Nigella Lawson’s Drunken Noodles | Noodles

The general explanation given for why Thai drunken noodles are called that is that they have enough chili to get you out of even the worst hangover. The only difficulty here, though I’m prepared to believe it, is that making a traditional pad kee mao is not a task I would recommend as long as I’m worse off. So this is my simplified version. I’ve cut to the chase: no meat, fish, or vegetables, just very hot, highly seasoned noodles. Not that you have to be hungover to eat them. Why give yourself all that pain to get to pleasure?

Anyway, I make them very often when I’m serenely sober and in a plate-of-food frame of mind. Most of the ingredients come from the cupboard and the finished dish is in front of you in 10 minutes. I find these hot noodles hard to beat, and they really blow your mind – if you want less scare then halve the chili flakes. For starters, at least…

Serves 2 (or 1 very drunk or sweet tooth)
dry flat rice noodles 150 g (pad thai type)
Oyster sauce 1 tablespoon
toasted sesame oil 1 tsp
sunflower oil 2 teaspoons
fresh ginger 3cm (15g) piece, peeled and finely grated
garlic 1 clove, peeled and chopped
lime 1, preferably without wax
dried chili flakes ½ teaspoon
soy sauce 4 tablespoons
fresh coriander handful, chopped

Soak noodles in hot water for 8 minutes, or according to package directions, then drain and cool under cold running water.

Put 2 tablespoons of cold water in a cup and add the oyster sauce, then set aside for a month.

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Put the oils in a wok, turn on the heat and add the ginger, garlic and grate the zest of the lime – I use a coarse microflat grater here, just because it’s faster than a fine one. Sprinkle the chili flakes. Stir well, then tip the soaked and drained noodles over and quickly toss them into the seasoned oil (easier with an implement in each hand).

Add the watery oyster sauce, juice of half the lime, and soy sauce, then transfer to holding bowls (or bowl) and toss with the chopped cilantro.

Keep the bottle of soy sauce and the remaining half lime handy, in case you need them while you eat. I’m such a pyrophile that I also like to keep a few extra chili flakes on hand.

From Simply Nigella by Nigella Lawson (Vintage, £26)

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