More on Microwaves

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In a comment on my last post, Robin pointed out that not all ceramic tableware is microwave-safe. She’s right, and plastic can also be a problem. If your utensils don’t have a label, you can use the following test for microwave compatibility.

From The Great Microwave Dessert Book by Thelma Pressman, p. 2:

Place a glass measuring cup filled with water in your microwave. Place the dish you want to test next to it, but do not allow the two to touch. Heat on high (600-700 watts) for one minute. [Note: Many modern microwaves use 900-1000 watts or more, so adjust the time accordingly.] At the end of that time, the water will be warm and the utensil should be cold. If the dish becomes warm, it means it is absorbing microwave energy and is not microwave-safe.

Yael asked for soup and stir-fry. I generally don’t make soup in the microwave because once you get above a certain quantity, it’s not practical. But here is a recipe from The Well-Filled Microwave Coookbook by Victoria Wise and Sandra Pressman. It serves 3-4 people and you can add other vegetables if you like.

Granny’s Basic Vegetable Soup (pp. 95-96)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
4 medium (1 pound) ripe tomatoes, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
4 small carrots, peeled and cut into thin rounds
2 ribs celery, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch-wide slices
1 large bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups water

1. Place the oil and onion in a large bowl and microwave, uncovered, on HIGH for 3 minutes, or until wilted. Add the tomatoes, cover the bowl, and microwave on HIGH for 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft and the mixture is soupy.
2. Add the remaining ingredients, cover, and microwave on HIGH for 20 minutes, or until the carrots and celery are tender. Remove the bay leaf. Serve right away.

I highly recommend this (non-kosher) cookbook, which includes basic instructions for cooking items like legumes and potatoes as well as exotic desserts, condiments, sandwiches, grains and more. I once used it to make a delicious pomegranate-quince relish. [Note: If you buy through the above link, you help to support this blogger.]

Mock Stir-Fried Rice (p. 193)
For two portions, cut about 1/2 cup fresh vegetables, including some bean sprouts and scallions, into small dice or matchsticks. Place the vegetables and a little oil in a bowl and wilt for two minutes, until soft, in the microwave. Stir in two cups cooked rice, sprinkle with water, and reheat until steaming, 3 minutes more. Lightly beat an egg and stir it into the rice to break it up. The steam cooks the egg right away without returning to the microwave. Serve hot.

My Sugat rice package had instructions for cooking rice in the microwave that worked for me, but I don’t have the package anymore. Wise and Pressman say to use the same amount of liquid and time as for stove-top rice, but to expect it to boil over.

You may enjoy these posts on microwave cooking at CookingManager.Com:

Easy Microwave Recipes, Microwave Myths and Microwave-Safe Utensils.


  1. Wow thank you so much for this post and I can’t wait (salivating for them!) for the recipe posts. Chag sameach!!

  2. Actually my new ceramic plates get SCORCHING hot in the microwave, MUCH hotter than the foot that is on them, and much hotter than the old Corelle plates we had before this did.

  3. mother in israel says

    Robin, you are so right–not all ceramic plates are microwave safe. Nowadays if it is, it is usually indicated on the back. But I will post a simple test in the next post.

  4. I even wonder if all foods are safe in a microwave – I’m ever so glad we got rid of ours ages ago – sorry to once again be the party pooper, but I have heard the food keeps cooking even inside you – ok, I’m not the scientific one here but just too weird for me.

  5. mother in israel says

    Klara–I respect your decision not to own a microwave. However, there is no evidence that microwaves harm food or even make it less nutritious.

  6. Regular Anonymous says

    I love cooking in the microwave. Pasta sauce, lukshen kugel, scalloped potatos, fish are foods I regularly make in the microwave. Also made a lovely apple crisp in it for Chag.
    In addition to it’s other virtues, it helps keep the temp down in the kitchen.

  7. rice will absolutely boil over, no matter what size container you use, how well you cover it, etc…
    I’ve experimented quite a lot. The only time I’ve seen it not make a mess is when I saw a demo of the tupperware microwave cooker.
    Silly thing costs like 200 shekels, so I’m not a big advocate. After you’ve made a batch of rice is a great time to clean your microwave, as everything is wet and unsticky. Just wipe down with a paper towel, a rag, or (my fave) a “sfog pele”

  8. Right, I never defrost anything in the microwave. I always just leave it in the fridge.
    You know, I don’t think I’ve ever actually COOKED anything in the microwave. I use it a lot to heat things up, but that’s about it. I really should give it a try. My mother always makes scrambled eggs in the micro and she says they’re fine. I cook a lot of rice, and I’m sure it would come out just fine in the micro.
    Food for thought! (no pun intended)

  9. Bookmarked!!! Thank you so much for the recipes. Now I’m dying to try them out and will definitely have soup for Shabbat dinner đŸ™‚ Thanks again!

  10. My mother loves using the MW for cooking everything. I tried it but I like conventional methods a lot better. There are, however, some very good MW recipes out there. Here is one:
    Microwave Orange Yam Bake
    1 1/2 – 2 lb yams cooked and peeled or 1 1/2 canned yams, drained
    1/4 cup butter or margarine (I skip)
    1 egg
    1/4 cup chopped pecans, optional
    3 Tablespoons undiluted oj concentrate
    2 Tablespoons brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    2 Tablespoons brown sugar
    1 Tablespoon flour
    1 Tablespoon butter or margarine
    1/4 cup chopped pecans
    In medium mixing bowl, whip potatoes with electric mixer.
    In 1-cup measure, microwave margarine at High 30-45 seconds, or until melted. Stir in potatoes. Blend remaining ingredients except topping into potatoes. Pour into 1-qt. casserole.
    In smal bowl, mix together topping ing. until well blended and crumbly. Sprinkle topping over potatoes.
    Microwave at High 3 minutes. Reduce power to 50% and microwave 8-14 minutes or until heater through and set (center will remain somewhat creamy), rotating 1/4 turn once during cooking (this was before turntables in the microwave). Let stand 3-5 minutes.
    To microwave yams: Wash and pierce potatoes. Microwave at High 13-19 minutes, or until potatoes yield to pressure. Rearrange once. Let stand 5 minutes.

  11. I make rice in the microwave ALL the time. I use a LARGE plastic microwave “pot” (you can also use glass).
    I usually make two cups of rice with three cups of water. I microwave it for 15 minutes.
    The rice comes out perfect, every time.

  12. We don’t use a microwave at all. Haven’t owned one in years. They’re unhealthy on many levels! (google it)

  13. mother in israel says

    Liora, I’ve seen what’s been written on the internet. As I said above, there is no evidence that microwave ovens are unhealthy.