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Pad Kee Mao

I’m smack dab in the middle of another missing-the-land of jalapeños and serranos and meals so spicy they’ll make your nose run and your forehead sweat (that’s a three napkin enchilada!) phase. Since I’m Tex-Mex pepper poor over here in the land of a thousand cheeses, I’ve been gravitating to the spiciest food I can make lately, which usually means something Thai — and this easy to throw together classic, Pad Kee Mao, is one of my favorites. It’s also one of the hottest.

Really, I’m just trying to see how I can get the French firemen to show up at my door.

Feu! Feu!

Now, my favorite Pad Kee Mao is simply rice noodles, bell pepper, Thai basil, tofu, and a whole bunch of garlic and chopped Thai chile, which you can add as much or as little as you can stand. You don’t have to use tofu — it’s easy to swap out with chicken, beef, or pork — but crispy fried tofu can be a wonderful thing.

Know that Pad Kee Mao does not take long to put together, but it does probably require a trip to your nearest Asian market for the rice noodles, tofu, and Thai basil. You may swap out with regular basil if you want, but Thai basil will give this the unique licorice flavor it’s known for.

It’s also an easy dish to make for one, or one plus leftovers the next day.