Microwave smart cooking choice in summer

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Steamed chicken with herb and cheese, top, and meat-stuffed eggplant

The Yomiuri ShimbunNo one wants to stand over a kitchen stove on a muggy day. A microwave is a good way to avoid that sweltering scenario, and cooking expert Sawako Horie provides several microwavable recipes for meat dishes.

Microwaves today have various functions, but Horie’s recipes require one simple and ubiquitous operation: the ability to heat.

Meat-stuffed eggplant

This dish, in which eggplant halves are used like plates to hold meat, goes well with both bread and rice.

Remove stems from eggplants and cut in half lengthwise. Cut to separate the flesh from the skin around the edges and then scoop out the center with a spoon, creating a “boat-shaped plate.”

Turn eggplants over and lightly score the skin diagonally at 5-millimeter intervals. This will make it easier to eat without making a mess.

Chop eggplant pulp, onion and garlic and mix in bowl. Add ground meat and seasonings. Mix well, and stuff the mixture into the eggplant skins.

Place stuffed eggplants on a heat-proof plate, spread a mixture of chuno sauce and ketchup over the meat, and sprinkle pizza cheese over the top. Heat in a 600-watt microwave for about 6 minutes.

Do not cover the items with plastic wrap during heating. Poke softly with chopsticks to make sure the eggplants have been cooked all the way through.

“The food won’t turn brown on the surface through microwave cooking, but the melted cheese is appetizing,” Horie said.

Chopped eggplant pulp in the meat makes the dish soft and juicy.

Steamed chicken with herb, cheese

Slice a piece of chicken breast into 7-millimeter pieces, sprinkle salt and pepper over the meat and let set. Place chicken and katakuriko in a plastic bag. Close the bag tightly with a healthy amount of air inside, and shake lightly up and down to coat the meat.

“The katakuriko powder will seal in the meat’s juices,” Horie said.

Slice one tomato into wedges and place tomato and chicken pieces alternately. Sprinkle mixture of parsley and powdered cheese on top.

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  • The Yomiuri Shimbun

    Scoop out the center of an eggplant with a spoon, creating a “boat-shaped plate.”

Cover with plastic wrap lightly and heat in a 600-watt microwave for 5 minutes. Leave the food wrapped for about 2 to 3 minutes until steam dissipates.

Plastic wrap plays the role of a lid on the pan.

“Heating with wrap in a microwave is equivalent to steaming or boiling,” Horie said.

The steamed chicken is soft and moist, and the aroma of parsley is refreshing. Rosemary and thyme are tasty substitutes for parsley.

“I recommend using herbs often in summer when you tend to lose your appetite,” Horie said. “You aren’t fully utilizing a microwave if you’re using it only to heat up or defrost. Use the machine to handle various cooking methods.”


Serves 2

Meat-stuffed eggplant

2 eggplants (around 100 grams each)

150 grams ground beef and pork


1 garlic clove

40 grams cheese for pizza

Seasonings for meat

½ cup of bread crumbs

2 tsp katakuriko starch

1 tsp chuno semi-sweet sauce

¼tsp salt

A pinch of pepper

Sauce over meat

1 tbsp ketchup

1 tbsp chuno sauce

Steamed chicken with herbs, cheese

1 chicken breast (250 grams)

1 tomato

1 tbsp katakuriko

½ tsp salt

A pinch of pepper

3 tbsp powdered cheese

1 tbsp minced parsley

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