You've never seen lo mein like this before. In this recipe from Paul Donnelly, executive chef of Chinese Tuxedo in NYC, noodles get smothered in a spicy, numbing mapo pork-smothered sauce. It's an elevated take on Chinese cooking that combines two of our takeout favorites.
"Growing up, my mother was an excellent cook," Donnelly tells us. "She would make spaghetti Bolognese two to three times a week, and I would never get sick of eating it. I guess the mapo lo mein is really 'Chinese Bolognese' if you think about it. The elements are pretty much the same, with ground meat, garlic, onion and chili. Simple but delicious."
For the uninitiated, chili bean paste, sweet bean sauce and Spicy Chili Crisp are jarred items that can commonly be found in most Chinese markets or on Amazon. If you have a Chinese grocery store nearby, try to get your hands on fresh lo mein noodles (unless you want to try making them from scratch). If you can’t find any, dried lo mein noodles are available at most grocery stores.
To learn more, read "The Festival of Bites."
Mapo Pork Lo Mein
Recipe adapted from Paul Donnelly, Chinese Tuxedo, New York, NY
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
For the Pork Marinade:
1 pound ground pork
1½ tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon Maggi seasoning, or soy sauce
½ teaspoon baking soda
7 garlic cloves, minced
For the Mapo Lo Mein:
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Fresno chile—stemmed, seeded and minced
One 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons soybean oil
7 tablespoons chili bean paste
2 tablespoons sweet bean sauce
1½ cups chicken stock, divided
¾ cup Spicy Chili Crisp (Lao Gan Ma)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 pound fresh lo mein noodles
1. Marinate the pork: In a medium bowl, combine all of the pork marinade ingredients and mix thoroughly to combine.
2. Make the mapo lo mein: In a mini food processor, chop the garlic, chile and ginger into a fine paste. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic paste and fry until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the chili bean paste and sweet bean sauce to the pan and cook, stirring often, until the oil in the mixture begins to split, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Add the marinaded pork to the pan and cook, breaking apart the mixture with a wooden spoon, until the meat begins to caramelize, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in all but 1 tablespoon of the chicken stock, scraping up any fond that forms on the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, then stir in the Spicy Chili Crisp.
4. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining tablespoon of stock with the cornstarch and mix until smooth. Add to the pot, making sure that the liquid is boiling, and stir until slightly thickened, 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
5. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the lo mein noodles and cook until tender, 4 minutes. Strain the noodles and divide between plates. Spoon the pork mixture over the noodles, then serve.
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