Over the years, I’ve picked up a smattering of Thai words and phrases from the boyfriend. Not surprisingly, most of my vocabulary revolves around food.
When I made rad na today, I was a little confused because I actually recognized “na” as meaning “face” in Thai — one of the few non-food-related words that I know. It’s not uncommon for the Thai language to confuse me, so I initially didn’t think much of it, but the boyfriend later confirmed that I was right and explained that “rad” means “to pour”. Put together then, rad na means “to pour over the face” referring to pouring sauce over the face or top of noodles.
In English, rad na generally gets translated to “noodles in thick gravy” or something similar. I think it’s really a shame because both names, in Thai and English, don’t do justice to this unassuming, yet delicious plate of noodles.
Marinate the chicken breast in 1 tablespoon tapioca flour and 1 tablespoon water.
While the chicken is marinating, saute the garlic on medium heat until golden brown. Then add the soybean paste and saute for 1-2 more minutes. Add the marinated chicken and cook until it's halfway done.
Turn the heat up to high and add 1 cup water and 1 cup chicken broth. Let the mixture boil while you add oyster sauce, sugar, and white pepper. Adjust these seasonings to your tastes, adding fish sauce if needed for additional saltiness.
Add the gai lan. Then mix 2 tablespoons tapioca flour with 1/2 cup water and slowly add this mixture to the pot, stirring as you add. The final sauce should be fairly thick and somewhat sticky. Once it's done, take off heat and keep warm while you prepare the noodles.
Separate the wide rice noodles from each other, dipping in simmering water for a few seconds if needed. Then saute quickly in a pan over high heat with a little canola oil and 2 tablespoons thick dark soy sauce until they are slightly charred.