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Originally, the Thai street food Pad Kee Mao is stir-fried meat without noodles. Another variation sold by street vendors is Mama Pad Kee Mao which features instant noodles. Here’s a simple recipe to try!


  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 4 chilli padis
  • 1 litre of water
  • 3 packets of instant noodles (60 g each)
  • 3 tbsps cooking oil
  • 1 small red onion (50 g), sectioned
  • 10g finger root (Kaempferia pandurata), thinly sliced
  • 5 baby corn (60 g), halved diagonally
  • 60 g oyster mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1 red bell pepper (100 g), thinly sliced
  • 1 whole squid (200 g), cleaned and sliced into 2cm by 5cm pieces
  • 5 prawns (128 g), shelled and deveined
  • 60 g beansprouts
  • 50 g green peppercorns
  • 2 tbsps fish sauce
  • 2 tbsps oyster sauce
  • ½ tsp dark soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soya sauce
  • 60 g Thai holy basil, pluck the leaves and discard the stems
  • 1 lime, (50 g), sectioned

Use a mortar and pestle to pound the garlic cloves and Thai chillies into a rough paste. (You can choose to chop the garlic and chilli together but I suggest you wear gloves).


Bring 1 litre of water to boil in a pot.


Place the instant noodles in the pot and boil for 30 secs. Remove from water and place in colander to drain excess water.


In a clean frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the chilli and garlic paste and fry for 20 secs. Add the onion and fry for 20 secs, then add the finger root and fry for another 20 secs.


Add the baby corn and fry for another 20 secs. Add the oyster mushroom and fry for 30 secs. Add the bell pepper and fry for 30 secs.


Add the squid and fry for 15 seconds. Add the prawns and fry for 20 secs.


Add the beansprouts and the green peppercorns, fry for 20 secs.


Season with fish sauce, oyster sauce, dark soya sauce and light soya sauce.


Add the holy basil leaves and stir-fry for 15 secs.


Serve immediately with lime wedges.

TIP: Thai holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum), known as kra pao in Thai, is used here. If you cannot find it, you can substitute it with the more easily available Thai basil (horapha in Thai).

ABOUT THE CHEF: Hedy Khoo is the columnist for The New Paper‘s HED CHEF which features Asian cuisine and recipes. You can follow Hedy on her Instagram account @hedchefhedykhoo for more of her culinary adventures.

Recipe: Hedy Khoo / Photo: The New Paper

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