One-pot cooking doesn't have to mean a monotonous march of braised hunks of meat. You can cook a surprisingly diverse range of dishes, from salads to stews to stir fries to soups, as proven in Chef Ming Tsai's new cookbook, "Simply Ming One-Pot Meals" (Kyle, $29.95).
Only two things unite the 80 recipes in this book by Tsai and Arthur Boehm: an affinity for East-West flavorings especially appropriate for the week of the Lunar New Year, beginning Feb. 3, and the use of one pot for cooking. Owner of Blue Ginger in Wellesley, Mass., Tsai uses all the techniques out there: braising, wok-frying, sauteing, roasting, flash-frying, steaming and tossing.
Here are some of Tsai's recipes to spark your imagination.
Black bean orecchiette with spicy pork and broccoli
Prep: 35 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Makes: 4 servings
Ming Tsai uses this recipe to prove kids will eat their vegetables if the dish has snap. "Serve it with big spoons and everyone's happy," he writes in "Simply Ming One-Pot Meals." Fermented black beans may be purchased in Asian markets and some supermarkets.
1 large head broccoli
8 ounces orecchiette
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 tablespoons fermented black beans
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 piece (1-inch long) ginger root, minced
1 red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 pound ground pork
Red pepper flakes
1. Heat a large stockpot of salted water to a boil. Separate the broccoli into florets. Peel the stems; cut into 1/4-inch pieces. Fill a large bowl with water; add ice cubes. Add broccoli to boiling water; cook 30 seconds. Transfer broccoli with slotted spoon to ice water. Chill. Drain.
2. Return the water in the pot to a boil. Add more ice to bowl of ice water if necessary. Add the pasta to the boiling water. Cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Transfer pasta to the bowl of ice water. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. When pasta is cold, drain pasta.
3. Dry the pot; heat over medium heat. Add oil, swirling to coat bottom. Add black beans, garlic, ginger, onions. Cook, stirring, until onions are soft, 2 minutes. Add wine; simmer until liquid is reduced by half, 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add pork. Cook, stirring and breaking up big chunks, until just cooked through, 6-8 minutes.
4. Add the pasta and broccoli to the pork mixture, toss well. Add reserved cooking liquid if the mixture seems dry. Adjust seasoning. Transfer to serving bowl or platter; garnish with red pepper flakes to taste. Drizzle with olive oil, if you like.
Per serving: 598 calories, 39% of calories from fat, 26 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 76 mg cholesterol, 56 g carbohydrates, 34 g protein, 399 mg sodium, 7 g fiber
Mom's famous vinegared shrimp
Prep: 40 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Makes: 4 servings
Ming Tsai plays tribute to his mother, Iris, in "Simply Ming One Pot Meals" when he writes: "It's true, I have the world's best mom. She also makes the world's best food, including the traditional version of this shrimp dish." Edamame are green soy beans sold fresh or frozen.
4 Yukon Gold potatoes
1/4 cup each: balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
5 teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
12 large shrimp, peeled, deveined
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 piece (1 inch long) ginger root, minced
1 medium tomato, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 cup shelled edamame
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) chilled butter
Freshly ground pepper
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Wrap the potatoes in foil, prick them several times with a fork. Bake until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Combine the vinegars, sugar and soy sauce in a medium bowl. Stir until sugar dissolves.
2. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the shrimp. Cook, stirring, until the shrimp turn pink, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl.
3. Add remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the garlic, shallots and ginger. Cook, stirring, until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce mixture; cook, stirring up browned bits, until reduced by half, 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato, edamame and shrimp. Simmer until the shrimp are heated through, 2 minutes.
4. Whisk in the butter. Add pepper to taste; adjust seasoning. Cut potatoes in half; divide among four plates, top with shrimp and sauce.
Per serving: 410 calories, 44% of calories from fat, 21 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 62 mg cholesterol, 47 g carbohydrates, 11 g protein, 489 mg sodium, 5 g fiber