New, celebrity chef and Momofuku founder David Chang share simple weekly salmon recipe with his TikTok followers. For the most part, it seems straightforward enough – it’s hard to find fault with a piece of flaky salmon smothered in a savory-sweet sauce. But one detail that shocked people was how Chang prepared it: in the microwave.
In the video’s caption, Chang calls the “Chef Mike” method (aka the microwave) a “delicious way to cook,” adding that it’s especially helpful when you’re pressed for time. “I have very little time to put food on the table for my kids,” she adds, so microwave salmon seems to be her go-to place when she needs a satisfying five-minute meal.
Considering David Chang’s prominent position in the world of food, there are honestly not many commenters in the opposition. Some people are concerned about the potential smell of microwaving a piece of raw fish, but Chang himself insists that there is “no smell”.
Others see space-age microwaves – meaning, things are open automatic, people – and think that the cooking method will only be able to be used with the microwave and fancy. But he was able to shake off those worries, too.
Most people are happy to see the chef known as Chang share time-conscious and simple recipes like this. Recipes for real, busy people! What a concept.
And I, personally, was pretty shocked to see one actually chef touting the microwave method after I wrote about (and tried!) Stephen King’s microwave salmon recipe earlier this year – that the internet really tore him for it.
While King’s “recipe” doesn’t exactly sell the method as well as Chang did, I was still totally obsessed when I tried it for myself… and TBH, I’ve made it many times since. So I was really curious to put Chang’s slightly different recipe and preparation up against the King of Horror.
To start, I took the ingredients. Based on Chang’s instructions, the only ingredients you need are a salmon filet, some soy sauce (or tamari), seasoning salt, and agave nectar.
Step #1: I put the salmon into a microwave safe glass food storage container. This is where Chang’s recipe is literally Different from our King — the latter calls for the salmon to be placed on a plate and wrapped in a damp paper towel, so I’m curious to see what effect, if any, this method will have on the texture … and the smell.
In the original video, David Chang actually uses a microwave-safe cooking container from the brand Anytime, who he often works with. If you have $40+ to spend on a microwave cookware, go for it! That being said, I really don’t! So I used a very common glass food storage container with a lid, hoping to get the same results.
Step #2: Next, I pour about 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of agave nectar over the salmon.
Chang used his hand to smoosh the soy sauce mixture around the salmon and make sure it was evenly coated; I use a silicone brush. For your salmon, your choice. You do you.
Step #3: I evenly sprinkled 1/2 teaspoon of seasoned salt all over a piece of fish.
Step #4: Nervous, I popped this baby in the microwave after loose (loose!) cover the container with a lid.
Chang specifies that three and a half minutes will give you medium-rare salmon, while five minutes will get you closer to good. Hoping for something moist but no not bad medium-rare, I opted for four minutes.
Step #5: When the four minutes are up, I open the microwave door to find a perfectly pink piece of fish with a thick sauce. Even better: There is hardly any fishy smell to be found.
Unlike King’s salmon, which was only seasoned with sliced lemon and olive oil, I found that soy sauce actually lends a really pleasant, savory smell to microwaved fish. Like, I love the smell that comes out of the microwave, if I’m being honest
I let the salmon rest for exactly one minute, according to the instructions. Then, to test its availability, I used an instant-read thermometer to measure the temperature. As if by magic, it registered at the perfect medium for salmon: 135ºF.
When I dove in with a fork to see how things turned out, texturally, I was pleased to see that it was just as tender as King’s recipe – if not more so. I was also really impressed by just how evenly the whole piece of fish was cooked. There are no cold spots in the middle and the edges are not overdone either. Just moist, flaky salmon all the way.
But beyond the texture, I’m happy to report that the taste…
Without marinating, I was really surprised by how much flavor the soy sauce, agave, and seasoned salt mixture imparted, especially compared to Stephen King’s version which was objectively on the bland side. TBH, it’s a good reminder that sometimes you don’t need to shove a whole jar of spice mix into your food to make it taste good. The simple, sweet-savory contrast between soy sauce and agave makes the whole thing irresistible, and honestly, I will ever know it’s done in the microwave if you didn’t tell me.
For a more complete dinner, I ended up flaking the fish over some steamed white rice, according to David Chang’s suggestion, and topped it with some thinly-sliced scallions and furikake rice seasoning. It’s easily the best meal I’ve eaten all week, and it’s definitely the fastest I’ve made… all year?!
Verdict: You must try this recipe. Other than ridiculously easy, it’s also ridiculously delicious. Not including all the sides, everything comes together in just over five minutes, without having to wait for all the tools or pieces of cookware to preheat. The best part: There’s nothing to clean up. The next time you need a five-minute dinner or feel like putting in the absolute least amount of effort into the meal you’re cooking, David Chang’s salmon.
If you try this method, let me know what you think about it. And if you have another cooking method (or recipe) that is more or less conventional but entirely worth trying, I want to hear about them! Enter them in the comments below. 👇