Rad Na With Tofu

April  8, 2021
7 Ratings
Photo by WoonHeng Chia
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

Rad na is a popular noodle dish that you can order at many Thai restaurants. It's made from flat rice noodles and served with a thick, slightly sweet gravy. Unlike other Thai noodle dishes, such as pad kee mao, rad na itself is not spicy. That said, the typical accompaniment is spicy—quick-pickled chiles. When I first tried this noodle dish, it reminded me of wat tan hor (Cantonese-style flat rice noodles) from Malaysia. They both feature the same silky noodles and slurpable gravy, but wat tan hor is on the saltier side and usually has eggs in the gravy.

Rad na is often made with meat, like pork, chicken, or seafood. Today, we’ll enjoy this delicious meal using tofu as the main protein. The first step is marinating the tofu with vegan oyster sauce, cornstarch, and white pepper, to give it maximum flavor. Pan-frying then imparts a crisp exterior and locks in the moisture. This technique allows the tofu to absorb the broth later on—without breaking apart. Note: You can find fresh flat rice noodles at many Asian grocery stores, or you can use dried rice noodles and prepare them as directed on the package. —WoonHeng Chia

What You'll Need
  • Marinated tofu
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegan oyster sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 4 ounces firm tofu, drained and thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons neutral oil
  • Rad na
  • 1 tablespoon vegan oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 pound fresh flat rice noodles
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fermented bean paste or soybean paste
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup chopped gai lan (Chinese broccoli)
  • Pickled chiles, for serving
  1. Prepare the tofu marinade by whisking the cornstarch, oyster sauce, 1/2 tablespoon water, and the white pepper in a bowl until combined. Coat the tofu slices in this marinade.
  2. To cook the tofu, heat a nonstick skillet and add the oil. Pan-fry the tofu slices until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side, then transfer to a plate.
  3. Next, prepare the noodle sauce by mixing the oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and white pepper in a bowl, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Place the rice noodles in a large bowl. (If you are using store-bought fresh rice noodles, microwave them for 1 to 2 minutes to soften the strands.) Add the dark soy sauce to the noodles, rubbing with your fingers so the noodles are evenly coated.
  5. To cook the noodles, heat a large wok and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the noodles, spreading them out to cover the bottom of the pan. Pan-fry for 1 to 2 minutes, not stirring at all, until aromatic and slightly charred. (This step cooks the noodles and also gives them a wok-flavored smokiness.) Transfer noodles to a large plate.
  6. Using the same wok, add the remaining tablespoon of oil, followed by the garlic. Sauté until fragrant. Add the bean paste and continue to sauté for a few seconds. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Season with the prepared noodle sauce. Taste and season with salt if needed.
  7. Add the tofu slices to the boiling broth and cook for about 1 minute. (This step allows the tofu to absorb the broth's great flavor.)
  8. Stir the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water to make a slurry. Stir this slurry into the boiling broth, then let it keep cooking until the broth turns into a thin gravy.
  9. Add the gai lan and cook for another 45 seconds or so, until the gailan is as crisp-tender as you like.
  10. Ladle this gravy onto the noodles. Serve warm with a side of pickled chiles.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • AntoniaJames
  • Vida
  • JLL
  • txchick57

4 Reviews

Vida March 26, 2023
This turned out ok, but not great. The sauce is tasty. The fresh flat rice noodles were way too brittle to rub the soy sauce over with my fingers, they started to break immediately. I didn't think pan frying them accomplished anything, in fact they started to stick to the pan and dissolve; they would have been better off just boiling in with the gravy, which is ultimately what I switched too when they started to get ruined being pan fried alone. I changed the quantities of both tofu and the Chinese broccoli -- 4 oz of tofu and 1 cup of veggie to an entire pound of noodles would have been an insane amount of noodles compared to tofu and veggies.
JLL August 5, 2021
Absolutely beautiful. This one will go on high rotation.
AntoniaJames May 11, 2021
Quite good. A bit fussy, but well worth the effort. Most of the components can be prepared ahead of time. I used rice vinegar instead of pickled chili, which worked nicely. Definitely a keeper. ;o)
txchick57 April 7, 2021
Another winner. girlllllllllllllllllll ...... one of my favorite Thai dishes. i"ll try it.