Thai Hubby and I both zoomed back in time yesterday. Our first bite of rad na, aka lad nah, aka wide rice noodles with gravy, pork and Chinese broccoli was our Delorean that took us there.
Thai Hubby arrived at a soi, aka side street, in his home town of Sukhothai, Thailand. He had just watched a Thai street food vendor, an older, chubby woman wearing a faded red apron and a big smile, put wide dark brown tinted rice noodles into a faded blue plastic bowl. Then the vendor dipped into a huge metal pot the size of a barrel and ladled a luscious, gooey gravy of pork and Chinese broccoli over the soft noodles.
After promising to tell his grandma that the vendor says hi, Thai Hubby took the steaming bowl to a metal dark blue table with chipped paint and sat on a rickety plastic blue stool.
He picked up from the table a bottle of Thai Sriracha (which is only used in rad nah when in Sukhothai) and squirted it on the rad nah, sprinkled on some sugar, and a dash of vinegar too. He smiled big as he scooped a perfect bite of noodles, gravy, pork and broccoli onto a big metal spoon ready to devour it.
But I went back in time to the bustling market across the street from the tutoring school, where I taught back when my Thai Hubby was just a hot Thai guy that I was dating.
My Thai co-worker and I were standing in front of the rad na vendor in the back of the loud market, busy with the lunchtime rush. I was mystified as I watched the serious, older gentleman of a vendor efficiently put the dark rice noodles in a clear plastic bag and confidently, and like doing a magic trick, tie a red rubber band across the top so that the bag was now full of air like a balloon.
He did that even with the tiny bags of vinegar and peppers. Then he put all the balloon bags of rad na in to a plastic grocery bag. We carried it across the busy street, dashing across like we were playing tag with the motorcycles, taxis, buses and cars, and somehow made it safely across, to our office building, and up the elevator to our tutoring school on the third floor.
I grabbed some plastic white bowls from the kitchen, emptied our bags of rad na goodness into them, tore open some Thai chili pepper flakes to sprinkle on top,T and smiled as I scooped a perfect bite onto a big metal spoon, ready to devour it.
I’m glad that I figured out how to make rad nah that could bring us back in time—because the first time I attempted to make it, instead of smiling after my first bite, I cried out of frustration.
We hadn’t eaten rad nah since Thailand, which was years ago. So I was super stressed the first time I made it, trying so hard to make it taste like I remembered, but I was putting too much pressure on myself. I ended up with a gooey like glue broth with tough, tiny slices of pork. It was sad.
But this time I took it slow, adjusted what I messed up on, and the smiles came.
Lesson learned. Know that if you do mess up making a Thai dish you want to make so well so badly, the next time you make it, it will taste all the better and bring those nostalgic, happy tears to your eyes.
And what helped me the most was watching this awesome Thai cooking video, which is where my rad na recipe is adapted from. I like watching Thai cooking videos, but not many are well done, but his one was so cute and helpful. Hope it helps you too!Print
Looking for a heart-warming, cozy Thai dish that feels like a warm hug after a hard day? You have to try soothing Thai Pork Rice Noodles with Gravy, aka Rad Na Moo, for dinner tonight!
- 3 center cut pork loins, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp tapioca flour
- 1 tsp Thai seasoning sauce
- 1 tbsp Thai white soy sauce
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp white pepper powder
- 1 egg white
- 1/4 c. water
- 3–4 serving size of wide rice noodles (usually half a package)
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce or 2 tsp. Thai black soy sauce
- 1 tbsp oil
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp yellow bean sauce
- 3 c. pork broth (or chicken if you can’t find pork)
- 2 tbsp tapioca flour
- 1 tsp. water
- 1/2 pound of fresh chinese broccoli, coarsely chopped
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp Thai seasoning sauce
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Vinegar (optional)
- Thai Sriracha (optional)
- Mix marinade ingredients together. Add pork and marinate it at least four hours or even overnight.
- Soak the rice noodles for at least 30 minutes in cold water.
- Warm up a wok or pan and add cooking oil.
- Throw in the noodles and add water and sauce slowly until noodles become soft. (The oyster sauce or dark soy sauce is just to give some color and a lil flavor to the noodles so you don’t need too much of it.)
- Set noodles aside.
- Add oil to wok or pan and warm it.
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Throw in yellow bean paste, pork broth and pork.
- Cook until the pork is not pink.
- Mix water and tapioca flour in a bowl and stir it into the broth.
- Add in chinese broccoli, the sauces and sugar to taste. Cook until chinese broccoli is tender but still crisp, just a few minutes.
- If you like your rad na more gooey and less soupy, add a bit more tapioca flour. If you like it more brothy like my Thai Hubby, add in more broth.
- Feel free to put vinegar, and Thai sriracha on the table and add to your delight if you want to eat it Sukhothai style like us! Enjoy!
- Category: Thai
- Method: Stir-Fry
- Cuisine: Thai
- Serving Size: 3-4