Right from blanching tomatoes to creating exotic dishes, microwave has become girls’ best friend. It makes daily cooking less of a chore and more of a joy.
Cooking in a microwave makes life easier and exciting. Apart from reheating, it is used to boil, bake, skewer and thaw everyday food.
Even more important are the facts that it makes cooking simpler,ensures that the nutrients, aromas and natural juices are retained in the food and best of all no need for constant stirring as the food does not stick or burn. So ,less time in the kitchen and more time with family.
Trying out traditional recipes in a microwave can be so much fun and that’s exactly what I’m planning to do.
A few know-how’s will make cooking in a microwave even more enjoyable and delightful.
1. Timings are to be set carefully else the food if overcooked tends to become hard and leathery.
2. Initially it is better to undercook the food and then gradually experiment and learn the correct timing.
3. Any food that contains fats, sugars and a lot of liquid will cook faster in a microwave, so remember -reduce the cooking time by at least one quarter; this way, you can gradually add on more time until the food is cooked.
4. The cooking time depends on the quality of ingredients, temperature, size and shape of dishes and voltage fluctuations.
Food is generally allowed to stand for sometime before taking it out of the microwave as it continues to cook. This time is called the standing time,holding time, or resting time.It is the residual cooking time, a very important part of microwave cooking. It allows the food to finish cooking and gives the flavors time to blend, thereby improving the taste of the food.
COVERING THE FOOD:
1. Covering the food is essential as it prevents dehydration by trapping steam, speeds up the cooking time and help retain foods natural moisture.
2. When covering food in the microwave, always leave a small opening for steam to escape. This can lessen the chance that you will get burned when you remove the cover.
3. Microwave plastic wraps, wax paper, cooking bags, parchment paper, and white microwave-safe paper towels should be safe to use.
4. Never use thin plastic storage bags, brown paper or plastic grocery bags, newspapers in the microwave oven.
1. Stirring blends the flavors and promotes even heating.
2. Stir as directed in the recipe as frequent stirring is rarely recommended .
3. If needed, stir from the outside to the centre as the outside area heats faster than the centre.
ARRANGING THE FOOD:
1. It’s best to arrange the thicker areas of food near the edge of the dish and the thinner portions near the centre as the microwave penetrates the outer portion of the food first.
2. Foods such as tomatoes, corn, potatoes are to be arranged in a circle, rather than in rows.
1. Always use containers and utensils that are labeled microwave safe.
2. Never use metal in the microwave unless a recipe calls for it. Microwaves cannot pass through metal; they simply bounce off the surface. This can result in a fire could breaking out inside the oven. Utensils with metallic decorations around the rim as well as enameled cookware are out of question.
3. Deep dishes are best when making anything that has a lot of liquid as they will expand in the microwave.
4. Round dishes will cook food more evenly and efficiently than square containers or dishes.
1. Remove food from packaging before defrosting.
2. Do not hold partially cooked food to use later.
1. Never turn on the microwave oven when it is empty - this can also result in fire.
2. Remember to lower the amount of liquid the recipe requires by one quarter - when using a microwave, less water evaporates, so reducing the liquid prevents foods from becoming soggy.
2. Watch your seasonings. When adapting a recipe for the microwave, use less salt and other spices; microwave cooking can enhance the flavor manyfolds and ruin your dish.
3. Vegetables are really easy to do in the microwave. Steam them in a microwave-safe dish with about one tablespoon of water.
4. Deep frying is not possible as the temperature of the oil cannot be controlled.
5. Eggs are not be boiled in their shells as the pressure will cause them to explode.
6.When boiling whole potatoes, prick them in several places before placing them in the microwave.
Just like it took time to learn to anything new, microwave cooking too requires the same patience. But I assure you that on the long run, it will be worth the effort!