Who needs delivery when you can make your own drunken noodles with tofu right at home?! Sweet, spicy, and saucy, this recipe has everything you love about the takeout favorite.
For the longest time, I would only order pad see ew at Thai restaurants, but once I started tolerating spicy foods, I gave drunken noodles a try and they quickly became my go-to. While they’re definitely two different dishes with different flavors, you’ll find that the bases of the sauces are pretty similar. This means if you have the essentials to make pad see ew, you can whip up a batch of drunken noodles with tofu too!
This is the type of recipe that’s easy enough to make for a weeknight meal—and it’s also versatile enough to make everyone happy. You can use any protein you like; I chose tofu because that’s what I typically order, but sliced beef, chicken, or even shrimp would be delicious. Add more vegetables, adjust the spice level according to your preferences, and garnish with some extra fresh basil, sliced green onion, chopped cashews, or anything else you happen to have on hand.
What You’ll Need
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make drunken noodles with tofu at home.
For the sauce:
- Oyster sauce – You can swap in vegetarian mushroom oyster sauce if you want to make this recipe plant-based.
- Soy sauce
- Sweet soy sauce – This is usually sold alongside other soy sauce varieties. You may also find it labeled as kecap manis, which is the Indonesian version.
- Rice vinegar – Not the kind that’s seasoned and sweetened!
- Fish sauce – Again, you can use a vegetarian fish sauce here, or just add extra soy sauce.
For the rest of the dish:
- Flat, wide, rice noodles – If you can’t find the short, flat rice noodles, you can use regular longer flat rice noodles.
- Red bell pepper
- Bird’s eye chili – If you can’t find these at your grocery store, you can use 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes.
- Thai basil leaves – Thai basil has a very distinctive, sharp, anise-like flavor. If you can’t find it, use regular basil leaves.
- Extra-firm tofu – Extra-firm tofu stands up well to stir-frying. Anything softer is more likely to crumble.
Here are some ways to change up this drunken noodle recipe:
- As mentioned above, you can add a different protein. Note that you’ll need to cook that protein first!
- Add scallions, baby corn, broccoli, carrots, or other veggies.
- Stir in halved cherry or grape tomatoes after removing the wok from heat; just enough to warm them up before serving.
How to Make Drunken Noodles With Tofu
As promised, this recipe is totally easy and fast enough for a weeknight dinner. By the time you get takeout or delivery, you could already be eating!
Make the sauce. Whisk together the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl, then set aside.
Cook the noodles. Bring a small pot of water to a boil, then cook the rice noodles according to the directions on the package.
Cook the vegetables and aromatics. Place a wok over high heat and add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the onion and bell pepper. Cook until the vegetables are soft and tender, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, bird’s eye chili, and basil.
Finish the drunken noodles. Reduce the heat to medium, then pour in the sauce. Stir to combine. Add the drained noodles, then toss to coat them in the sauce. Add the tofu and gently toss again to evenly distribute all the ingredients. Remove from heat and serve.
What Can I Use if I Don’t Have a Wok?
Use the largest skillet you have; preferably one with high sides. You’ll need plenty of room to toss all of the ingredients together.
Tips for Success
Here are some tips for perfect drunken noodles with tofu at home.
- Drain the noodles well. If they’re too wet when you add them to the sauce, they’ll thin it out and your finished dish won’t be as flavorful.
- Press the tofu. Take the time to press the tofu; this lets it soak up the flavor of the sauce.
- Adjust the level of heat. Drunken noodles are usually served spicy. If you’re making this for people who have different preferences for the heat level, you can make the recipe with a small amount of hot pepper, then reserve some for garnish for those who want more of a kick.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Store drunken noodles with tofu in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat them in the microwave until warmed through. Drunken noodles are great for meal prep lunches, too!
Other tofu or Thai-inspired recipes you may enjoy:
- Pan-Fried Sesame Garlic Tofu
- Teriyaki Tofu and Broccoli Bowls
- Tofu and Shiitake Coconut Curry Bowls
- Balsamic Tofu
- Sticky Thai Chicken
Drunken Noodles with Tofu
For the sauce:
- 2 ½ tablespoons oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons sweet soy sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
For the rest of the dish:
- 5 ounces flat, wide, rice noodles, cooked
- ½ medium onion, sliced
- 1 medium red bell pepper, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 or 2 birds eye chili, finely chopped (or use 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes if you can't find birds eye chili), adjust levels of spice to your own tolerance
- Handful of fresh Thai basil leaves
- 7 ounces extra firm tofu, cubed, pressed and drained
- In a small bowl, combine ingredients for the sauce. Set aside.
- In a small pot, bring a pot of water to boil and cook rice noodles according to directions on the package.
- Put a wok over high heat and add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the wok. Once hot, add onion and bell pepper to the wok. Cook until soft and tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add in the garlic, birds eye chili, and basil.
- Reduce heat to medium then add in the sauce. Stir to combine then add in the drained noodles. Toss to incorporate then add in the tofu and gently toss to incorporate everything evenly.
- Serve warm and enjoy!
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.