Ming Tsai shares secrets of his Mom's Famous Vinegar Shrimp

Chefs, Recipes, Restaurants By Dec 10, 2010

Chef Ming Tsai’s latest book is filled with quick and easy weeknight dishes that can be prepared in one pan. Most recipes are short enough to fit on one page and use relatively inexpensive ingredients.

They produce delectable concoctions, often showcasing classic Asian fare tweaked with subtle trademark twists. He says that he sometimes “francophiles” a dish, using a smattering of French-influenced ingredients and/or techniques.

The award-winning chef-restaurateur was eliminated recently right before the finale of the Food Network’s “The Next Iron Chef.” Well-known for hosting “Simply Ming” on PBS for the past seven years, Tsai also won an Emmy for his work on the “East Meets West” programs on the Food Network. He proved his culinary prowess on a recent visit to Orange County.

I videotaped with him at Macy’s Home Store in South Coast Plaza’s Home Wing before he taught a sold-out cooking class. Together we made one of his favorite dishes from his childhood, his Mom’s Famous Vinegar Shrimp. The recipe is in the new book, and showcases an inviting balance of sweet and sour elements.

Tsai said that his mother is the world’s best mom. He riffed on the theme of her shrimp dish, using roasted Yukon Gold potatoes instead of the traditional rice, and augmented the sauce with a smidgen of butter. Delicious.

Ming Tsai’s Mom’s Famous Vinegar Shrimp

Yield: 4 servings
4 Yukon Gold potatoes, each about 3-inches in diameter, washed, dried
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or canola oil, divided use
12 large (15 per pound) shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
1 cup shelled edamame
1 medium tomato, cut into 1/4-inch dice
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wrap potatoes in aluminum foil; prink several times with fork and bake until cooked through, about 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in medium bowl combine the vinegars, sugar and soy sauce; stir to dissolve sugar. Set aside.

3. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add shrimp and sauté, stirring, until shrimp turn pink, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

4. Add remaining oil to pan and when hot, add garlic, ginger and shallots. Saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Add soy sauce mixture, deglaze pan (scraping up any browned bits) and simmer until mixture is reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes. Add edamame, tomato and shrimp. Simmer until shrimp are cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in butter and season with salt and pepper.

5. Trim the ends from the potatoes and half through the center. Divide the potatoes among 4 individual plates, top with shrimp and sauce; serve.

Nutrition information (per serving): 206 calories, 44 percent of calories from fat, 10 g fat, 2.1 g saturated fat, 148 mg cholesterol, 9 g carbohydrates, 18 g protein, 492 mg sodium, 1.3 g fiber

Source: “Simply Ming One-Pot Meals” by Ming Tsai and Arthur Boehm (Kyle Books, $29.95)

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