In college, when my friends and I were snarfing down Ramen Noodles cooked up in our dorm room hot pots, we began to question whether this was really the “bomb” (yeah we called things the “bomb” back then) of noodle experience. Having grown up exposed to Korean, Chinese, and Filipino cuisine, I knew we could do better. We ambled over to a Thai Restaurant to see what we could find.
It was there I had my first bowl of Pad Kee Mao, or better known as Drunken Noodles. Which is really a misnomer, as there is no alcohol in the dish. This bowl of noodles and sauce is usually consumed after a long night of revelry as a pick me up. As it is one of my favorite Asian dishes, I knew I needed to hack the salt from the recipe to be able to keep it in the mix of food I could still enjoy. So here below is the recipe for low sodium Thai Drunken Noodles.
Asian dishes would normally be off the menu completely in a low sodium diet as the sauces alone used in most Asian dishes are off the charts high in sodium. In order to make this dish fit into the low sodium life, I had to start with the sauce. A key component is soy sauce. Most over the counter soy sauce, even those that claim to be lower in sodium are still off the charts for sodium. So I made my own version of “soy” sauce that you can get the recipe for here.
Drunken Noodles can use a lot of swaps for the main components. I use rice noodles, but any low sodium vermicelli or angel hair pasta could work as well. There is also a variety of proteins you could go with: pork, beef, shrimp, tofu, chicken, or in my case, low sodium fresh ground turkey. If you are a heart transplant patient like me, you may want to skip the bean sprouts all together, or at the bare minimum ensure they are fresh and cleaned thoroughly to ensure you reduce any potential for bacteria. Just writing this recipe has me salivating over the basil, chilis, and lime juice. Enjoy!
Low Sodium Thai Drunken Noodles
- 1 package Rice Noodles
- 1 lb Fresh Ground Turkey (can use pork shrimp, beef, chicken, or tofu as well)
- 1 Red Bell Pepper julienned
- 1 medium sweet onion sliced
- 2 cups of Broccoli florets
- 2 cups Bean Sprouts fresh and thoroughly washed
- 3 Thai Chili Peppers - seeds and ribs removed then minced (you can sub habanero, serrano, scotch bonnet, or jalapenos based on taste preference) Use less to lower heat level
- 1/4 cup Thai Basil you can sub Sweet Basil if you can't find Thai. julienned
- 1 long carrot julienned
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/2 cup Low Sodium "Soy" Sauce recipe here
- 1 Tbsp Sriracha Sauce can sub out a lower sodium hot sauce if you have
- 2 tsp Molasses
- 1 tsp Liquid Smoke
- 1/2 tsp Brown Sugar
- Juice of 1 Lime
- Zest of 1 Lime
In a wok or deep frying pan, saute the oil, garlic, onion, chili peppers, carrots 2-3 minutes until soft.
Add the turkey or protein (except shrimp, you will add that later so they don't burn) you are using and brown 4-5 minutes.
Prepare the rice noodles per instructions on package while the protein is cooking.
Add the broccoli and red bell pepper and continue to saute for an additional 3-4 minutes.
Add the bean sprouts and basil (and shrimp if you are using).
In a separate bowl, add the "soy" sauce, molasses, liquid smoke, sriracha, brown sugar, and zest and juice of lime and whisk together to create the sauce.
Add the noodles and sauce to the protein and veggies and cook on low for an additional 3-5 minutes while stirring until the sauce is absorbed into the mix.