We Challenged Three of Manila’s Most Creative Chefs to Cook a Meal Using a Microwave

Words: Gela Velasco/Photography: Pam Santos/February 5, 2015


Chefs often chide microwaves as generally shitty cooking instruments. They swear by their pristine, stainless steel kitchens, with flattops and burners and maybe a salamander or immersion circulator. They’re only meant for reheating, blasting meat on turbo high until they become chewy, but edible, pieces of glue. Many of us with fast-paced lives tend to live by our microwaves, heating everything from our hot water to leftovers. What if chefs were left with nothing but a microwave to cook a gourmet meal in? Could it be done?

We challenged Denny Antonino and Nicco Santos of Your Local and Jordy Navarra of Black Sheep to prepare a meal using a microwave. Here’s what they whipped up: the first recipe by the guys behind Your Local can easily be prepared during your morning ritual, while the other by Jordy lets you experiment with different possibilities and all kinds of flavors.

Denny Antonino and Nicco Santos of Your Local’s Asian Orzo Breakfast Salad

Total Time: 25 mins (5 mins prep, 20 mins cooking)
Yield: 1 serving

Your Local1


  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 of a Knorr chicken cube
  • 1/2 tsp of gochujang
  • a knob of butter
  • a bottle of Blue Kitchen Lemon Garlic Tinapa
  • a bottle of Blue Kitchen Spicy Tuyo
  • a bunch of red frisee leaves
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Procedure: Orzo

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  1. Place 1 cup water into a microwaveable container. Add ½ tsp of gochujang and mix into the water.
  2. Add a third of a Knorr chicken cube into the water. Mash up the cube to distribute in the water.
  3. Heat the water for 3 minutes at the microwave’s highest temperature.
  4. Remove the container from the microwave after heating. Check to see if the gochujang has mixed into the water.
  5. Add a knob of butter in the heated water.
  6. Pour in ½ cup of orzo and mix it in to combine with the rest of the ingredients.
  7. Place the container with orzo back into the microwave. Heat for 10 minutes and check occasionally for the tenderness or doneness of the orzo.

Procedure: Tuyo and Tilapia

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  1. Place a little of both the Blue Kitchen Lemon Garlic Tinapa and Spicy Tuyo into the microwaveable container. Choose your portions according to your personal preference. Add a little of the fish’s oil as well into the container.
  2. Cook for two minutes in the microwave at the highest temperature.
  3. Listen to the fish’s popping as it cooks inside the microwave. When your gut tells you it’s popped enough, remove the container from the microwave.

Procedure: Eggs

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  1. Beat the 2 eggs together.
  2. Add water to the sides of the bowl to prevent it from sticking.
  3. Heat the eggs for a minute and a half in the microwave.
  4. Remove egg from bowl, place on a chopping board, and cut the scrambled egg into ribbons.


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  1. Take some of the red frisee and combine it with the cooked orzo.
  2. Toss the ingredients together like a salad.
  3. Add some olive oil according to your preference.
  4. Add the eggs, tuyo, and tilapia. Toss together.
Your Local9

Jordy Navarra of Black Sheep’s Tenderloin Rice Bowl

Total Time: 1 day, 1 hour and 30 mins (1 day and 30 mins prep, 1 hour cooking)
Yield: 1 serving

Black Sheep10


  • 1 pc of beef tenderloin
  • 5 to 6 pcs of stoneware
  • 2 parts chocolate truffle or dark/white chocolate bars or chips
  • 1 part whipping or culinary cream
  • cocoa powder
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup black vinegar
  • kelp
  • water
  • 50g rice
  • 10g soy sauce
  • a bunch of katsuobushi or bonito flakes

Procedure: Cocoa-covered Truffle Balls

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  1. Melt the chocolate truffle in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time. Keep checking every 30 seconds to see how much has melted.
  2. Heat the cream in the microwave. Like the chocolate, keep checking every 30 seconds to see how the cream has heated.
  3. Mix melted truffle and heated cream together. Like the chocolate and cream, keep checking every 30 seconds to avoid overheating the mixture.
  4. Cool the truffle and cream mixture in the refrigerator until it hardens. Cool until it’s a good consistency for rolling. Keep checking the mixture’s consistency; remove occasionally, mix, and then chill.
  5. Place the cooled mixture into a piping bag and then squeeze out of the pipe.
  6. Cool the piped chocolate before shaping them and coating them in the cocoa powder.

Procedure: Egg

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  1. Place the black vinegar in a microwaveable container. Heat it at 30 seconds at a time and keep checking to prevent the bottom from getting burnt.
  2. Heat the black vinegar to about 80 to 85oC . Check the container occasionally for its temperature.
  3. Place the egg yolk in the heated vinegar until the outside hardens a bit.

Procedure: Rice

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  1. Steep kelp in purified water 6 hours before cooking the rice.
  2. Strain out the kelp after 6 hours.
  3. Heat the water in a microwaveable container until it reaches 80 oC.
  4. Mix bonito flakes or katsuobushi with the heated water. Strain the mixture.
  5. Mix 50g rice with the strained water. Add 10g soy sauce to the dashi mixture.
  6. Cook the rice in the microwave at four 3-minute intervals (a total of 12 minutes). Keep checking the rice after each 3-minute cooking period.
  7. After the rice is cooked, wrap the container in plastic to cook the rice further. You can add leafy green with the rice during this step for more flavor.

Procedure: Beef

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  1. Heat the stoneware in the microwave for about 15 minutes. Heat each stone separately.
  2. Slice the beef tenderloin into strips. Sear the beef on the heated stone tile.
  3. Once the stone tile has cooled, transfer the beef on to the next heated stone tile.
  4. Keep searing until it’s cooked according to your preferred doneness.

Procedure: Garlic

  1. Cut the garlic into thin slices.
  2. Wrap a plate in plastic and then place each slice on the plastic.
  3. Brush the garlic with oil and then heat in the microwave for a total of 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Check the garlic every half minute to avoid over cooking.


Combine the cooked ingredients in a bowl. Feel free to add leafy greens to the mix.

What recipes have you cooked in your microwave? Which of these recipes would you try at home? Let us know in the comments section below!

Gela Velasco

Features Writer

Gela is a young adult slowly settling into her late twenties. She likes to make a mess in the kitchen when no one’s looking, dance till dawn on long weekends, and dream about beef on lazy afternoons. On some days she learns how to write good in graduate school. Her life goals include sashaying somewhat like Beyonce and to write a cover story on Leonardo di Caprio. See More.

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