Lad na is a Lao-Chinese noodle dish, made popular as a street food in Laos, Thailand. Also spelled Lard na, lard nar and lard nah, it is traditionally prepared with stir-fried wide rice noodles and protein (chicken, beef or tofu), as well as enoki mushrooms aka straw mushrooms, broccoli, black bean garlic sauce and/or oyster sauce. A friend of mine suggested we try making a vegan version, and after a few minutes of research we decided it would be easy to make it vegan and low carb. First off, after looking online at photos of traditional Lad Na, I realized that wide rice noodles (the type that most recipes call for) resemble the Shiritaki noodles I’ve been using as a replacement for flat egg noodles in pad thai– like in this recipe. Secondly, the best vegetarian replacement for oyster sauce is mushroom stir fry sauce, most of the ingredients for which are already present in black bean garlic sauce. Next, I swapped an equivalent amount of stevia for sugar, and then reduced the fat content by adding a tsp of sesame oil to pre-boiled Shirataki noodles for flavor only– as opposed to frying the noodles in a wok with cottonseed oil. Lastly, sodium free vegetarian broth served as a simple replacement for the traditional beef broth.
14 oz fettuccine-style shirataki noodles*
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
16 oz (1pkg) extra firm tofu or unseasoned seitan, cut in thin slices
1/2 cup enoki mushrooms aka straw mushrooms (most Asian markets and some conventional supermarkets sell these fresh, but you can always use a can in a pinch)
2 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder*
2 cups rapini aka broccoli raab or broccoli rabe* chopped
5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 medium piece of fresh ginger root
2 Tbsp black bean garlic sauce* (most brands do not contain oyster juice or extract, but read to the label to be sure)
2 cups organic low sodium vegetable broth
Stevia, to taste. To be safe, consult the Stevia Conversion Chart
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp black pepper
Chili garlic sauce, to taste (optional)
Add Skinny Shirataki noodles to a pot of water and boil for 1 minute. Rinse in cold water and set aside.
Add 1 tablespoon sesame oil to the noodles and toss until noodles are cooked. Cover and remove from heat.
Saute garlic and ginger in 1 Tbsp of your preferred cooking oil over medium heat until golden. Add the broccoli and saute until cooked. Add 1 1/2 cup vegetable stock. When stock starts to boil, add tofu and season with black bean garlic sauce (premixed with optional stevia). Stir well and let cook a bit longer. Mix the arrowroot flour separately with the remaining 1/2 cup vegetable stock, black and white pepper; then stir in with the tofu & broccoli until it thickens. Remove from heat.
Spoon the gravy over the noodles. Serve with chili garlic sauce, optional.
*as is the case with all the recipes on this blog, when you don’t have access to certain ingredients please don’t write it off! In this recipe, you can substitute regular broccoli for the rapini/broccoli rabe. Cut it lengthwise so the broccoli florettes are longer and thinner, if you want to adhere to the aesthetic (see picture). In place of arrowroot powder (which can be hard to find depending on where you live) use corn starch in the same proportion. If there aren’t Asian grocery stores or health food stores in your area, it might be hard to find things like black bean garlic sauce or chili garlic sauce. Not to mention Shirataki noodles–although you can make them yourself. I have yet to master it, but as soon as I do I will share the technique. I’m researching and re-developing/adapting recipes and plan to provide more information about substitutions for hard-to-find ingredients. Let me know in the comments if you have any thoughts on this, including any difficulties you’ve had with recipes on this blog or other blogs/cookbooks. I would love to start a conversation about this.