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Microwaved Tilapia with Scallions and Ginger

A main course cooked in 6 minutes?  And it’s not stir fry?  This sounds like something worth looking into.  And all you need is your trusty microwave.  The New York Times already has covered the glory of microwaves and the making of this dish, but they were using the recipe from Modernist Cuisine at Homeinstead of the mighty Work.  I could work my way through that book – Modernist Cuisine At Home At Home, I suppose – but I’ll save that for someone else.  For this one, it’s Book Three, Chapter 11, Page 115.  Let’s continue.

Fish Nuke-n-Fry


OK, first thing: the Asian flavors of this dish make your kitchen smell excellent. Second thing: it takes longer than six minutes.  Why?  Preparation, of course.  Taking scallions and splitting them into thin strings takes time.  Not a huge amount of time of course.  And if you let them be a bit thicker then it’s really not that big a deal of all.


The first step is to throw 150g of scallion whites with some sliced ginger and Shaoxing rice wine onto the fish and nuke it. I have two bottles of the rice wine courtesy of Eric as he unloaded his extra ingredients on me when he left for Chicago, so that wasn’t an issue.  But 150g of scallions for 800g of fish?  That seems like a lot.

Lots o' scallions

I had 105g for two fish, and that seemed plenty.  Nothing in the Corrections and Clarifications.  Mm.  I checked Modernist Cuisine At Home – they have 50g of scallion whites for 900g of fish.  Aha!  I knew it.  They can add that to the list of corrections.

I put the ingredients on the fish, wrapped it up, and placed it in the microwave.  The plastic wrap ballooned up as the steam was released, but thankfully, it never popped.

Fish Wrapped
Wrap Expansion

From there, I scraped off all the scallion whites and ginger (just meant to infuse flavor into the fish), then topped the fish with the fresh scallion greens and ginger and poured hot oil over it.  The greens and fish skin made a satisfying hissing sound as the oil fried them up.  I pulled the fish over to a clean plate, poured soy sauce and sesame oil over it and I was done.  Now, I could have done what the recipe suggests:

10. Lift fillets from bones, and serve with sauce and garnish.

I knew my filleting skills on a hot cooked fish were going to mean a pile of mush, so I skipped that and served it whole.  The authors fixed that up in the At Home version, suggesting to cook fillets instead of whole fish. But I had no problem digging in, picking out the bones and pulling out the spine.  No big deal – I mean it was just something I threw in the microwave.

Nuked Then Picked At