Microwave “chilaquiles” can save the day

Bowl of chilaquiles made in the microwave
Photo: Emma Terhaar, Graphic: Libby McGuire

This past winter, the area where I live was walloped by a storm that knocked out the electricity for a couple days. I ran my generator intermittently, but it only powered the refrigerator and microwave and NO other cooking equipment (dang electric stove!). After I ran out of leftovers, I raided the fridge and pantry and came up with a pretty decent chilaquiles-inspired bowl featuring poached eggs, tortilla chips, salsa, veggies, black beans, and cheese. If you happen to have sour cream, cilantro, avocado, scallions or hot sauce in your fridge, you can make an even better version! This bowl is not glamorous by any means, but it’s satisfying, whether you’re in an appliance jam or not. Here’s how you can throw it together (including step-by-step photos below).

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How to make microwave chilaquiles, step by step

  1. Drain and rinse the black beans or pinto beans, if using.
  2. Thinly slice an onion and peppers, or whatever veggies you’re including (mushrooms, tomatillos, and/or fresh corn might be fun). To steam the sliced veggies, add them to a bowl with a little salt and pepper and a tablespoon of water, then cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave in brief intervals, checking them occasionally for doneness, and drain the water once the veggies are cooked. Mine took 30 seconds to cook (two 15-second intervals), but your microwave might be slightly different.
  3. Add your beans and any veggies that work better raw than steamed, such as tomatoes and scallions.
  4. Poach your eggs. To do this, put two tablespoons of water into a glass cup, then add a single egg (if using multiple eggs, you’ll have to cook them one at a time). Microwave it for 15-20 seconds, watching the egg closely. Once the white has become opaque, STOP heating, and pull the cup from the microwave. Move the egg around with your finger; if the white is not entirely cooked, let the egg continue to sit in the warm water for a few seconds. If you need to, give it another 10-20 seconds in the microwave while watching it. If you let the egg overcook in the microwave, it may explode and make a huge mess. (See photo 5 in the carousel above!) When you’re happy with the doneness of the white on your poached egg, immediately drain the water so the egg doesn’t overcook. Don’t cook two eggs in one cup; instead, cook them one at a time. Set the cooked eggs aside.
  5. Assemble your bowl: crunch up tortilla chips and add them to the veggies. Next, add a generous amount of salsa, hot sauce, and cheese to the bowl and toss everything up.
  6. Microwave the bowl until the cheese is melty. If you have sour cream, add it on top, then add your eggs to the bowl and enjoy!

DISCUSSION

Dr Emilio Lizardo

This looks pretty OK.  At first, I thought it was pointless since chilaquiles are pretty easy to make on the stovetop or in the oven, but you gave a a good reason for doing it this way in a pinch and I realized that I really wish I would have thought of this when our kitchen was being remodeled and all we had was a microwave and a contact grill.

Also, I laughed at your eggsplosion. Sorry.