into thin wedges
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Stir together the soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and garlic chili sauce in a bowl and set aside.

Soak the noodles according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water to separate the noodles.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, peppers, tomatoes and bean sprouts and sauté for several minutes. Add the soy sauce mixture and noodles and continue to sauté for about 3 minutes until everything is coated and the noodles start to crisp slightly along the edges. At the last minute, top with the basil leaves, and then turn out into a serving bowl.

Serves 2 generously, accompanied by mugs of cold beer.

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