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Cooking the Microwave Way

by: Chih-hung Lee

Taipei Taiwan: Gourmand Press 2005, Paperback
ISBN: 986-7785-69-X

Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Spring Volume: 2006 Issue: 13(1) page(s): 24 and 45

Numbered '01' in the Easy Cooking series, using the microwave can be easy on the dishwasher, this book says, and the chef-author has switched to his for steaming fish. Other incredible ways to use one are featured in the volume and everyone will learn a thing or two about this energy-saving modern-day device when making the fifty-four recipes provided. Do get to know your microwave, how to use it, tools worth knowing for it, and ten other microwave smarts.

Some of the recipes have a sentence or two below them called 'Point' that detail shopping and recipe suggestions and/or microwave tips. The timings are specific, and those with large powerful microwave ovens, also those with small low-power ones, will quickly figure out ways to make their own needed adjustments.

What caught my eye was making a favorite dish, Ants Climbing a Tree. Using mung bean noodles or any other pasta product in a microwave rarely works in our house. This recipe changed my thinking. In three and a half minutes, we had a fine end-product. On a second try, we doubled the pork and liked it even better. That said, we now cook these noodles in our microwave; even old folks like us can become converts.

Making Stewed Beef Rib Fingers with Green Papaya needs twenty-five minutes of cooking time. Not yet converted for that one, but have been with Basil Eggs in less than four minutes; they are brilliant and done to perfection. If cooked in a lovely microwave dish, they go from oven to table, no pots or pans needed.

The recipes are divided in fish, meat, seafood, soup, dessert, and easy dish segments. Each has one or more items to adore. And yes, this chef-author does cook wheat pasta, makes water-cooked dumplings, does soup, and buns in his. We tried the dumplings but truth be told, too many door openings convinced us to rush back to the steamer.

The Pasta with Pork Sauce comes with a caveat: 'Cooking time is specific to each variety of noodles.' Needing a learning curve there, we opted to omit that aspect of our education because the recipe says eight minutes in the microwave to prepare the noodles, six minutes when mixed with the sauce, after that. Our patience was too tested in some recipes, taste buds not delighted in others. Some results were too gummy or hard and offered no pleasure in our palace. So do try them and tell us how they do in yours.
Basil Eggs
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
3 eggs, beaten well
1 teaspoon (or more) basil, cut coarsely
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
1. Put oil into a microwave-safe bowl, cover and heat for twenty seconds.
2. Mix eggs, basil, salt, and bouillon powder, stir into the hot oil, cover, and cook two minutes. Remove cover and stir, then recover and microwave on medium heat for an additional minute and a half. Stir and serve.

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