Pad Ki Mow is absolutely one of my favourite Thai dishes. The presence of multiple peppers contrast the palette of the rice noodles to make a delightfully colourful presentation that offers the taste buds a perfect blend of sweet, spicy, salty, and bitter. All this, and quick to make. It is known as drunkard's noodles because it is a favourite amongst Thai after a night of too much drinking and is known to kick-start the body. If one is not used to spiciness, the number of chillies can be reduced. Thai basil may be substituted for holy basil, although there are better recipes for this, such as Thai spicy noodles (recipe forthcoming).
- 5 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 10 red birds eye chillies, coarsely chopped
- 1 lb pork tenderloin (or boneless skinless chicken breast), cut into very thin slices
- 4 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp palm sugar
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 3 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp tapioca starch (or corn starch)
- 1 red pepper (or orange pepper), cut into small squares
- 1 green pepper, cut into small squares
- 2 lbs ho fen rice noodles (or one package wide dry rice noodles, see below)
- 1 cup fresh holy basil leaves
- deep fried holy basil leaves (optional)
If using dry rice noodles, soak the noodles in plenty of cold water for at least one hour, and up to 24 hours.
Mix the water, palm sugar, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and soy sauce together in a bowl and stir to dissolve sugar. If the sugar does not dissolve on its own, apply a gentle heat to the concoction until it does.
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
In a wok over high heat, warm the oil. When hot, add the chillies and the garlic and stir for thirty seconds, taking care not to burn. Add the pork, reduce heat slightly, and stir-fry for one minute. Mix in the sugar-sauce concoction and cook for one more minute. Remove from heat.
Put the noodles in the boiling water. Stir with a fork or metal chopsticks until soft. If using fresh rice noodles, this will take no more than 30 seconds, and be careful not to overcook or they will disintegrate. If using dried rice noodles, the process is typically more forgiving and will take approximately a minute. The boiling is necessary since the noodles themselves will not be cooked in the dish and this is the only opportunity they have to soften.
Combine the noodles and basil with the stir fried mixture, stirring from the bottom up. Gentleness is required to prevent the noodles from breaking.
If desired, serve with deep fried basil as a garnish. Basil may be deep fried by heating a cup of oil in a small saucepan over high heat to about 170C (340F). Using a slotted spoon, submerge a small number of basil leaves. They will be completely fried within a matter of seconds. Drain and set on paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Sprinkle the leaves on top of the final dish for presentation and added flavour.