Here are some things to keep in mind that you might not easily glean from the title:
- “Simply” applies to “Ming”, not “Meals”. While these are generally not multi-day preparations, they’re also not 20-muinite meals.
- It’s amazing how creatively you can stretch the definition of “one pot”. Many of the dishes in this cookbook require re-using said pot multiple times in a single preparation.
- Although each recipe only uses one pot, there are many different vessels that are called for. Casserole dishes. Woks. Skillets. Saucepans. Roasting Pans (those are pots?!)
- Strainers, bowls, and other such accoutrements are not pots. Therefore any number may be called for without exceeding the one pot limit.
Once you come to terms with those rules, this is a great “everday” cookbook with reliable, achievable results. The ingredients aren’t exotic, but most recipes will require thinking ahead. They tend to require at least one item that you’re not likely to just have in the cupboard. Prep time varies quite a bit and may require a little planning ahead, but none of the recipes required a culinary degree to follow.
We’ve worked through quite a few recipes in the book. We’ve adjusted seasonings here and there, and like many of our favorite cookbooks, its starting to get nicely marked up with notes. The fundamental construction of every recipe that we’ve tried has held up well, though.
Among others, we’ve tried mom’s famous vinegared shrimp, a chow mien and a kung pow chicken. While the book is largely Asian-inspired, it ventures across quite a few cuisines, and shines most on some of the more creative dishes. Black bean scallops and zucchini was an unexpected combination that worked very well.
One dish that we were pleasantly surprised with was the gingered pork with leeks. I’m not a fan of leeks, but much like a good curry powder covers up the gaminess of lamb, the serrano chilies and Worcestershire sauce compliment the leeks in a way that makes them … I’m almost embarrassed to say… pleasant.
Speaking of lamb, I’m still looking forward to trying the Moroccan spiced lamb shoulder, as well as a few of the other roasts. It’s the right season for that sort of dish.
As a physical item, the book works well. Print is large enough to read from the far side of a mixing bowl, but barely. The photographs of every dish are clean and pretty, but don’t demonstrate great creativity in their treatment of the various dishes. The margins are a bit small for notes, but most pages have some whitespace below the instructions that works well enough.