Guay Tiew Neua Sub (Rice Noodles with Curried Meat Sauce)
Note: Fresh wide rice noodles or “ho fun” are classic for this dish and I recommend finding them if you can. They come already cooked and can be found at some Asian grocery stores in the refrigerated section. If they are cold and stuck together in a block when you buy them, heat the noodles in the microwave until hot, and you will be able to peel the noodles apart from each other. Alternatively, you can use thin rice noodles, the thread-thin ones which are the thinnest ones available on the market. These are sold dried, and you simply need to soak these in hot water for 3-4 minutes until soft, then drain well. Do not over soak them!
Mash together ground beef, fish sauce, and curry powder; set aside.
In a pot, sauté garlic and onion in a little vegetable oil over medium heat until the onion is translucent and the garlic starts to turn golden.
Turn heat up to medium high, add the beef and cook, breaking up the lumps and stirring constantly, until the beef is fully cooked. Stir in tomatoes, then add chicken stock, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer gently over medium low heat for a bout 15-20 minutes, reducing the liquid until it looks like a stew.
Once the sauce has reduced, stir the tapioca starch with the water to dissolve it, then add a splash of it to the sauce while stirring. If the sauce is simmering (as it should be), the sauce will thicken almost instantly. Stir in a little more slurry as needed until the liquid part of the sauce is thick enough that it is coating the beef pieces. Season with ground white pepper, then taste and adjust seasoning. Keep hot and covered until ready to serve.
If you want raw egg yolks on top (highly recommended!), crack all your eggs into a bowl, making sure the yolks are not broken and set aside for now.
When ready to serve, line serving plates with a handful of the green leaf lettuce.
Heat a wok or a large non-stick pan over high heat until very hot. Coat the bottom with a little oil, then add the noodles. Add a few dashes (1 – 1.5 tsp) of the black or dark soy sauce and give the noodles a quick toss, then spread them out and let sit until the bottom side is toasted in some spots. Give them a flip and let them toast some more until you get some nice charred spots. Remove from heat and divide amongst serving plates.
Stir the celery into the sauce and pour the sauce over the rice noodles. If serving yolks, make a little crater on top of the noodles and use your CLEAN hands to scoop out the yolk, letting the egg white drip back into the bowl as much as possible, and place one yolk on top of each portion. To eat, drizzle a little chili vinegar or Sriracha and mix the noodles well with the egg yolk and lettuce.
Cut the chilies in half and place on a foil-lined baking sheet, cut side down. Place the whole garlic cloves on the sheet as well. Broil the chilies and garlic on “high” until the chilies are charred in spots and the garlic cloves are browned. Transfer to a blender, add just enough of the vinegar to blend, and blend until there are no more big chunks.
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