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Drunken Spaghetti With Shrimp (Spaghetti Khii Mao)

Drunken Spaghetti With Shrimp (Spaghetti Khii Mao) 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Dinner in Minutes Dec 15, 2015

If you're looking to include a local author on your cookbook wish list, this recipe from Nongkran Daks's most recent cookbook might convince you to go in the Thai direction. She's the chef-owner of Thai Basil in Chantilly, Va., a master chef and cooking instructor who has collected her most approachable dishes in this slim volume.

As she explains in the book, drunken spaghetti came about in the 1960s, when American soldiers began arriving in Thailand in large numbers. They were homesick, so Thai cooks "Americanized" their traditional drunken noodles preparation by substituting the thinner wheat pasta for the wide noodles. Daks's rendition has a fair amount of heat, thanks to the bright Thai chilies.

Do you happen to have 5 cups of cooked spaghetti in the refrigerator? If so, you're way ahead of the game.

Where to Buy: Sweet soy sauce, sometimes called kecap manis, is available at Asian supermarkets. You can use equal parts molasses and low-sodium soy sauce instead.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • Kosher salt
  • 7 ounces dried thin spaghetti
  • 1 cup no-salt-added chicken broth (may substitute water)
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce (see headnote)
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 to 4 fresh Thai chili peppers
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound shelled and deveined shrimp, defrosted if frozen
  • 1 cup loosely packed Thai basil leaves


Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add a generous pinch of salt, then the pasta. Cook according to the package directions (to al dente). Drain and rinse.

Meanwhile, whisk together the broth, low-sodium soy sauce, fish sauce, sweet soy sauce and vinegar in a liquid measuring cup until well blended.

Mince the garlic. Cut each tomato in half. Seed and finely chop the Thai chilies (to taste).

Heat the oil in a wok or deep saute pan over medium heat; swirl to coat the sides. Once the oil shimmers, add the garlic; stir-fry for about 1 minute or just until evenly golden, then add the shrimp; stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until most of it is barely opaque.

Measure 5 packed cups of the cooked pasta, then add it to the wok or saute pan; toss to coat and incorporate, then add the tomatoes and soy sauce mixture, Thai basil leaves and Thai chili slices. Toss until evenly distributed and warmed through, then immediately divide among wide, shallow bowls.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "Nong's Thai Kitchen: 84 Classic Recipes That Are Quick, Healthy and Delicious," by Nongkran Daks and Alexandria Greeley (Tuttle, 2015). CORRECTION: An earlier version of this recipe omitted when to add the soy sauce mixture.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 420

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 12g 18%

Saturated Fat: 2g 10%

Cholesterol: 185mg 62%

Sodium: 1500mg 62%

Total Carbohydrates: 47g 16%

Dietary Fiber: 1g 4%

Sugar: 9g

Protein: 30g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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