Thai stir fry noodles with gravy (Rad Na) is a savory and hearty dish with charred wide rice noodles ladled with mouthwatering gravy sauce. It's the perfect comfort food all year round. Easy and quick and comes together in 30 minutes!
What is Rad Na?
Rad in Thai means pouring over, while Na means face. So literally means to pour over the face, implying, a thoroughly coverage of the entire surface of anything that's being poured over. In this case, it's the noodles that are covered by gravy. The wide flat rice noodles are cooked until charred, and then a perfectly balanced umami gravy is poured over them, making it the ultimate comfort food.
It is a full-flavored dish, usually eaten with some leafy vegetables and your choice of protein. Rad Na is a Thai-Chinese noodle dish with many flavors, techniques, and ingredients used in Chinese cooking.
I'm baffled that this Thai noodle dish is not more popular outside of Thailand. If I have to guess, all the lively cousin dishes like Pad Thai, Pad See Ew, and Drunken noodles are so popular that Rad Na gets left behind. So sad. LOL (See my emotional attachment to this dish?) (:
Well, Rad Na has a special place in my heart and hopefully in your kitchen soon too! I love that Rad Na is not so sweet, yet it still holds a fair taste of a stir-fry dish's savory and umami flavors. The charred and chewy wide noodles are enough as a meal on their own! You might need to buy extra noodles because you can't stop eating them alone!
Spellings of Rad Na
You will see a few spellings for this recipe. Expect to see some of these spellings and names of this dish in your local Thai restaurants. Rad Na, Rat Na, Rad nah, Lad na, Kwe Tiau Radna, or Geuy Tiew Rad na. They are the same thing, the wide rice noodles stir fry with gravy.
Ingredients for making authentic Rad Na
There are 3 parts to this recipe. Don't be intimidated by the ingredient list. I'm going to break them down and organize them into 3 groups so that you have a flow to help with ease and speed up the cooking process. Once you have the ingredients organized in groups, the prep time is a breeze!
Using fresh wide rice noodles is crucial for this recipe as the soft, chewy, and charred noodles provide the base for this gravy.
- Fresh wide noodles. Use the chow fun wide noodles. They come in several ways, depending on your local Asian market. Mine come in extra large sheets wrapped in a styrofoam packet found in the refrigerated section. They will almost always need microwaving for 1- 2 minutes to soften up and separate the sheets before cooking. Very important to do this. Check the kitchen notes section below for more noodles variety and suggestions.
- More garlic. This is a little extra tip I picked up from my favorite Lao restaurant years ago. This extra step helped season the noodles to the point where they could be eaten as a meal by themselves! So delicious. You might need to grab extra noodles for just snacking on!
- Sweet dark soy sauce. This sauce gets a spotlight because it helps flavor the noodles and gives them a golden brown color. Don't confuse them with the black soy sauce. They are similar but not the same thing. See the image above for a photo reference.
- Soy sauce. Add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce to season the noodles.
- Oil. The large sheet noodles are typically well-oiled, so use your discretion with how much extra cooking oil you'll need for frying the noodles.
Tenderizing the meat is essential if using beef, chicken, or pork. A little baking soda helps break down the meat fibers, so the meat is tender and velvety when stir-frying. This is a common technique used by many Asian restaurants when stir-frying meat.
- Beef. Use stir-frying beef and cut it into long thin pieces around 2-inch each. Cutting meat into small pieces also helps cook quicker too.
- Baking soda. Helps tenderize the meat for the soft, silky flavor.
- Water. Just a couple of tablespoons of cold water to help break down the baking soda into the meat slices.
- Garlic. Add an extra depth of flavor to the meat, making this dish full of layers of flavors! Divide the garlic into 2 parts, one for the beef and the other one for the stir-fried noodles
- Oil. Use neutral oil like avocado, canola, or vegetable oil for stir-frying the beef.
This is where the sauces, stock, and seasoning are all coming together for the gravy to be used with noodles!
- Oyster sauce. Adds the umami velvety flavor.
- Light soy sauce. Use regular soy sauce as a substitute
- Soybean paste. It's a fermented yellow bean sauce common in many dishes in Thai cooking. It's essential to make this recipe authentic. Find these at your local Asian grocery stores.
- Rice vinegar. It adds a tanginess to help balance the sweet and salty flavor.
- Sugar. Use white, coconut, or monk fruit sugar. It rounds out the salty flavor.
- Ground white pepper. A unique flavor that will elevate your Rad Na. Black pepper is ok as a substitute
- Tapioca starch. Or tapioca flour. This is the thickening agent we need to make Rad Na gravy. Corn starch is a good substitute
- Chicken broth. Use any broth or stock of your choice. Water will work, too, but you will need to add extra sauces and seasoning to help with the lack of flavors of broth or stock.
- Chinese broccoli, also called Gai Lan. Slice the stems into long thin pieces around 2-inch pieces. The leafy parts can be cut into larger pieces, 3-4 inches. They will wilt into small pieces when cooked. See kitchen notes for vegetable substitutes. Regular broccoli works great as a substitute.
- Carrot. Slice long and thin, around 2-inch pieces each. Carrot chips are super handy for this recipe.
Protein Recommendations for Thai Rad Na
I have tasted lots of Rad Na with different proteins, but my favorites are beef, pork, and seafood! You can choose whatever choice of protein suits your taste bud. If using tofu or seafood, remember that seafood doesn't take as long to cook as the other types of meat. Reduce the cooking time of those lighter proteins to half.
Vegetables you can use for Ra Na
This easy Rad Na recipe is versatile regarding what vegetables you can use. Traditionally, Chinese broccoli, carrots, and onions are used, helping to keep the recipe simple, while the focus is on the noodles and gravy. Since the recipe can be flexible, I recommend using the following vegetables if Chinese broccoli is unavailable.
Use Broccoli, Snow Pea Pods, Kale, Asparagus, Bok Choy, Carrots, Sweet Onion, Water Chestnuts, Fresh baby corn, and Bell peppers.
These vegetables are perfect if you want to make a vegetarian Rad Na.
How to make Rad Na
Step 1. In a small bowl, combine the beef, baking soda, and water, mix and lightly massage with your fingers until the baking soda dissolves. Let sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes while you prep the other ingredients.
Step 2. Make the gravy mixture. Make the sauce for the grave in a large bowl by adding oyster sauce, soy sauce, soy bean paste, vinegar, sugar, white pepper, tapioca starch, and stock. Stir well and set aside.
Step 3. Prepare the noodles. If using large sheets, cut noodles into 2-3 inched wide and 6 inches long. Microwave the noodles for 1-2 minutes until soft enough to separate the noodles. Be careful when handling hot noodles straight out of the microwave. Set aside the strands until ready.
Step 4. Make the fried noodles. Set a wok or large pan on high heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil, then add the garlic and noodles to the hot oil. Pour the sweet dark soy sauce over the noodles, then spread the noodles out as much as possible on the pan surface. Don't touch it for about 12 minutes. We're letting the noodles char a bit for the extra flavors. Gently flip the noodles to cook the other side. Let the noodles charred to a light golden brown for about 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and place into individual serving plates (3-4 plates) while waiting for the gravy to be ready.
Step 5. Add the rest of the oil to the same pan, turn the heat to medium-high, add the beef and garlic to the hot pan and cook for 2 minutes or until the beef is lightly browned but not fully cooked. Stir a couple of times.
Step 6. Add carrot and only the stems of the Chinese broccoli. Cook for 2 minutes until lightly tender and stir. We'll save the leafy part for the end. They cook very quickly.
Step 7. Add the gravy mixture to the pan. Before adding to the beef, use a fork or whisk to lightly stir the bowl before adding to dissolve any lumps from the tapioca starch.
Step 8. Add the leafy parts of the Chinese broccoli, stir and cook until the gravy thickens. Stir everything well in the wok and cook until the gravy thickens, about 3-4 minutes. Turn the heat off and scoop a generous amount of the gravy into each noodle platter. Serve immediately! Enjoy the best Rad Na, your new Thai favorite noodle dish! (;
Garnishing options for Rad Na
When eating Rad Na in Thailand, you usually have a handful of garnishing options at your table. Listed below are some of the standard condiments you’d find on the food stall tables on the streets of Thailand. Sprinkle these fun garnishes as needed with every few bites with your Rad Na. You can customize the flavors here with more heat, sour, salt, and sweetness. Enjoy!
- Chili vinegar. Make your own by mixing 4-10 finely diced chilis with ¼ cup rice or white vinegar, and let it soak for a bit. It will last up to 3-4 weeks in the fridge.
- Pickled Jalapenos.
- Thai chili flakes
- Fried garlic or shallot
- Ground white pepper
- Fish sauce
- White granulated sugar
Helpful Kitchen Notes
- Use a non-stick pan for making this dish, especially when frying the noodles. If using a wok, especially at high heat, I find that the noodles stick too much to the pan, causing the fragile noodles to break up too easily into small bits. Add a little oil to the pan if necessary to loosen up the noodles.
- Use a large wok or skillet to hold in all the gravy mixture, the vegetables, and the meat.
- Eaten as a breakfast meal, try it. It's so hearty and will keep you full for a long while.
- If your Asian market doesn't carry the wide rice noodles, use the widest dry ones you can find and follow the packet instructions before using with stir-frying.
- I've used frozen cut noodles before, and they work great. Be sure to cook them as per the packet directions.
- Buy extra noodles! (: Especially if you can find fresh rice noodles. With this recipe technique, the noodles are delicious on their own! Perfect for my little picky eaters. (;
Is Rad Na the same as pad see ew?
No. They are not the same dish. However, both recipes use wide rice noodles with a couple of the same sauces for seasoning. The flavors and textures are different.
What is Thai Rad Na gravy made of?
The Thai Rad Na recipe gravy is made from broth or stock, seasoned with different sauces, and thickened with tapioca, corn, or potato starch.
More Thai dishes you'll love
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- Pad Kee Mao
- Thai basil stir fry
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- Sticky rice
- Pad Mee, Thai rice vermicelli
- Kaffir lime leaves and substitute
- Different types of Thai noodles