A bowl of rad na Thai noodles.

Last weekend, I found myself rummaging through my pantry and came across a stockpile of Asian noodles: dried lo mein, udon, soba, ramen, dangmyeon, and a few packs of wide rice noodles.

Upon seeing the wide rice noodle, I immediately found myself dreaming about rad na, a favorite Thai dish served at The Continental, a restaurant around the corner from my first apartment in Philadelphia. Rad na is a stir fry, typically made with fresh rice noodles, meat, seafood, or tofu, and heaps of bean sprouts. At Continental, it’s served over shredded Romaine.

I found the combination of the warm, sauce-slicked noodles tangled with fresh bursts of bean sprouts and crisp, cool Romaine to be irresistible and couldn’t go more than a few weeks without ordering a bowl of it.

I even learned to make it at home (and wrote about it here!), after spotting the recipe for it in Aliza Green’s Starting with Ingredients. This was in 2006, while still living in Philadelphia, when I could zoom on my bike to the Asian market and return in no time with slabs of fresh rice noodles, mountains of bean sprouts, and any “exotic” ingredient from dried shrimp to fermented black bean paste. (What a dream!)

Today’s circumstances would call for some changes. Dried rice noodles would replace fresh, and the rad na sauce, which calls for oyster sauce, would need some altering. The last time I used oyster sauce I was disappointed with the flavor it imparted, and when I looked at its ingredient list, a mix of sugar, flavor enhancers, yeast extracts, oyster extracts, colors, and preservatives, it was no wonder.

A bit of googling gave me the courage to simply use a smaller amount of soy sauce in its place. And while perhaps some nuances of flavor were lost with this substitution, I didn’t find myself missing anything. Between the fish sauce, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and brown sugar along with toasted cashews, egg, scallions, and bean sprouts, there is plenty of flavor and texture here to make it as irresistible as ever.

A Few Notes:

  • Mise en place: The total cooking time for this dish is about 1 minute, so it’s important to have your ingredients all prepped: scallions sliced, nuts toasted and chopped, egg cooked and chopped, etc.
  • Noodles: I really love the wide dried rice noodles (10 mm) if you can find them. Asian markets carry them. I just ordered a package of these. I’ll keep you posted on how they work out.
  • Bean Sprouts: I was thrilled to find them at Shop Rite, because they add the loveliest crunch/texture to this dish. If you can’t find bean sprouts, something like finely chopped endive or Savoy cabbage might offer a similar crunch.
  • Egg: If you are comfortable scrambling the egg directly into the stir fry of noodles (or in the same pan, with the noodles pushed off to the side), go for it. I never love my results (poor technique on my part!) with this method do I do one of two things:
    • Joanne Change’s water bath baked eggs: I have been in the habit of making the Joanne Chang water bath baked eggs nearly weekly for about a month now. It is so nice to have a slab of egg on hand not only for egg sandwiches (see Instagram video here), but also for dishes like this stir fry, when you need a little protein. Find Joanne’s recipe online.
    • Crêpe-like omelet: Another nice method, which is outlined in the recipe, is to simply beat two eggs, and to cook them as you would a crêpe in a large, non-stick pan over low heat, swirling to create a very thin egg “pancake” Roll this into a coil and slice it into thin ribbons. See video below:

Here’s the play-by-play: Gather your ingredients.

Ingredients for Rad Na Thai noodles.

Make a simple sauce of brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, water, and fish sauce:

Sauce ingredients for Rad Na Thai.

Prep your ingredients: slice the Romaine and scallion; chop the cashews or peanuts, slice or cube the egg.

Chopped Romaine in a bowl.

Boil dried rice noodle for 4 – 6 minutes. Drain.

Noodles drained in a colander in the sink.

Heat a wok with some oil, add the chili flakes, then the noodles, then the sauce, then everything else. Cook for about a minute. This is definitely a recipe where mise en place is important.

Rad na Thai in a wok.

Dump your noodle mixture over the chopped Romaine.

A bowl of freshly made rad na Thai noodles.

Toss to combine. Serve immediately, passing more hot sauce on the side, if you wish.

A bowl of rad na Thai noodles.
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A bowl of rad na Thai noodles.

Rad Na Thai Noodles


  • Author: Alexandra Stafford
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

Description

Adapted from Aliza Green’s Starting with Ingredients, this variation replaces the 6 tablespoons of oyster sauce with 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and 3 tablespoons of water. I’m also using brown sugar in place of white. If you are sensitive to salt, consider using low-sodium soy salt.

Notes:

  • Mise en place: The total cooking time for this dish is about 1 minute, so it’s important to have your ingredients all prepped: scallions sliced, nuts toasted and chopped, egg cooked and chopped, etc.
  • Noodles: I really love wide dried rice noodles (10 mm) if you can find them. Asian markets carry them. I just ordered a package of these. I’ll keep you posted on how they work out.
  • Egg: If you are comfortable scrambling the egg directly into the stir fry of noodles (or in the same pan, with the noodles pushed off to the side), go for it. I never love my results (poor technique on my part!) with this method do I do one of two things:
    • Joanne Change’s water bath baked eggs: I have been in the habit of making the Joanne Chang water bath baked eggs nearly weekly for about a month now. It is so nice to have a slab of egg on hand not only for egg sandwiches (see Instagram video here), but also for dishes like this stir fry, when you need a little protein. Find Joanne’s recipe online.
    • Crepe-like omelet: Another nice method, which is outlined in the recipe (and at the end of the video), is to simply beat two eggs, and to cook them as you would a crepe in a large, non-stick pan over low heat, swirling to create a very thin egg “pancake” Roll this into a coil and slice it into thin ribbons.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten, see notes above
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 head romaine
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more if you like heat)
  • 1 bunch (4-6) scallions, thinly sliced on the bias (if you wish)
  • 1/2 pound fresh mung bean sprouts
  • 1 cup roasted cashew or peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 8-oz dried wide rice noodles, see notes above
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil
  • hot sauce, for serving, optional

Instructions

  1. Place a large pot of water on to boil. 
  2. If you are making the egg crepe/omelet, heat a large (11-inches) nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon neutral oil. Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt and pour into the center of the pool of oil. Swirl pan so that eggs coat the pan in as thin a layer as the pan will allow. Turn heat to low. Cook 20-30 seconds. The top may not look entirely cooked. Turn off the heat. Roll the egg pancake into a coil and transfer to a board. Thinly slice into ribbons. Set aside. (Video guidance here.)
  3. Make the rad na sauce: Combine the soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, and 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Set aside near your cooktop. 
  4. Prep the remaining ingredients. Slice the Romaine into 1/2-inch pieces, and transfer to a large bowl. Arrange everything else in small bowls near your cooktop: the pepper flakes, scallions, bean sprouts, nuts, eggs.
  5. Boil the dried rice noodles for 4 to 6 minutes (check your package for timing, as each will be different). Taste a noodle for doneness. When done, drain. Do not rinse. 
  6. Heat a skillet or wok over high heat. Add the oil and the pepper flakes, followed immediately by the noodles — be careful adding the noodles as water clinging to them will spatter. Use tongs to quickly coat the noodles in the oil; then add the sauce, and use tongs again to coat them in the sauce. Add everything else: the bean sprouts, scallions, egg, and nuts, and toss to combine. Cook for about a minute total; then pour everything over the Romaine. Toss gently to combine. Serve immediately, passing more hot sauce on the side, if you wish. 
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop, Wok
  • Cuisine: Thai

Keywords: rad na, noodles, Thai, egg