Drunken noodles with prawns

Drunken noodles with prawns

Phad kee mao goong

By
From
Street Food Asia
Serves
2
Photographer
Alan Benson

Jay Fai is a no-frills eatery in a shop-house that’s very close to Thip Samai at 327 Mahachai Road. It’s hardly a new find; every Asian food expert and writer there knows this place. My favourite dish here is drunken noodles but I love the chef-owner even more. Her name is also Jay Fai (although she’s variously called ‘old auntie’ or ‘grandmother’) and she tells me she’s been cooking for 60 years and has never taken a sick day in her life. It’s amazing to watch her in the kitchen; she wears a brown beanie and covers her eyes with what look like 1950s flying goggles to protect them from all the smoke and flying sparks. At any one time she has three woks on the go and, as she cooks over charcoal, there are plenty of dramatic flames. Hers is said to be the most expensive street food in all of Bangkok and this comes down to the quality of her ingredients – she doesn’t compromise or cut corners. Her seafood, for example, is top notch and her famous drunken noodles feature the freshest, fattest, sweetest prawns imaginable. She cranks the heat up to the absolute maximum so the noodles get that lovely scorched flavour. Incidentally, there are various stories told about why this dish is called ‘drunken’, even though it contains no alcohol. I’m told it’s because the dish has so much intense flavour that you feel a bit buzzed-up and drunk after eating it. Who knows? It’s delicious, whatever the theory.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, diced
2 long red chillies, finely sliced
8 large raw prawns, peeled and deveined with tails intact
200g flat rice noodles, soaked in water for 20 minutes, then drained
6 baby corn, halved lengthways
6 button mushrooms, halved
2 spring onions, sliced into 3 cm lengths
1 handful thai basil leaves

Sauce

Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons liquid palm sugar (see glossary) or shaved palm sugar (jaggery)
2 tablespoons hot water

Method

  1. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons of hot water and stir until the palm sugar has dissolved. Set aside.
  2. Heat a wok until smoking hot. Add the vegetable oil and heat until smoking, then add the garlic and red chilli and stir-fry for 30 seconds until fragrant.
  3. Add the prawns and stir-fry for another minute, then add the noodles, baby corn, mushrooms, spring onions and sauce and toss for 2 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked and all the sauce has been absorbed by the noodles.
  4. Remove the wok from the heat, add the Thai basil and toss together, then transfer to individual plates and serve.
Tags:
South-East Asian
Asian
Street Food
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