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Ming Tsai Entertains the Crowds at the Food and Wine Classic in Aspen 2008

Ming Tsai Dishes Up Cooking Tips

During the Food and Wine Classic in Aspen, I attended Ming Tsai's "East-West Vegetarian" demonstration. I had been a mild fan of Ming's before, but after seeing him live I was sold. He was hysterical — seriously he'd be successful as a stand-up comedian — as well as informative. He taught us the secret to perfect potstickers, and tricks on how to successfully cook garlic. To see what he had to say,


  • When making a balsamic reduction, Ming never uses a reactive pan (such as aluminum or copper — although aluminum or copper cores are OK). The acid reacts with the metal and, as Ming said, "has something to do with Alzheimer's, I forget now."
  • If your sautéed garlic starts to burn, Ming suggests adding the rest of the veggies. This will make the temperature drop and prevent the garlic from further burning.
  • Here's how Ming creates the perfect potsticker: start by adding oil to the pan. Next add the potstickers. Once the bottoms are browned, add the water and cover with a lid. Once the potstickers are cooked through, remove the lid and let the bottoms get crispy again. If you're not trying to keep it vegetarian, Ming recommends steaming the potstickers in chicken broth.

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