Here’s a new trick to cool down on a hot summer day: Eat spicy food. It’s science. The sweat you make after eating spicy food is your body processing the chemical capsaicin, the hot compound in chilies, hot peppers, and the spices they’re made from.
“After a series of chemical reactions,” says Rocco DiSpirito, award-winning chef and author of Rocco’s Healthy + Delicious, “spices like cayenne pepper not only cool you down, but can also help rev up your metabolism and boost fat-burning by up to 25 percent.”
At the same time, your body handles heat like a radiator in a car. When you’re hot, your body pushes blood out to your outer, or periphery, areas — which is why you become flushed or your veins appear larger. “Conversely, you become clammy and pale when you’re very cold, as the opposite is happening,” says Dr. David Greuner of NYC Surgical Associates. “Spicy foods cool you down, because your body tries to use the outside or periphery to control your inner body temperature, or core temperature.”
So, if you’re feeling the heat this summer, eating something super hot — like these meals — may be the answer.
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Queso Fundido Burger
“I'm not a burger fanatic, so I like to prepare something that makes sense to me,” says chef Rick Bayless. “Blending ground chuck with chorizo lends richness and spice, while the rajas makes it more mouthwatering. The gooey melted cheese is a no-brainer. Best served on a hot day with a cold Modelo Negra.”
- 2 fresh poblano chiles
- 8 ounces fresh Mexican chorizo sausage, casing removed (about 1 cup)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 medium white onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 1-1/2 pounds ground beef chuck
- 1 to 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, seeded, finely chopped
- 8 thick slices Monterey Jack cheese
- 4 hamburger buns, lightly toasted
- Roast the chiles over an open flame or close up under a preheated broiler, turning them regularly, until evenly blackened and blistered — about 5 minutes for open flame, 10 minutes for the broiler. Place in a bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, and cool until handleable. Rub off the blackened skin, pull out the seed pod, and scrape out the seeds. Rinse briefly to remove any stray seeds and bits of blackened skin. Cut into 1/4-inch strips.
- Set a large (10-inch) skillet over medium heat. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring to break up the clumps, until the chorizo starts to brown and is cooked through (about 10 minutes). Scrape onto a plate lined with paper towels and let cool.
- Return the skillet to medium heat, measure in the oil, and add the onion. Cook, stirring regularly until it’s soft and beginning to caramelize — about 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and poblano and cook for 2 minutes. Taste and season with salt. Scrape the rajas into a bowl and cover to keep warm.
- In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, the cooled chorizo, and the chipotles. Mix thoroughly but lightly to keep from turning out an overly compact texture. Divide into four portions, lightly pressing them into patties the size of your buns.
- Heat gas grill to medium-high on one side, medium on the other, or light a charcoal fire and let it burn until the charcoal is covered with white ash (and still quite hot), then bank the coals to one side.
- Lay the hamburger patties on the hottest side of the grill and cook until the grill grates have seared marks on one side (should take about 2 minutes on a hot grill), then flip and cook until the hamburger is a little less done than you like (usually a couple minutes longer for rare to medium rare). Move the burgers to the cooler side of the grill.
- Lay one piece of cheese on top of each burger, top with a portion of the warm rajas, and add another piece of cheese. Close the lid and continue cooking until the cheese has melted (about 1 minute). Remove from the grill and place on a toasted bun. Serve immediately.
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“I love this dish because it is so hearty and humble, and it is a real comfort food for me,” says chef Aarón Sánchez from FOX’s MasterChef. “The layering and depth of flavor in combination with the fresh elements makes this meal a perfect way to fight fire with fire this summer.”
- 1 6-pound boneless pork butt
- 1 quart chicken stock (low-sodium store-bought is fine)
- 1 head garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
- 1 teaspoon dried whole oregano (preferably Mexican), crumbled
- 2-1/2 cups Chile Colorado sauce*
- 3 15-ounce cans white hominy, drained
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 8 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips
- Finely chopped white onion
- Thinly sliced radishes
- Lime wedges
- Dried whole oregano (preferably Mexican)
- Put the pork in a large heavy stockpot or Dutch oven. Add 3 quarts water, the stock, garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt, and bring to a boil. Skim off and discard any foam that rises to the surface. Stir in the oregano, reduce the heat, and simmer gently, uncovered, until the pork is tender — about 3 hours.
- Transfer the pork to a cutting board. Shred the pork with two forks and return it to the broth along with the Chile Colorado sauce and hominy and another teaspoon of salt.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
- While the pozole cooks, line a baking sheet with paper towels. Pour 1/2 inch of vegetable oil into a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the surface shimmers but the oil is not smoking (if it is, reduce the heat), fry the tortilla strips in batches — so you don’t crowd the skillet — just until they’re golden brown, about 3 minutes per batch. Transfer them to the paper towels to drain and sprinkle them very lightly with salt while they’re still hot.
- Serve bowls of pozole with the tortilla strips and bowls of onion, radish slices, lime wedges, and oregano, and let your guests garnish their own servings.
*Chile Colorado Sauce
- 3 medium Spanish or white onions, quartered
- 8 medium fresh tomatillos, husked and washed
- 4 plum tomatoes, cored and quartered
- 8 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- 1 ancho chile (1/2 ounce), stemmed, seeded, and deveined
- 2 guajillo chiles (1/2 ounce), stemmed, seeded, and deveined
- 1 quart chicken stock (low-sodium store-bought is fine)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the broiler.
- Put the onion, tomatillos, tomatoes, and garlic on a baking pan and drizzle them with olive oil. Put the baking sheet under the broiler and cook without turning until the vegetables start to get charred, about 7 minutes. Remove, set aside, and let cool to room temperature.
- In a large dry skillet over medium-low heat, toast the guajillos, turning them over halfway through, just until they smell great (about 1 minute). Transfer them to a bowl, cover them with hot water, and let them soak until they’re soft (about 30 minutes). Drain the chiles and discard the soaking water.
- Combine the vegetables and chiles in a blender with the chicken stock (you’ll have to work in batches) and puree until the mixture is very smooth. Transfer each batch to a bowl as they’re done, and stir the batches together well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month.
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Honey Jalapeno Glazed Salmon
“Being that hot and cold receptors are the same, sometimes our nerves and brains confuse the cold for hot and the hot for cold,” says Stowe Mountain Lodge’s executive sous chef Jackie Cochran.
This is true with touch as well. Tastes run in tandem with body temperature as it relates to spice. “Sometimes we get hot and sometimes cold when eating spicy food,” Cochran says. “Cayenne pepper actually heightens the receptors and magnifies the effects of spice, in essence making the tongue very aware of temperature changes. The spice opens the receptors and actually enhances all other taste as a result. Could there be another ingredient in play that would make you feel a slight chill and is being enhanced by the cayenne? Simple answer: yes. The perfect spice meal for summer would have to be Honey Jalapeno Glazed Salmon.”
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (or lime juice)
- 1 large jalapeño pepper, stemmed and sliced
- 2 6-ounce salmon fillets
- sea salt
- fresh ground pepper
- Combine honey, lemon juice, and jalapeño in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer over very low heat for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, rinse salmon and pat dry. Brush lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Grill or broil for about 5 minutes per side over medium heat, brushing with half the honey mixture. When salmon is cooked to your liking, remove from grill or broiler and drizzle with remaining glaze.
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Spicy crab not a ramen
“For the summer we serve this delicious ramen at The Fat Monk,” says Chef Rob McCue of The Fat Monk in New York. Delicious is fair: The recipe includes fresh cracked legs of suckling crab over a steaming bowl of ramen noodles, finished with white miso broth, sweet corn, bamboo shoots, shaved onions, chili, butter, egg, and cilantro. “The only problem now, and one you get over quick, is it’s summer time! But this ramen, as hot as it is, will actually cool you down. Hot broth travels through the body faster, making you sweat, in return cooling your core down.”
Ingredients: Spicy Crab Ramen Broth
- 2 4cm-by-6cm pieces konbu
- 750ml water
- 2 cups dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi)
- 2 Dungeness crabs, picked over and shells used for broth
For The Miso base:
- 120g white miso paste
- 2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 50ml soy sauce
- 1/2 cup sake
- 50g Dungeness crabmeat
- 55g fresh ramen noodles
- Handful of fresh bean sprouts
- 100g canned bamboo shoots
- 50g fresh-shucked corn
- 3 shaved scallions
- 2 Anaheim peppers, finely sliced
- 30g butter, cut into two slices
- 1 64-degree egg or a very soft boiled egg
- Fresh torn cilantro
- Start by making the dashi broth:
- Fill a medium-sized pot with 750ml of water, heat to 150 degrees, and add konbu. Turn heat off and soak for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour, discard the konbu.
- Next, add the bonito flakes to the pot, and place back over medium heat. This time, let the broth boil for 1 minute. After 1 minute, remove the pot from the heat and allow the bonitio flakes to settle to the bottom (approximately 12 minutes).
- Strain the stock using a sieve. The bonito flakes can be discarded.
- Now, pour the strained dashi broth into a sealable container, and keep in the fridge until ready to use.
- *The ramen is very quick to assemble from here. Get your toppings and ingredients ready and positioned close by, and ready to go.
- Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. This will be for the ramen noodles.
- Place another larger pot onto the stove and in the base of this, heat the sesame oil. When the oil is hot, add the cleaned dungenous crab shells, sauté until fragrant and you build some flavor, add the miso paste, and fry for around 3 minutes until it darkens. Then, add the soy sauce to the miso, and fry for a few seconds longer.
- Next, deglaze the pot with 1/2-cup sake, scraping the bottom of the pan get all the fond up. Burn off sake for 1 minute, add the dashi stock to the miso, and stir as you do so, until the miso is evenly blended through. Boil for 1 minute, strain to discard crab shells.
- When the pot of water is boiling, add the ramen noodles and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Drain, then immediately divide the noodles between two serving bowls. Place the bean shoots, bamboo, sliced scallions, chili, corn, and soft egg around the noodles, place butter over noodles, then ladle the piping-hot miso broth directly over the top.
- Finish with crabmeat and cracked claws.
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Tum Tang Carpaccio
"The Tum Tang Carpaccio has a succulent combination of cucumbers, peanuts, radishes, locally grown tamarind, and lastly, a dash of serrano pepper bits which gives it its unique spicy twist,” says Dominic Esposito, Director of Food and Beverage, Marriott Cancun Resorts. “It’s deliciously light, fresh, and crisp — simply perfect for summer.”
Tamarind-Lime Dressing Ingredients:
- 5 ounces tamarind pulp
- 1-1/5 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 pinch garlic, minced
- 2 ounces fresh lemon juice
- In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients. Set aside.
- 8 ounces cucumber, sliced paper thin
- 8 pear tomatoes, sliced in half, 4 red and 4 yellow
- 12 radishes, sliced paper thin
- 4 shallots, sliced julienne
- 1 serrano pepper, sliced paper thin
- 1 ounce toasted peanuts, crushed
- Micro basil and edible flowers, to garnish
- Sea salt, to taste
- Arrange the sliced cucumbers in a circular pattern around a large round plate.
- Drizzle 3 ounces dressing over the slices.
- Evenly spread the peanuts, shallots, serrano pepper, radish, tomatoes, and micro basil in a decorative way.
- Season with sea salt and drizzle with tamarind-lime
dressing just before serving.
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“Our Mussaman Curry, though not particularly spicy heat-wise, contains a myriad of herbs and Thai spice, including coriander and star anise,” says Arun Sampanthavivat, owner and chef of Arun’s Thai Restaurant in Chicago. “This delightful dish cools in another way, by combining coconut milk with bright, aromatic flavors to refresh and lift the palate."
- Chicken legs
- 8 fingerling potatoes
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1-1/2 cans coconut milk
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 2 cups cooking oil, for frying chicken
- 1 tablespoon fried shallot
Mussaman Curry Paste (mixture of herbs & spices)
- 1 stalk lemon grass, thin sliced
- 2 thinly sliced pieces galangal (Thai ginger)
- 7 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 2 teaspoons cilantro stems, minced
- 2 guajillos (Thai chili), presoaked and seeded
- 1/2 teaspoon kaffir lime rind, minced
- 2 teaspoons shrimp paste
Spices (Toasted or Fried)
- 2-3 cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon black or white pepper
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 2 star anise pods
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon palm sugar
- 1 tablespoon tamarind juice
- 2-3 tablespoons fish sauce
- Pound Mussaman curry paste with mortar and pestle (can also use food processor or blender). Omit cinnamon, anises, and cloves. Set aside.
- Fry chicken lightly. Set aside.
- Boil fingerling potatoes al dente. Set aside.
- Heat up cooking oil in a pot.
- Add half portion of coconut milk.
- Add curry paste and stir until fragrant.
- Add chicken and the rest of coconut milk.
- Add chicken stock.
- Add bay leaves, cinnamon, star anises, and cloves.
- Add roasted peanuts.
- Season to taste with all seasoning.
- Simmer until chicken is tender.
- Sprinkle fried shallots.
- Turn off heat and serve with rice.
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Ají Amarillo Ceviche
This dish is an addictive mix of shrimp, ají amarillo leche de tigre, cancha, sweet potato, habanero pepper, and choclo. "Peruvian cuisine has a vast amount of dishes that call for a spicy chili common to the region called ají amarillo," says Executive Chef Miguel Gomez at Pisco y Nazca, a Peruvian gastrobar located in South Florida. "When used properly, the chili can bring out the cooler flavors in some of the other ingredients. In this ceviche dish with leche de tigre, the simplicity of ingredients used in the sauce against the complexity of flavor of the chili provide the right balance. People are always looking for new ways to add flavor and spice to what they eat, and sauces like ají amarillo can do just that."
Leche de Tigre Ingredients:
- 1 cup lime juice
- 1 cup fish broth
- 2 ounces celery
- ½ ounce garlic cloves
- 2 ounces fresh fish flesh
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 ounces red onions
- 1/4 bunch of cilantro
- In a blender, add lime juice, fish broth, celery, garlic, fish flesh, and salt.
- Blend on high speed for 2 minutes.
- Add onions and cilantro to blender, pulse 3 times.
- Strain liquid and store in a refrigerator.
Ají Amarillo Ceviche Ingredients:
- 4 ounces white fish corvina (cut in small/medium-sized cubes)
- 1 ounce red onions (cut julienne style)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 tablespoon celery (finely chopped)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 ounces lime juice
- 1 tablespoon ají amarillo paste
- 1/4 cup leche de tigre
- Pinch of chopped cilantro
- In a cold mixing bowl, add white fish corvina, then season with salt, garlic, and celery.
- Mix well and then add the ají amarillo paste, cilantro, and leche de tigre. Lastly, mix until ají amarillo is mixed in well.
- Serve: You can serve this with a nice side of boiled sweet potato or roasted sweet potato, which gives a nice balance of sweet and tart.
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Yamaguchi Style Ramen
“Growing up in Japan, I had always enjoyed eating tan tan (very spicy) ramen with gyoza (pork pot stickers) in the dead of summer," says Chef Roy Yamaguchi, head Chef of Humble Market Kitchin in Marriott Wailea Beach Resort - Marriott, Maui. "I would add rayu (chili oil) to shoyu (soy sauce) for the gyoza dipping sauce. So serving spicy dishes in Hawaii is only natural, and my Yamaguchi-style ramen with pork belly, dumplings, and chili oil recalls those childhood flavors. When I was cooking in Thailand, I would drink warm tea to keep my body temperature adjusted to the hot kitchen environments I worked in. I applied the same idea to my ramen at Humble Market Kitchin in Wailea, one of the sunniest destinations in Hawaii.”
- 14 ounces Dashi
- 1 package noodles (fluffed)
- 2 pieces gyoza (dumpling)
- 1 each sous vide egg (45 minutes at 65 °C)
- 1 ounce ground pork (see recipe below)
- 1 piece choi sum, blanched and cut into thick batons
- 1/2 ounce bean sprouts, blanched and shocked
- 1-1/2 inch block pork belly, sous vide, seasoned with salt, and hard-seared on all sides, sliced into 1/8-inch thick slices
- 3 ounces sesame paste
- 1/2 Roma tomato, roasted
- Garnish: rayu (chili oil), crispy garlic, Tokyo negi (variety of green onion)
- On a pie tin, lay out: Ground pork, Roma tomato, pork belly, choi sum, bean sprouts.
- Scoop sesame paste into ramen bowl.
- Heat bowl in oven with paste.
- Blanch in water: Noodles (60 seconds).
- Dumplings: Heat 12 ounces of dashi in a small pot. Once hot, pull ramen bowl and pie tin. Add dashi to bowl and paste, whisk constantly. Add noodles and dumplings.
Ramen: Ground Pork components:
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cloves ginger
- To taste Youki red paste (Tobanjan)
- To taste Youki black paste (Tenmanjan)
- Heat oil over medium heat.
- Add garlic and ginger, caramelize until golden.
- Add pork, cook through.
- Add red and black Youki paste.
- Mix until incorporated.
- Adjust seasoning.
(Note: yields more than required for recipe)
- 5 gallons pork stock
- 5 gallons chicken stock
- 4 feet Konbu
- 1 bag Katsuobushi
- Bring to a boil.
- Add katsuo and Konbu.
- Steep for 30-45 minutes.
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Beef, Broccoli, Shichimi Togarashi, Brown Sauce Beef
“I spent a lot of late-night recipe developing prior to opening Boutros," says Allen Dabagh, owner and head chef at Boutros based in Brooklyn, NY. "One night with my general manager, we ordered Chinese food and we were inspired to put a spin on the dish. I remembered I had been playing with spices from Sahadi, including Shichimi Togarashi, a spicy seasoning, which adds a great and delicate kick to the broccoli. At Boutros, we caramelize the fish sauce, add ginger and roasted garlic into a sauce, which delivers an umami flavor complemented along with the spicy Shichimi Togarashi."
- Bavette or skirt steak or hanger steak
- Cut apart the broccoli and add individual florets. They can be dropped in boiling water and then placed in ice water to reserve the bright green color, but you can also go straight onto the grill.
- Season with olive oil, salt and Shichimi Togarashi.
Ingredients: Broccoli puree
- 1/2 cup Mirin
- 4 cups broccoli
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 5 roasted garlic cloves
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Split your head of garlic in half, wrap in foil with a little olive oil, roast on 450 degrees until golden brown, then remove and allow cooling for use.
- Place mirin in a small pan and reduce by half, then add your vegetable stock and reserve until ready to blend.
- Blanch broccoli until tender (about 2 minutes), then blanch the spinach until wilted, about 10 seconds. Drain any excess water from the broccoli and squeeze out any excess water from the spinach.
- Add all the ingredients into your blender and blend on high until sauce is completely puréed.
Brown Sauce ingredients
- 1/2 cup mirin
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup shallot
- 1/4 cup ginger
- 1 whole head of roasted garlic
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup golden raisins
- Put the Mirin, fish sauce, and sugar into a sauce pan large enough for all the ingredients to fit and simmer until it begins to caramelize.
- Once caramelized, add all the remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes before transferring it to a blender.
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Hot Fire Chicken
At Compére Lapin in New Orleans, St. Lucian Chef Nina Compton knows all about eating hot in the heat. Her Hot Fire Chicken is a Caribbean twist on a southern favorite and features a saucy, spicy chicken breast with bread and butter pickles, cubed mango, and slaw. According to Compton: “The pickles, mango, and slaw add a cooling effect to the intensity of the spice in the chicken and the flavors work harmoniously.” Compton also offers up a sorbet after the dish, to further subside any heat. "The brine for the chicken in this dish uses a Jerk spice seasoning, giving the chicken a kick even before cooking. Add to that the hot fire sauce and this dish packs some heat."
Hot Fire Chicken Buttermilk Brine
- 6 boneless chicken thighs with skin
- 1 quart buttermilk
- 2 shallots, julienned
- 10 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 bunch thyme
- 4 tablespoons Calabrese chili puree
- 4 tablespoons Jerk spice (recipe below)
- 1 tablespoon chili flakes
- 6 tablespoons salt
Jerk Spice Mix
- 6 tablespoons cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 2 cups flour
- 16 ounces canola oil
- Combine all the dry ingredients and then add the remaining ingredients. Brine the chicken overnight.
- Remove the chicken, dredge in flour, and fry at 350 degrees for 6-8 mins, depending on the size of the thigh. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, place the hot fire sauce (recipe below) and evenly coat the chicken.
Hot fire chicken sauce: Wet ingredients
- 1 quart Original Franks Red Hot
- 25g red wine vinegar
- 250g water
- 15 g brown sugar
- 5g nutmeg
- 6.25g ginger
- 125g paprika
- 6.25g cayenne pepper
- 12.5g onion powder
- 12.5g garlic powder
- 6.25g cinnamon
- Mix together wet ingredients in a large container.
- Add the dry ingredients. Mix together and store until ready to use.
- 2 large mangoes
- 1 quart white wine vinegar
- 1 cup sugar
- Peel the mango and dice into 1-inch cubes.
- Heat the vinegar and sugar together until the sugar is melted.
- Pour over the mango and let cool.
Carrot and chayote slaw with mojo
- Large carrot, peeled
- 1 Chayote
- 1 piece scallion, julienned
- 1/2 bunch cilantro, picked
- 1/4 cup Mojo (see recipe below)
- Lemon, zested
- Lime, zested
- 1/2 quart orange juice
- 1/8 cup lemon juice
- 1/8 cup lime juice
- 1/2 habanero
- 2 cloves whole garlic
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Oranges, zested
- Lime, zested
- Lemon, zested
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 cup blended oil
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
- Sherry vinegar to taste
- For slaw: Using a mandolin, thinly shave the carrot and chayote, add the cilantro and scallions. Dress with mojo and citrus zest.
- For Mojo: Reduce all the juice to half the volume. Zest the garlic and habanero. Bring to a simmer with 1 cup blended oil and let cool. In a powerful blender like a VitaMix, add reduced juice, garlic, and habanero mix, mustard, and emulsify with oil and then adjust seasoning, citrus zest, cumin, sherry vinegar, and salt.
- Plate: Top the chicken with carrot chayote slaw and serve with 5 pieces of pickled mango and bread and butter pickles.
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Spicy LaMian-Style Noodles with Mapo Bolognese, Ms. Le’s Tofu, and Blue Crab
Michael Gulotta, chef/co-owner of Maypop and MOPHO in New Orleans, is no stranger to spice. The chef is known for blending the flavors and ingredients of southeast Asia with southern Louisiana – two places known for dishes with a kick.
At Maypop, his restaurant in downtown New Orleans, Gulotta is serving up house made Lamian-style noodles with blue crab, pork sausage, tofu and a spicy mapo sauce. The combination of the tofu, crab, and noodles offsets the heat in the sauce and is at once satisfying and flavor-packed. According to Chef Gulotta, "The combination of Korean chili flakes, doubanjiang (a spicy broad bean paste) and Schezuan peppercorn (both ground and in oil form to finish the dish) gives the noodles some serious spice. But by adding the blue crab and tofu, and using the noodles to soak up some of the heat, the dish is hot but not overbearing, and winds up balanced and flavorful at the same time."
For the Mapo Bolognese:
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 tablespoon fermented red pepper paste, gochujang
- 3 tablespoons spicy broad bean paste, dumanjang
- 1-1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 tablespoon soy bean sauce
- 2 teaspoons ground Szechuan peppercorn
- 1/2 cup sherry
- 1/2 cup sake
- 1 each star anise pod
- 1 each medium white onion, small diced
- 2 tablespoon ginger, minced
- 1 head garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon Korean chili flakes
- 2 cups rich pork stock, or chicken stock
- 1 each lime leaf
To finish (off heat)
- 1 tablespoon black vinegar
- Green Szechuan peppercorn oil to taste
- In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium-high heat, caramelize the ground pork in the canola oil (about 8 minutes), stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
- Add the gochujang, doubanjiang, tomato paste, soy bean sauce, and ground Szechuan peppercorn to the pan and continue to caramelize for an additional 4 minutes, stirring often, as the tomato paste scorches easily.
- Deglaze the pan with the sherry and sake and then add the star anise pod, diced white onion, minced ginger, minced garlic, and Korean red pepper flakes.
- Allow the aromatics to cook for an additional 8 minutes then add the pork stock and lime leaf.
- Turn the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove the sauce from the heat and add the black Szechuan oil. Fermented products such as the gochujang and doubanjiang contain a large amount of salt and natural MSG, so the seasoning with salt may not be necessary. If it does require salt, use fish sauce instead — it will add more depth of flavor.
For the LaMian Style Noodles (You may substitute fresh egg noodles.)
- 4 3/4 cups water at 180°F
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 6 2/3 pounds all purpose flour
- 6-7 large eggs
- Dissolve the salt into the hot water.
- Place the flour into a stand mixer set with a dough hook.
- Turn the speed on medium and slowly add the hot salted water, then slowly add the eggs. Once the dough has formed a tight ball, remove it from the mixer, wrap it in plastic wrap, and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- Break off small golf ball-sized chunks of dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll the ball into a long thin cylinder under your palms.
- Grab the cylinder by each end and stretch the dough by waving it up in down while moving your hands outward. Stretch it as long as you can while keeping it in one piece.
- Loop the noodle around your pointer finger and hold both ends in the opposite hand and keep stretching until the noodles are 1/8-inch thick — or as well as you can do.
- 1 pound LaMian style-noodles or fresh egg noodles
- 4 cups mapo bolognese
- 1 cup dates, pitted and diced
- 1 cup silken tofu, diced
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, split and marinated in fish sauce
- 1/2 cup mint leaves thinly sliced, (chiffonade)
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves and stems, finely chopped
- 6 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat, picked free of shells
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon sliced chives, or green onion
- Spicy broad bean paste, dumanjang, to taste
- Salt to taste
- Freshly ground Szechuan peppercorn and small mint leaves for garnish
- Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil for the noodles.
- In a separate pan, bring the mapo bolognese to a simmer.
- In a small pot, warm together the crabmeat, coconut milk, and chives, with salt to taste.
- Do not allow the crab to simmer, as this will cause it to become tough. Boil the noodles until al dente then transfer the pasta immediately from the pot to the waiting sauce, the starches on the outside of the pasta will help cream out the bolognese.
- Immediately fold in the marinated grape tomatoes, dates, tofu, sliced mint, and chopped cilantro, and season to taste with the doubanjiang (this will add salt and spice).
- Separate the pasta into six bowls and top with
the warmed crabmeat, mint leaves and ground Szechuan peppercorn.
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David Choi, the owner and chef of Seoul Taco in St. Louis, Missouri, says that spicy food and ingredients are “big year-round” in his family. Soups and stews are a staple in Korean cuisine, regardless of the season or temperature. Choi personally likes Kimchi-jjigae, which he makes with pork belly, tofu, and aged kimchi, topped with scallions. “Some people say the spiciness of the food will make you sweat more, which theoretically can help you cool off,” Choi. “My take on eating spicy food during the summer is, I’m going to be sweating either way. I might as well be able to eat a good meal.” Choi started Seoul Taco as a popular Korean-Mexican food truck in St. Louis, before growing the business into four fast-casual restaurant locations in St. Louis and Columbia, MO, as well as Champaign and Chicago, IL. The menu at Seoul Taco reflects the heat of Korean cuisine with spicy pork tacos, served with “Seoul Sauce” and gochujang pepper sauce, and burritos made with Kimchi Fried Rice.
- 1/2 pound of pork belly (cut in cubes)
- 2 cups kimchi (You can use store-bought, but chef prefers kimchi that has been fermenting for at least 2 weeks for it to have the sour acidic taste to it)
- 1/2 to 1 cup kimchi juice from the kimchi jar
- 1/2 pound of tofu cubed
- 3 cups water
- 2-3 green onions
- For added heat: Korean red pepper flakes to taste (as needed as it will make it more spicy)
- Gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste, 1 tablespoon for good measure)
- Cut up cubes of pork belly and toss into a medium-sized pot to cook down. Add kimchi to sauté as well on high heat.
- Once pork and kimchi are seared for 1-2 mins, lower heat to medium or medium-high and add the tofu, kimchi juice, and 3 cups of water to cook for 10-15 mins.
- This is where you can add more pepper flakes and a tablespoon of gochujang for a little more heat.
- Stir the pot and medium heat for another 10 mins with a closed lid. Then add green onions and serve with a side of white rice.