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Using Microwave – Tips and Tricks

Microwave has secured its place in our kitchen with its so many advantages, mainly the fast and hassle free cooking. It’s not just for luxury rather a necessity especially when it comes to healthy cooking. Microwave can boil, roast, grill and bake, what you cannot do is the deep frying, as the temperature of oil cannot be controlled, so it’s dangerous to deep fry with the microwave. And healthy eating habit does not encourage having deep fried food frequently right??

lets see some tricks and tips for using microwave efficiently.

What makes microwave so special??

  1. The fast cooking:

The microwaves are electromagnetic waves generated by magnetron inside the oven, and when it comes in contact with water, the waves are absorbed and the electromagnetic energy is converted into heat energy. So in the case of food, the moisture of the food absorbs the energy and heat up. This is the way the food is cooked. With this fast cooking most of the nutrients are intact while the food is cooked.

2.Low fat cooking:

In traditional cooking in order to prevent the food to stick at bottom of pan, we need to take care to pour sufficient oil in the cooking pan. With microwave we can avoid the extra fats. Making the food low in calorie.

Tips:

  • Always make a single layer of food while arranging on center tray, this will ensure evenly cooking of the food.
  • Always arrange pieces towards the outside edge works best as the food in the center is last to get cooked.
  • Always use proper cooking utensil, glass works best for actual cooking is my personal experience, but microwave safe plastic bowls and containers can also be used.
  • Shape of the utensil also makes a difference like food tends to get cooked evenly in round dishes compared to other shapes also; food in shallow dish will cook faster than narrow and deep dish.
  • Resting time or standing time is very important factor, as the microwave cooking is achieved by heat distribution, so cooking continues even after switching off the device,  ideally when the food is about to cook, off the machine and allow proper standing time to complete the cooking.

Tricks:

  • To defrost the food, keep microwave on 40% power, and approximately add a minute to each gram of food. E.g.. 2 mins for 200 Gms and 5 mins for 500 Gms.
  • To cook potatoes keep the skin intact then cut the potatoes in half and arrange towards outside edge of the rotation tray facing the cut as base and place a glass of water in the center.
  • While cooking in glass baking tray without any lid, use cling film to cover the vessel, to prevent the steam to escape.
  • While reheating the chapati or bread, cover them in muslin cloth or paper and put a glass with some water in it.
  • To soften butter or table margarine place use oven on 30% power for 30 second for each 50 Gms. Same works for chocolate – just sprinkle some milk over it.
  • To soak the pulses take pulses in microwave safe bowl, pour water enough to drawn the pulses completely and then cook on microwave high or 100% power for 10 mins, do not drain the water and keep at rest for 1 hour and any hard pulse like chana or rajma will be soaked like they soaked for overnight.
  • In order to soak the dals process is similar to above but dals does not require longer duration of time to get soaked. Just 2 minutes are sufficient for any dal weighing less than 250g.
  • To roast the peanuts take 100 Gms of peanuts and soak them in salted water for 2 hours. Then drain the water and pat dry the peanuts. Now cook on microwave high for 3 mins and microwave med or 60% power for 4 minutes allow standing time for 1 minute, check the peanuts for crunch, if required give another 2 minutes on med settings and your home made roasted peanuts will be ready. The process is similar for any food roasting but timing is to be set depending upon the food to be roasted.

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Ami Paneri Upadhyay

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