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Chef Ming Tsai believes that everyday cooking needs to be tasty, healthy, easy to prepare and affordable and this supremely useful cookbook gives you 85 recipes with an Asian influence that perfectly fit the bill.
Ingredients are varied and used imaginatively but can still be easily sourced (keeping it tasty), every recipe tracks its salt and fat contents, calories and allergens (with an eye on the healthy), every dish feeds four people as economically as possible (to help save you money), and you'll only ever have to use one pot to prepare it in (beautifully simple). The recipes also come with a drink suggestion and a full-colour photograph to make the preparation even easier.
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Soba Noodle Carbonara
Trying to make a good dish even better is a challenge I love. In the case of spaghetti carbonara, that much-enjoyed Italian specialty featuring pancetta, eggs and cheese, my first move was to substitute soba noodles for the spaghetti. Not only is buckwheat-based soba better for you than regular pasta, but it packs more flavor. Scallions, courtesy of the Asian pantry, add their own kick.
TO DRINK: A light fruity Italian white wine, like Bastianich Friulano Colli Orientali de Friuli
[ Serves 4 ]
4 ounces soba noodles
1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil
1/2 cup pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
5 scallions, sliced thinly, white and green parts separated
1/2 cup heavy cream
About 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
3 tablespoons pasteurized liquid egg yolks
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Fill a large bowl with water and add ice cubes. In a stockpot or other tall pot, cook the soba in abundant boiling salted water until al dente, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the pasta (reserving 1/3 cup of the cooking water) using a large strainer and transfer the strainer to the ice water. When the soba is cold, drain and set aside.
2. Heat the pot over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom. When the oil is hot, add the pancetta. Sauté, stirring, until crisp, about 1 minute. Add the cream, the reserved pasta water, and cheese. Add the soba and toss to combine. Add the eggs and toss gently. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer immediately to four individual serving plates, garnish with the scallion greens, and serve with additional cheese.
Ming's Tip: As the egg yolks remain uncooked in this, I call for pasteurized liquid yolks to ensure healthfulness.
One-Pot Cooking, Seven Techniques
As a busy father, I know that getting a delicious meal on the table can take more time than most cooks have. To simplify the process, I've created eighty exciting, healthy dishes that are cooked, start to finish, in a single pot. Of course, the pot changes depending on the technique used. The seven methods I've chosen--braise, wok, sauté, roast, high temp, soup, and toss--were born for one-pot cooking. They also allow me to present a full range of fabulous dishes, from soups and salads to wok and high-temp dishes, which include steamed and flash-fried specialties, and everything in between. Exploring technique through my one-pot system, which produces maximum results with less effort--including less cleanup!--helps cooks to understand how dishes work. The proof, though, is always in the eating, and in that regard, I guarantee serious pleasure.
Peace and good eating!
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