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The other day I was looking for chicken steak recipes, and most of them suggested to use an oven. They mentioned particular temperatures and times.

But the problem is, I am in Japan and I have a standard Japanese electric oven (電子レンジ) [microwave oven]. It doesn't have a temperature setting. It only has POWER in Watts and time settings.

200/500/700W are what I have to work with. So, what can I do to make a steak in that oven? Or can't I?

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    Google translate says 電子レンジ = microwave. – Tetsujin Nov 13 at 7:29
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    @Tetsujin good catch. And steak + microwave is not a good combo. – Stephie Nov 13 at 7:52
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    It's chicken steak, not beef steak, but still bad. @HungryCoder, do you have anything else to cook with? Even a single ring? – GdD Nov 13 at 8:23
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    Is "chicken steak" even a combination of words that make sense? In the US, "steak" without any other qualifiers means "beef". – JPhi1618 Nov 13 at 16:15
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    Chicken steak appears to be a literal translation of チキンステーキ (chikinsuteki), which are boneless butterflied chicken thighs (with skin) fried in pan. They don't seem to be normally made in a oven though. – Ross Ridge Nov 13 at 22:54
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A microwave can cook a beef steak or piece of chicken to a safe temperature and make it edible, however the result is often tough and you won't get a crust of any kind on it.

When you cook something on a pan or on a grill/broiler the outside is exposed to a high temperature, giving the outside a chance to go through chemical changes like Maillard reactions and caramelization which give color and flavor. The food cooks from the outside in.

A microwave oven cooks by exciting water molecules throughout the food, penetrating up to about 1 inch depending on a number of factors. The energy is spread out rather than being concentrated on the surface, you never get to a high temperature on the outside, so you get none of that color or flavor. Microwaves also tend to cook meats and poultry too quickly, making them rubbery. You might be able to remedy this by using the lowest power setting in bursts. Turn the food regularly as well as microwaves tend to have hot spots. A lower power will also let things cook more evenly, as the hot spots will cook some areas faster than others.

You may get an okay result for chicken, however I wouldn't attempt it with beef.

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    A microwave oven cooks by exciting water molecules throughout the food, cooking the whole thing at the same time. → not exactly. The microwaves only penetrate into the food up to a certain depth, and the rest of the food is heated by these microwaved-heated exterior part though conduction (britannica.com/story/how-do-microwaves-work, fsis.usda.gov/shared/PDF/Microwave_Ovens_and_Food_Safety.pdf, ...) – WoJ Nov 13 at 16:39
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    @WoJ and the depth of penetration is a lot less than most people assume. Maybe a millimeter or two (this is related to the skin depth of the microwave frequency (2.4GHz) in water/meat/etc.) But compared to "just the outside" like an oven or pan, it makes a big difference. – mbrig Nov 13 at 21:02
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    Also, there may be pockets that are not heated to a safe temperature. – GalacticCowboy Nov 13 at 22:14
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    Here is a YouTube video showing Microwave hotspots. This is different every model and every brand. – Nelson Nov 14 at 11:50
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    It may also be useful to slice or cut the chicken before cooking, for more even and better cooking [in the sense of safety]. – Pablo H Nov 15 at 12:06
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By itself? Not really, the results will end up edible (i.e. fully cooked) but not very tasty (chewy, no searing/caramelization).

However, there are dedicated "microwave grill" devices like the Microhearth Grill Pan (others might be better, google will help, this is just the one I have experience with) that you can put into your microwave oven. They convert the energy from the microwave into directional infrared grill-style heat, allowing you to get nicely cooked steak, very similar to what you would get from a regular oven / stove.

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    Yes, and microwave-sized mirowave + convection ovens too. – Kingsley Nov 13 at 21:35
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    Just yesterday I saw a product review for a microwave grill product, it's meant for sandwiches but the reviewers grilled an actual decent burger on it! So there's hope for the microwaved chicken... – Luciano Nov 13 at 23:09
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There's not going to be a good way to cook a "steak" (I assume you mean a chicken filet, or a single large-ish piece of chicken without bones), but you may be able to make do with something close.

Microwaves do one particular kind of cooking well: steaming. Chicken doesn't taste great steamed, but it's not terrible, either. As long as you add some additional flavor through sauces, you'll end up with something palatable.

To do that, you need enough water in the dish that you're cooking it in that the chicken itself won't be too cooked by the microwaves - how much depends on size, but maybe 2cm or so deep might do enough. You don't want to boil the chicken, preferably. Then cover it with a silicone cover as if you were steaming vegetables.


Another thing to consider: while you don't have a (convection/conventional) oven, you might have a single electric stove burner (or induction burner)? If you do, then that's your best bet. You can even sort of roast on a burner with the right pan - a very thick cast iron or carbon steel pan for example. Steaks of any sort, or Chicken of any sort, will turn out very well cooked on a burner. Just make sure the pan keeps the heat well, so you're not cooking effectively on direct heat but instead with the heat of the pan at least somewhat.

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You could try to cook the ckhicken as-is, but the result will not taste good at all.

You could instead use the oven to make a chicken soup. Microvave ovens can heat/boil water if placed in thin-walled porcelain container, such as a bowl. Separate the chicken into pieces that fit a porcelain bowl, add water and chicken soup ingredients. Do not leave the water unattended. Do not use max power, just enough to keep it close to boiling. Make sure the bowl is covered, but not with anything metallic.

Alternativelly, you can just partially cook the chicken, so it's easier to separate from bones, then separate it and roast it on a pan. That's gonna taste much better.

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OK, you can do this. This is tough though. NEVER UNDER COOK CHICKEN. Under cooked chicken is both disgusting and dangerous. Overcooked chicken is just tough and disgusting, but not dangerous,

The key is to NOT OVERCOOK THE CHICKEN, and NOT UNDER COOK CHICKEN. Its a tough balancing act, but if you experiment with your microwave and are patient you can learn to do this perfectly every time.

You will have to go for more of a casserole type dish. I assume you are using 2 chicken breasts and a casserole bowl. I would advise washing the chicken, drying it, salting it and peppering it and then cutting it into small slices, then cutting those into half slices. Microwave that about a minute, stir then another minute, then another till hot and barely cooked, but not tough! SET ASIDE. 3 mins or so ought to do it for 2 cups of chicken. Now make a basic casserole. Use a chopped up onion CUT SMALL, some chopped up celery SMALL SLICES, a couple spoons of BUTTER - NOT MARGARINE. Add 2 and a quarter cups of preferably whole milk. Microwave till steaming, then stir in rice (4-6 minutes or so). Add in a cup and a half of instant rice. Let it sit for 2 minutes.

Now add mushroom soup or a can of some equally thick soup you prefer, a cup of seasoned chicken stuffing, and some shredded cheese (I like something sharp), and a vegetable something to give it a kick like sriracha and a few seed removed jalapenos or poblano peppers or green chilies. Add chicken, stir, and then Microwave for seven minutes or so, stirring once.

Sprinkle with some more cheese and breadcrumbs. Cover and wait 4 minutes. DONE.

Your resulting meal will be tasty and filling, without dangerous hot spots. This casserole should be moderately acceptable - like a B or so.

You can take this basic idea and make chicken and melted cheese and serve that with salsa and nachoes as meal as well.

Pro Tip: Invest in a speed oven with a crisping pan and some olive oil to brush the chicken with. Its the same size as a microwave and SO MUCH BETTER. Also try and pony up for the largest wattage you can - I recommend 800W min. Higher watts tend to cook more evenly, and a rotating pan can help.

Extra Pro-Tip: Pre-cooked chicken breast is less of a hassle and tastes just as good as if you learn to cook it yourself from scratch properly.

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    Do not wash your chicken, this can spread contamination. Simply pat dry with a paper towel. – Croves Nov 14 at 17:21
  • Yes, always wash your chicken and meats and vegetables. Just don't be sloppy and splash germs everywhere. Packaged meats have a film on them that is gross and unwholesome. You won't die because the germs will be killed, but it's still unwholesome. Don't pat them dry with a paper towel either because you will leave lint on your meat (again won't kill you but gross). – Chloe Nov 14 at 21:12
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    @Chloe Why wash your chicken? Vegetables I get, but there is absolutely no need to wash chicken. This has been researched to death. The heat kills bacteria.. and you won't leave lint on your chicken if you use a high-quality paper towel anyway. – Apologize and reinstate Monica Nov 14 at 23:36
  • The slime is unpleasant. I'm just suggesting a quick rinse, and patting it dry. – ggb667 Nov 21 at 16:17
  • Did anyone here even bother trying this? It's pretty good, and I think answers the poster's question better than "don't do it". – ggb667 Nov 21 at 16:20

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