For the last week or so, my friends kept sharing one Instagram video with me repeatedly. It wasn’t a corgi demonstrating his perfect RBF or a porcupine celebrating his birthday with a peanut butter popsicle. No, it was David Chang doing the improbable: making fluffy, edible rice from scratch in a microwave in a new line of cookware, called Anyday. Then he followed it up by making a perfectly wobby steamed egg dish in the same container. It got me wondering, could you actually nuke an entire meal and have it taste...good? To test that idea out, I decided to review the Anyday microwave cookware set.
While Chang might be the one who introduced me to the brand, Stephanie Chen is actually the founder behind Anyday. She’s the chief of staff at Meyer Corporation, the company behind Faberware, Anolon, and many celebrity cookware lines, so she knows her way around a pot and pan. Anyday consists of four different sized pieces: a medium shallow dish, a large shallow dish, a medium deep dish, and a large deep dish. Made from frosted glass, they’re hefty and as attractive as any other social-media friendly cookware. They’re also oven safe, dishwasher-friendly, and can be put in the freezer. All of that sounds great but the lids gave me pause. While they fit snugly and have a little knob for steam release, they also have a metal trim and I immediately had visions of my microwave exploding, setting my entire building ablaze. Because I didn’t want to accidentally cause a catastrophe, I asked the brand and apparently, the smooth, curved stainless steel trim on the lids are microwave safe.
That said, despite Chen’s background in cookware, I was highly skeptical of microwave cooking. I recall the half frozen and half overcooked Lean Cuisine meals my college roommates would eat late at night. The closest I got to nuking rice were those sealed, pre-cooked packets from H-Mart (they took 90 seconds to reheat and were best eaten with spam and kimchi). As far as I was concerned, you used a microwave to reheat leftover takeout and even then it was never as good as when the food was first delivered.
To test things out, I started with something simple: steamed baby bok choy using this recipe. Normally when I saute this veggie, I screw it up. I’ll leave it in the wok to theoretically steam for a few minutes, inevitably lose track of time because I’m scrolling on Instagram, and wind up coming back to a soggy, overcooked pile of mush. This time around I placed the bok choy into the medium shallow dish with a small spoonful of water and sesame oil, sealed it, and set the microwave for three minutes. Thankfully, nothing sparked into flames and once it beeped, I lifted the lid to find perfectly tender greens that served as a healthy side to my larb and rice. Promising but still not convinced, I set out to try other recipes.
The next dish I tried was kimchi jigae, which was also a huge hit. All I needed to do was slice up kimchi, tofu, and add in the seasonings. Eight minutes later, it was nearly indistinguishable from the one I usually would make in a pot. Later in the week, I made their salmon and kale poached in coconut milk, which was not only the best dish so far but it also was enough food for two dinners. An added perk is that you can use the dishes as fancy Tupperware and despite my fears, the turmeric did not stain the containers.
As for the rice? Well, we tried making it and found the process time intensive and messy. It involves microwaving for at least 17 minutes and then resting for another 10 or so. We didn’t pay attention and it boiled over, leaving a starchy puddle that we had to wipe up. While the rice did turn out fluffy, I’d only recommend this technique if you don’t own a rice cooker, as the latter is way easier to use.
For someone who was originally convinced that her apartment was going to blow up, I’m converted to the ways of microwave cooking. I’ve been using the Anyday cookware set at least two or three times a week and I’ve also been telling all my friends to get one, particularly those who aren’t the best home cooks. It’s ideal for newbies because you literally dump in your ingredients, hit a button, and in ten minutes or less, you have dinner. It’s almost impossible to screw anything up, unless you set the microwave timer for too long but their recipes are a general guide to the right cooking times. Trust me, get it. It’ll make your weekdays so much easier.
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