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Thai Stir-Fried Rice Noodles with Shrimp and Basil

4 Servings

45 minutes

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This is our version of kway teow pad kee mao, or “drunkard’s stir-fried noodles,” a street-food favorite and a standard offering in Thai restaurants in the U.S. We use a trio of heavy-hitting, umami-rich staples—oyster sauce, fish sauce and soy sauce—to deliver big flavor, fast. Briny-sweet shrimp take the place of the more common chicken. Fresh basil, added at the end so it retains its brightness, is a defining ingredient. If you can find Thai basil, its peppery, spicy notes perfectly balance the other high-impact ingredients in the dish, but sweeter, milder Mediterranean basil is a fine stand-in. Flat, wide fresh rice noodles give pad kee mao character, but can be hard to find, so we use dried rice stick noodles. Look for ones about ½ inch wide as they come closer to the width of fresh noodles, but even ¼-inch rice sticks work. A 12- to 14-inch wok offers the space to easily toss the ingredients, but a 12-inch skillet is fine, too.




Don’t stir the shrimp more than once after adding them to the pan. Letting them cook undisturbed gives them a chance to caramelize, which adds richer, deeper color as well as flavor to the stir-fry.

45 minutes


  • 10

    ounces ½-inch-wide rice stick noodles (see headnote)

  • 12

    ounces large (26/30 per pound) shrimp, peeled and deveined


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Deborah C.
March 17, 2024
I used ½“ rice sticks for this. The flavors were well-balanced and the noodles cooked perfectly. I used about 5 Campari tomatoes, 1/2 lb of shrimp and 1/4 pound of tofu that needed to be used. I didn’t have a fresh jalapeño so served it with crushed red pepper on the side. Garnished with basil and crushed peanuts. Set-up takes time but it’s a fast meal once cooking begins. I’ll make this again!
Danita B.
January 23, 2024
You won't need to order takeout with this recipe in your back pocket
WOW, this recipe was definitely a banger. A lot of flavor - it's almost better the next day if you have leftovers. That sauce just soaks into the noodles. The technique for cooking the noodles here is perfect. Assuming you don't have a nut allergy, some crushed peanuts on top is also great.
Penny H.
January 7, 2024
First stir fry in new wok
This turned out great! But we wanted more heat, so we added red pepper flakes along with the jalapeños. Thank you the tip on how to keep adding water to cook the noodles until they were soft. We also will try adding crushed peanuts on top the next time.
Josiah W.
December 7, 2023
Soooo Good!
Super simple recipe! Flavour is out of the park. Rich and balanced. I used 1/4 inch rice stick and that worked great, (though I see why 1/2 inch would be superior.)