½ small (or 1/3 medium) Yellow Onion– finely chopped
2 medium Garden Tomatoes – finely chopped
3–4 pieces Chinese Broccoli – stems peeled and thinly sliced at an angle, leafy green parts cut into rough chunks
250 ml / 1 cup Chicken Broth
1.5 TBLS Corn Starch + ½ cup water – mixed together to make a slurry
1 cup Thai Sweet Basil Leaves
To Serve (optional): Chilies steeped in vinegar (prik nam som) and Thai chili powder, to taste
Marinate the pork: Combine the ground pork, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and ground white pepper in a medium bowl. Mix well to combine, then set aside.
Make the sauce: Whisk together the oyster sauce, fish sauce, light soy sauce, sweet dark soy sauce, white sugar, ground white pepper, and sesame oil in a small measuring cup (or bowl) until combined well. Set aside.
Prepare all the fresh ingredients: Roughly chop the garlic, red and green Bird’s Eye chilies, and halve the Thai Prik Kee Nu chilies (if using). Add to a mortar and add 1/8 TSP (a small pinch) of salt, then pound into a course paste using the pestle. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. Finely chop the yellow onion and tomatoes. Peel and thinly slice the stems of the Chinese broccoli, and cut the leafy green part into rough chunks. Pick the Thai sweet basil leaves off the stems, then rinse and pat-dry with a paper towel. If using fresh rice noodle sheets (not pre-cut noodles), cut ¾ to 1-inch wide strands from the sheets. Everything by the side of your wok on the stovetop
For the Thai Pork & Tomato Gravy Noodles:
Char the noodles: Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil over high heat in a large nonstick wok or heavy bottomed deep skillet. Once hot, add the rice noodles and spread them out in the wok. Allow to cook for 15-20 seconds, then toss and allow them to cook again for another 15-20 seconds, or until they’re starting to char around the edges. Add the sweet dark soy sauce and stir-fry for 20-30 seconds, until coated in the sauce and slightly charred. Divide the noodles onto two serving plates. (Note: The noodles may clump together a little during the charring process, but that’s okay.)
Stir-fry onion and garlic-chili paste: Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of canola oil over medium-high heat in the wok. Once hot, add the onion and sauté for a minute until starting to soften. Then add the garlic chili paste and stir-fry for 30 seconds to combine until fragrant.
Cook the pork: Add the marinated ground pork and cook for 2 minutes, breaking up the clumps with your spatula, until the almost cooked through.
Cook the veggies: Add the tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes, smushing them with your spatula occasionally to help break them down. Then add the Chinese broccoli stems and leafy green parts and toss briefly to combine, until the leafy parts have slightly wilted.
Pour in the broth and sauce: Pour in the chicken broth and sauce, stir to combine. Simmer for a minute until fragrant.
Add the cornstarch slurry: Mix together 1.5 TBLS corn starch and ½ cup of water in a small measuring cup or bowl until combined well. Then stir in the corn starch slurry and simmer for another minute, or until the gravy has thickened. If the consistency is too thick for your liking, add 1-2 tablespoons of water to thin it out. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed by adding more fish sauce, white pepper, and sugar.
Stir through basil: Stir through the Thai sweet basil leaves until lightly wilted – about 10 seconds. Then switch off the heat.
To Serve: Ladle the pork, tomato, and veggies gravy evenly on top of the charred noodles on the plates. Serve immediately with chili vinegar and a sprinkling of Thai chili powder if desired.
Meat options: Ground pork, chicken, beef, turkey all work well in this dish.
Veggies: Feel free to add in some sliced baby corn, carrots, zucchini, or mushrooms to the tomato gravy if you’d like.
To make this vegetarian/vegan: Use OmniPork, Beyond Beef, or another plant-based ground meat substitute. Alternatively, omit the pork and marinade ingredients and add some crispy pan-fried tofu cubes at the end. Be sure to use a vegetarian oyster sauce, and either a vegan fish sauce or soy sauce to replace the fish sauce.
To make this gluten-free: Use a gluten free oyster sauce, soy sauces, and make sure that the fish sauce you’re using is GF certified.
Mortar and pestle: If you don’t own a mortar and pestle, finely chop the garlic and chilies instead. Alternatively, pulse into a course paste in a mini blender.
If using dried wide rice noodles: Prepare 150 grams / 5.3 ounces of noodles according to package instructions. Immediately toss them with a bit of oil after draining to prevent them from sticking. Then use as indicated for this recipe.
Make ahead tips. You can make the pork and tomato gravy in the morning or the day before and store in a sealed airtight container in the fridge. Reheat in a wok or pot on the stovetop over medium-high heat until hot throughout. However, I recommend making the charred rice noodles just before serving. Do not combine the two until ready to eat as the rice noodles will continue to soak up the sauce over time, resulting in a sauce coated noodles dish instead of gravy noodles.