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Nigella Lawson’s drunken noodles | Food

The general explanation given for why Thai drunken noodles are so called is that they have enough chilli in them to shake you out of even the worst hangover. The only difficulty here – prepared though I am to believe it – is that making a traditional pad kee mao is not an undertaking I’d recommend while worse for wear. So this is my simplified version. I’ve cut to the chase – no meat, fish or veg, just highly seasoned, searingly hot noodles. Not that you need to be hungover to eat them. Why give yourself all that pain, in order to get to the pleasure?

Anyway, I make them so often when in serenely sober bowl-food mood. Most of the ingredients come from the store cupboard, and the finished dish is in front of you in 10 minutes. I find these hot noodles hard to beat, and they do really blow your head off: if you want less of a fiery fright, then halve the chilli flakes. To start with, at least …

Serves 2 (or a very drink-soaked or greedy 1)
dried flat rice noodles 150g (the pad thai sort)
oyster sauce 1 tbsp
toasted sesame oil 1 tsp
sunflower oil 2 tsp
fresh ginger 3cm piece (15g), peeled and finely grated
garlic 1 clove, peeled and minced
lime 1, preferably unwaxed
dried chilli flakes ½ tsp
soy sauce 4 tbsp
fresh coriander handful, chopped

Soak the noodles in hot water for 8 minutes, or according to packet instructions, then drain and refresh under a cold running tap.

Put 2 tbsp of cold water into a cup and stir in the oyster sauce, then set aside for a mo.

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

Add the watered-down oyster sauce, the juice of half the lime and the soy sauce, then transfer to waiting bowls (or bowl) and toss with the chopped coriander.

Keep the bottle of soy sauce and the remaining half-lime close at hand, should you need either of them as you eat. I am such a pyrophile, I like to keep some extra chilli flakes to hand, too.

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

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