Toya Boudy kicks off Mardi Gras with red beans and rice and yakamein

To kick off Mardi Gras on Fat Tuesday, chef, cookbook author and NOLA native Toya Boudy is stopping by the TODAY kitchen to share classic New Orleans-style recipes from her new cookbook, "Cooking for the Culture: Recipes and Stories from the New Orleans Streets to the Table." She shows us how to make smoky, spiced red beans and rice and comforting yakamein soup with braised beef and noodles

Yakamein (aka 'Old Sober') by Toya Boudy

This dish has been floating through our entire lives as locals in New Orleans. It comes directly from the Chinese immigrants who lived in a part of New Orleans that used to be called Chinatown. The dish became super popular, and it actually became one of the things that you'd consume to soothe a hangover. All over the city people started re-creating this delicious dish that the Chinese gifted to the New Orleans food world.

New Orleans-Style Red Beans and Rice by Toya Boudy

As a kid if I saw the ingredients for beans out the night before I got excited, because I knew for two or three days, I'd have one of my favorite meals for dinner. Now, at almost 40 years old, my mama will text me to tell me, "I made beans, I fixed a container for you." I will pass by a corner store and pick up a few pieces of chicken, swing by my mama's to get the beans, and find a place in the house to hide and eat, just so I won't have to share. I'm sure a lot of people can relate to that feeling of knowing everyone in your house ate, and ate well. But if they see you excited about a meal, all of the sudden they want a "taste," which ends with you sharing your glorious solo meal. I don't blame them, I get it. There's just something about that well-seasoned, slightly smoky taste from the beans and the sausage. It's one of the foodways to my heart.

If you like those Mardi Gras-worthy recipes, you should also try these:

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo by Toya Boudy

Isaac Toups' Jambalaya by Isaac Toups

This article was originally published on TODAY.com