Celebrity chef Ming Tsai grew up with one-pot cooking, and he expands on that concept in his latest cookbook, "Simply Ming One-Pot Meals." Delivering easy recipes using economical ingredients and simple processes, Tsai says he hopes readers will find they can prepare "terrific food."
Tsai will be at Macy’s Ala Moana Center at 6 p.m. Tuesday to demonstrate recipes from the book. We interviewed him via e-mail. Here’s what he had to say:
Question: What are among your favorite recipes in "Simply Ming One-Pot Meals"? Why?
Answer: Oxtail and Shiitakes: My wife often requests this dish when she is feeling under the weather. The Chinese believe that oxtail has medicinal properties. Polly just calls it soul-satisfying!
Chicken and Tri-bell Pepper Chow Mein: This dish takes me back to memories of my dad when growing up. He would open up the fridge, and with a few ingredients we would have a chow mein on the table in 15 minutes.
Q: Do you do one-pot cooking in your own life? If so, what about it appeals to you most?
A: One-pot cooking has been a part of my life since childhood. … Today everyone is busy, but it is still very important to eat healthy and together as a family. One-pot cooking offers easy recipes with little cleanup. I believe the easier it is to cook, the more likely you will.
Q: What three pointers you can give home cooks?
A: Seasoning: Always taste your food as you are cooking. It makes all the difference.
A good knife and cutting board: With this, any prep is easy.
One good pot, like a sauteuse, that can go from the stove top to the oven: It is amazing what you can do with one pot.
FIVE-VEGETABLE MISO STEW
From "Simply Ming One-Pot Meals"
2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
1 bunch scallions, sliced thin, green and white parts separated
1 large onion, minced
1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/2-inch dice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 cups Roma tomatoes, chopped roughly, with juice
2 quarts vegetable stock
1 tablespoon tamari sauce
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons miso
3 cups lightly packed stemmed kale leaves cut into 1/4-inch strips
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
2 whole-wheat pitas, toasted and quartered
Heat stockpot or other tall, wide pot over medium heat. Add oil and swirl to coat bottom. When oil is hot, add scallion whites, onions and potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and saute until onions have browned lightly, about 5 minutes. Add ginger, tomatoes with their juice, stock and tamari.
Place miso in small strainer, submerge in stockpot and whisk until it has dispersed into the liquid. Remove strainer. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
Bring stew to a simmer and cook until potatoes are soft and liquid is reduced by a quarter, about 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning again if necessary.
Add kale and simmer until soft, 1 to 2 minutes. Taste seasoning a final time and adjust if necessary.
Transfer stew to four individual soup bowls. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with pita. Serves 4.