No one can say that the title of Ming Tsai's latest cookbook, Simply Ming in Your Kitchen (Kyle Books, $35), is misleading. That's because, for a nominal fee, he'll guide you through each of the recipes in his book. He won't literally come to your house, but he'll do the next best thing — offer tips and advice in a series of 10- to 15-minute videos that accompany each recipe in the book, marked by a QR code scannable using a mobile device or tablet and also a good old-fashioned URL at the bottom of each page. Is it a just a gimmick, though?
It sure is. But that's not to say that the videos don't offer additional insight, and it is nice to have a visual aid when say, attempting to roll Shrimp and Mango Summer Rolls for the first time using rice paper wrappers, which are sticky and sometimes difficult to roll with the fillings. We just wish that all of the videos were free. The first two videos for each of the book's eight chapters are gratis, but you'll be paying $0.99 per downloadable clip after that, a proposition that seems downright pricey with 80 recipes in the book.
The recipes themselves are appealing in the usual Ming Tsai style, meaning they present cooks with an enticing array of accessible Asian-inspired dishes that are easy to make during the week. Everything is nicely photographed so that readers have a clear idea of what their dishes are supposed to look like when completed, and a helpful section for pantry essentials helps cooks get started quickly and easily.
So if you're looking for the latest and greatest from Ming Tsai, this is it. If you're a reasonably competent cook, you shouldn't have any trouble with his recipes, which seem worthwhile in their own right, and you won't need to pay up to have Ming in your kitchen.
These are delicious during the summer, of course, when they serve as a refreshing appetizer, but even when it's cold outside, these rolls will bring memories of pool parties and beachside picnics right back. (Photo courtesy of Bill Bettencourt)
Healthful soba noodles, made from buckwheat, are a good source of protein, fiber, and B vitamins, which can help lower blood pressure. Try them in this simple hot soup dish for a light lunch. (Photo courtesy of Bill Bettencourt)
Make this restaurant takeout favorite at home to cut down on calories, salt, and fat, and you'll realize just how easy it is to make. (Photo courtesy of Bill Bettencourt)
Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.