Cook Zen Pot / Fast Forward

I had a ball trying this gadget out and if you are into instant gratification, you will instantly be hooked. Machiko Chiba, who is well known in Japan, invented this pot that works in the microwave. This device allows you to use less oil, cook meat in its own juices and maintain vitamins that would normally be washed away with boiling. It’s companion cookbook, Cook Zen, features 80 Asian-style recipes that can be a springboard for creativity. There is a slight learning curve—I played with the amount of liquids and sweeteners, reducing the amounts in most cases, and had to adjust the timing to my microwave. Then I got creative. I cooked a mini-roast beef in 4 minutes, sliced it thinly, topped some garlic toasts, and added a a tiny dollop of a mixture of horseradish, dijon, and sour cream. Eggplant with miso sauce was a delightfully sweet side dish, the eggplant was cooked to perfection in merely three minutes. After soaking for one hour, I completed a batch of sushi rice in 18 minutes—no fanning. The possibilities are endless as to what you can roll up with the rice, and if you are fearful of serving raw fish, then do what I did—incorporate the recipe for ground chicken with wasabi soy sauce and lengths of cucumber. Here’s a super-healthy selection from the cookbook.
SORAMAME (Fava Beans)
1/4 lb fresh fava beans (in the pod)
Pinch of salt
Shell and lightly wash the beans, and place in the Cook Zen. Cover and heat on medium-high for 1 to 2 minutes with the steam holes closed. Transfer the beans to a sieve and run under cool water. Peel the outer skin of the beans (which will be practically falling off) and lightly salt.

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