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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