We make this so often that it's become comfort food for us now! It's our go to order at Thai restaurants and is just too good for its simplicity! The signature sweet-and-spiciness of Thai cuisine is something we all crave. My mouth is literally watering right now even though I just had a bowl of Pad Kee Mao!
What makes mine different?
Kaffir lime leaves. No doubt. So traditionally pad kee mao doesn't actually use lime leaves I believe. They're more so used in curries and stuff. But I fell in love with them a long time ago when I first started cooking Thai food. So much so that I've even put lime leaves in my Chicken Tikka! It turned out great!
I learnt a trick from a restaurant called "Thai Basil" on the Cal campus: chop up the lime leaves insanely small so that the flavour takes over the dish. Instead of just putting whole leaves in the dish, doing it this way is just amazing. It makes the dish so much more flavourful! Lime leaves aren't too edible as-is because of how tough they are. But chopping them really fine softens them up enough to be edible!
Trust me. Add lime leaves to your pad kee mao and you'll never go back!
Low calorie options!
Feel free to use zoodles (zucchini noodles), boodles (butternut squash noodles), or even eggplant ribbons (egg-ploodles © Monica McCall)! Monica is the resident queen of non-noodle noodles!
Pad Kee MaoCourse: Lunch, DinnerCuisine: Thai
- Chicken Marinade
3 Chicken Thighs (cut into thin strips) (vegetarians: sub out with tofu, paneer, veggies, anything!)
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce (vegetarians: sub with 1 tsp light soy sauce mixed with 1 tsp brown sugar)
2 tsp cornflour
- Stir fry
6 garlic cloves (minced)
1/2 white onion (thinly sliced)
5 red Thai chilies (minced, reduce if you don't like spicy food)
8-10 kaffir lime leaves (extremely finely minced, leave them whole if you don't trust your knife skills. They are not too edible unless minced fine)
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp boiling water
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce (vegetarians: sub with 1 tbsp light soy sauce mixed with 1 tsp brown sugar)
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce (optional)
100g rice noodles (that's just about 2 servings)
1/2 cup packed thai basil
3 tsp oil
1/2 tsp salt to taste
3-4 bok choy (any greens will do here, broccoli, choy sum, gai lan, tender stem broccoli, anything!)
- Soak your rice noodles in a bowl of boiling water
- Marinate your chicken!
- Prep your sauce in a separate bowl
- Prep your mise-en-place (fancy word for all your stir fry chopping stuff)
- Cut the root off your bok choy to separate the stems. Wash thoroughly. Never cook with the roots attached because that's where all the dirt and bugs live.
If you're using a harder green like broccoli instead of bok choy, make sure to blanch it first to soften it.
- Get your pan nice and hot with 2 tsp oil. Add your chicken and fry for 3-4 minutes. Toss it around to get it crispy and yummy! Remove from pan into a bowl.
- Add 1 tsp oil and add in your stir fry stuff. Toss it around for a couple minutes.
- Add the chicken back in, the sauce, the thai basil, and the bok choy. Toss it around for a couple minutes until the bok choy wilts.
- Add your noodles in and toss it around to coat all the sauce well. Let it cook for a minute to soften the noodles a bit more.
- If you think the sauce is too watery, add a tsp of cornflour in and mix it around.
- Add a bit of lime juice and serve!
- For a more traditional pad kee mao, skip the kaffir lime leaves and the lime juice. I love lime leaves so I always use them in my pad kee maos though they are more used in curries than noodles.