Microwave cooking has many advantages. Of course, like all cooking methods there are a few guidelines we should follow.
You can cook, steam, bake cakes and pie cases, defrost, dry herbs, remove skins of nuts by (roasting or blanching) etc in a simple microwave.
If you buy a microwave with convection and grill there are more possibilities but a simple one is also no less.
Food that can be cooked well
- Fruits and vegetables
- Fish and poultry
- Sauces and custards (that means thickening pastes of many types of flour to make various Indian snacks).
- Baking pie shells for making apple pie, taco shells,cakes and other quick breads etc.
Foods to be avoided
- Don’t hard boil eggs or cook shellfish. They explode from their shells when the steam builds up.
- Pancakes become soggy.
- Do not cook large pieces of anything as they cook unevenly.
- Do not deep fry as you will not be able to control the oil temperature.
Microwave is very useful if you use it correctly-
- Never turn it on when it is empty. At least keep a bowl of water when you want switch it on to check something.
- Never use it to dry papers or clothes or anything other than food.
- Do not allow small children to open the microwave door when it is placed on a high table, undue strain on the lower side of the door damages the door.
- If your oven starts sparking, switch it off immediately, this might be due to any metal like spoon or foil or metal engravings on the utensil you have put inside.
- Don’t cook store brought food in its packaging, they might have foil and the microwaves cannot pass through it.
You will love to cook in a microwave if you follow these-
- Food should be cut to same size because smaller ones cooks faster.
- If you want your eggs or cheese to cook slowly place a bowl of water, it will attract microwave energy and slows down the cooking.
- Thinner parts of food such as carrot should be placed in the centre as food on the outer parts get cooked fast.
- If your food gets cooked unevenly …place the food dish on top of a bowl, as raising it helps the waves to reach the bottom of the dish .
- Some plastic dishes may melt when food rich in sugar or fat is heated in it. Also avoid melamine and polystyrene as they may get overheated and break.
- Food cooks evenly when kept in a round dish or arranged in a circle.
- To check whether a dish is microwave proof, place 200 ml of water in it and heat on high for 1 minute. If the dish stays cool and only the water is hot, the dish used is microwave safe.
- Covering the food like gravy, vegetables and soup while cooking …avoids it getting spattered, also helps the food to cook fast due to production of steam and also the food does not become dry.
- Standing time is the time when the food is still cooking after coming out of the microwave. This standing time is part of the microwave cooking process.The food in the inner most region part of the dish gets cooked during this time.
- Line bottom of the dishes with baking paper or parchment paper to prevent the cakes from sticking. Remove the paper after standing time to avoid it sticking to the cake.
- Pierce food such as potatoes, tomatoes, capsicum, egg yolks any thing that is covered by a membrane, but do not pierce fish …just slash it across the big parts. Or it will burst due to steam build up.
- Microwaves penetrate food to about 5 cm or 2 " from outside, so denser food and food in the centre cooks slowly. You should stir it frequently during cooking so that the food from centre gets shifted to edges.
- Defrost food in containers in which it fits properly, if the container is big the food melts and spreads to far corners and gets cooked fast at the edges.
Microwave can be used for cooking all your meals or used as an assistant you in otherwise difficult or slow cooking process.
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