At MoPho, Chef Gulotta creates traditional Vietnamese dishes with a modern, New Orleans riff with dishes like sloppy roast duck po’boys, pork belly and crispy shallot pho, or fermented black bean braised tofu, gumbo style, with roasted okra.
6 servings, 1 gallon of gumbo
1 cup neutral oil
2 cups flour
2 onions, small dice
2 red bell peppers, diced
½ stalk celery, small dice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 2″ finger ginger, minced
2 medium sized ripe tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon Sambal chili paste
1 cup fermented black bean paste
3 quarts rich vegetable stock
1 2″ piece lemongrass, bruised,1 cup cilantro stems, chopped
1 stick Cassia bark, (cinnamon stick can be used as a substitute)
1 pod black cardamom
1 teaspoon fermented black beans, rinsed well with cold water
1 lime leaf
1 fresh bay laurel leaf
1 tablespoon fermented red pepper paste
1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
¼ cup neutral oil
1½ pounds silken tofu, cut into 1″ cubes
6 scallions, green tops sliced, whites split lengthwise
6 lunch box peppers, split lengthwise
6 baby turnips, quartered
6 cherry tomatoes, split
9 pieces of okra, split lengthwise
½ bunch cilantro, roughly sliced
Salt to taste
2 cups cooked aromatic rice
Black sesame seeds for garnish
For the Gumbo
- In a heavy bottomed pot, or a cast iron pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat until wisps of smoke appear.
- Whisk in the flour. Once it is fully incorporated use a wooden spoon to slowly and continuously stir the flour and oil mixture until it reaches a deep chocolate brown, it should smell like toasting popcorn.
- Fold in the onions and continue to stir for an additional five minutes. The sugars in the onions will caramelize in the hot roux and turn it black.
- Next, fold in the peppers, celery, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, Sambal, and black bean paste.
- Toast the aromatics in the hot roux for an additional five minutes.
- Switching back to the whisk, work the vegetable stock into the hot roux until fully incorporated.
- Add the remaining ingredients and bring the pot to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and let cook for as little as 2 hours or all day, stirring occasionally to prevent the roux from scorching.
- Set a large heavy bottomed skilled or a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat.
- Glaze the bottom with the oil and working in batches, so as not to over crowd the pan, roast off the scallion bottoms, peppers, turnips, okra, cherry tomatoes, and tofu – being sure to salt them as needed.
- Place the roasted tofu cubes in the bottom of a serving bowl and ladle the hot gumbo over the top.
- Garnish the gumbo with two pieces of each roasted vegetable, a spoonful of rice, and finish with sliced scallion tops, cilantro, and black sesame seeds. Serve hot.
- from Chef Michael Gulotta in New Orleans, LA