11 Reasons to use your microwave more often
While the convenience of a microwave oven is undeniable internationally, in India, it’s yet to garner enough takers. Most people prefer using microwave ovens just to reheat their food or defrost meat, but it can be used for so much more. We demystify the microwave oven for you with some basic hacks on why, when and how to use this wonder appliance
A microwave oven is more often than not looked at with apprehension, when the fact is that it's perhaps one of the easiest appliances to use. The whole idea of cooking in a microwave oven is to cook nutritious, tasty food in less time as it works on water naturally present within the ingredients, generating heat and cooking them from inside out. Did you know that apart from boiling an egg, deep frying and cooking rotis, microwave ovens can be used to cook anything?
Considering that the cooking method that best retains nutrients is one that cooks quickly, heats food for the shortest amount of time, and uses as little water and oil as possible, cooking in a microwave oven wins hands down. Add to these its other vital benefits and your stove top will end up gracing the kitchen top like a piece of relic.
Quick tips for some common kitchen fare
Steam vegetables keeping nutrition intact
Put washed vegetables in a bowl, puncture them in three to four spots with a fork and add one cup of water. The water is meant to induce steam so don’t add more than one cup, irrespective of the amount of vegetables. Let it cook for four to five minutes on medium power. Your nutrition-packed, steamed veggies are ready.
A tasty cup of tea in just three minutes!
Mix all the ingredients for one cup of tea in a bowl that is twice the size of the quantity of the mixture. This will prevent the tea from spilling over while boiling. Heat this in the microwave oven for two minutes more than the number of cups. So if you are making a cup of tea, put the microwave oven on for three minutes and lo behold, you have a steaming cup of chai ready.
Homemade ghee sans the struggle
Add milk cream in a glass bowl twice the size of the quantity of cream. Cover it with a lid and cook for 12 minutes. First heat it on high mode for six to eight minutes and then on medium for four to six minutes. Just make sure that as soon as you get the aroma of ghee, you switch off the microwave oven. Homemade ghee is ready, with 30 per cent more of it (as compared to the traditional method).
Set curd in less than an hour
Boil milk for five to six minutes, add the curd starter and cook it for three more. Set aside the mixture to cool and then put it in a deep freezer for half an hour. You have your curd ready to be lapped up.
Revive those dried up citrus fruits
If there is a dry citrus fruit, ranging from a lime to an orange, revive the juice and life back into it by microwaving it for not more than 15 seconds.
Perk up an apple
Put an apple in the microwave oven and turn it on for 20 seconds. Not only will the fruit’s taste get enhanced, but you’ll also be able to easily scrape off the wax which is usually seen on apples these days.
To blanch and puree tomato
Take some washed tomatoes, puncture them in three to four spots and heat in a microwave oven for four minutes. The blanched tomatoes are ready. Smash or grind these for some instant puree.
Retain the goodness of sweet corn
Put corn cob with the husk in the microwave oven for four minutes. Turn it once in between to let it cook evenly. You will get roasted, tastier sweet corn with all the goodness intact.
Snack on healthy finger chips
Take some washed potatoes, puncture it in several places and cook without water in microwave mode for four minutes. Cut it in the desired shape, add chaat masala and serve it. You could also put the potato pieces in a baking dish on the grill rack and brown it in the convection mode at 200 °C for six minutes. Add chaat masala to it and it’s ready to be served.
Defrost meat or fish in less than 10 minutes
Heat the frozen fish or meat in a microwave oven for four to six minutes, at 40 °C or 50 °C for six minutes (the defrost time depends on the quantity of the meat/fish). And you have the defrosted items ready to be cooked.
Make paneer in 15 minutes
Take one litre milk in a bowl, add the curd starter to it, cover it with a lid and turn on the microwave oven for 12-14 minutes. Strain the contents in a cloth and you have paneer ready to go.
When sabudana khichdi is actually FAST food
Mix raw peanut powder, chopped green chillies, cumin and salt in a bowl and put it in the microwave oven for two minutes. Then take it out, add soaked sabudana, some lime juice, a pinch of sugar, mix it well, cover with a lid and cook for two minutes. You now have the yummiest sabudana khichdi, without a drop of oil, ready to be wiped clean off the plate. And it took you all of four minutes!
Poha in four minutes?
Take chopped onion, green chillies, cumin, mustard, turmeric, salt, veggies of your choice, and one to two teaspoon of any dal. Mix it well and cook it in the microwave oven for three minutes. Take out the mixture, add poha to it and mix well. Add one teaspoon of lime juice and sprinkle some sugar, cover it with a lid and cook for two minutes. You can now dig into the softest and healthiest poha.
Tips for choosing the right microwave oven
If you are convinced about the benefits of microwave ovens and are contemplating investing in one, then here are some questions you must keep in mind:
- What’s the USP of the product?
- Is it safe and simple to use?
- How many insta-cook options does it offer?
How many years of warranty does it come with and what are the terms and conditions to avail that?
Interestingly, the range of Godrej microwave ovens have a series of USPs — there’s a tadka option (which most Indian cooking just can’t do without), they are shockproof and come with an additional heater in the convection mode, so there is no need to preheat the oven while baking/roasting. Godrej microwave ovens also have wider range of instacook menus. Trained microwave chefs also conduct periodic cookery classes for Godrej microwave owners across India. The upcoming mobile application for owners will help in getting the most out of their microwave oven by providing a wide range of recipes as per the model they are using. It will also have video guides. With a three year warranty and a Caution, Maintenance and Utensil guide as a sticker on the oven, it seems like a good option for a novice as well as an expert in microwave cooking.