Food cooks evenly, quickly and efficiently in the microwave.
Also the nutrients are preserved and the actual taste of the food is retained to a higher degree.
Only a minimum amount of oil is required for cooking continental as well as traditional Indian dishes and so it seems desirable from the health point of view.
Also shorter and controlled cooking time means that the food does not get burnt or over-cooked.
Food may be cooked and served in the same dish.
Another major advantage is that food is cooked minus the smoke, grease and heat and so the kitchen remains neat and tidy always.
Microwave has multifarious uses like de-frosting, re-heating, etc.
Microwaves are a form of the electro-magnetic energy.
The microwave oven is designed to generate electro-magnetic waves, which are contained in the cooking cavity.
The waves cannot be seen. Microwaves act in three different ways.
Absorption - when the food is micro waved, the water molecules present in the food get stimulated and heated up and so the energy of the microwave is concentrated on cooking the food faster.
Transmission - Microwaves are attached only to water molecules and so they ignore everything else except the food to be cooked.
Reflection - Microwaves are absorbed by food and pass through materials like glass, china, wood, paper and plastic, but they reflect on metal.
There are two types of microwave ovens,
1) Simple microwave oven
2) Microwave and convection oven.
The microwave oven cooks food as well as re-heats it. The convection system heats, browns and dries the surface of the food for crisping. This type of combination cooking is best for tandoori dishes and the convection system alone is best suited for cakes and other pastry - based appetisers that need a flaky crust. But for microwave/ convection combination cooking, the cookware should be both heatproof and micro safe. For convection cooking, the cookware needs only to be heatproof.
Food must be placed off-center as the microwave energy disperses more to the corners and sidewalls. Items like idlis should be arranged in a circle with space among them. Chops should be arranged with the thinner areas pointing to the middle of the utensils.
Ovenware treated for high- intensity heat such as bowls, cake dishes and also bags, film, paper towels, practically any material can be used except metal. But metal can be used for the convection mode. Metallic dishes should not be also used in the combination mode. Pottery and plastic ware declared microwave-safe could be used in the common microwave oven.
Ceramic wares can also be used but make sure that they don't have any metallic rim as they may cause arcing. Food items containing high proportion of fat and sugar should not be used in glass utensils, otherwise they can be used commonly.
Melmoware and melamine wares are to be avoided; paper towels, greaseproof paper and cardboard can also be used provided they don't have any staple pins in them. Wood items can be used in the micro-oven but not for a long time.
This is an important factor to be noted. Dishes must be or filled depending on the liquid content of the food. If the dish is too small, the food will boil over and if the dish is too large the thick curry will spread out and overcook. Shallow vessels make cooking faster. Cakes, chicken, meat and rice dishes cook well in large bottomed vessels while round dishes are ideal for cooking vegetables and curry dishes.
The microwave oven door should not be subject to any strain.
It should not be used often and also a bang is to be avoided. Any misalignment may cause leakage of the microwave.
Small quantities of food with low moisture content can burn, spark, or catch fire if re-heated for long.
Do not operate an empty oven as it can cause damage to the oven.
Keep at least five cms space between the back of the oven and the wall immediately near it as it allows the exhaust air to escape.
Do not install the oven near gas burners or near radios or TVs.
Do not deep fry in the oven as it is not possible to control the temperature of the oil and it may result in catching fire easily.
If food catches fire turn off the oven, remove the plug out, but do not open the door of the oven.
Keep the interior of the oven clean as small specks of food particles inside can reduce its efficiency.
Do not cook eggs with the shells as they explode.
Do not heat food or liquids in bottles with lids closed.
Do not warm bottles with lids on for babies.
Milk or any food for kids must be heated on simmer mode only.
Pierce vegetables and fruits with tight skin to prevent them from bursting before cooking them.
1) Cooking Potatoes
Place some 5 potatoes in a micro-safe dish with half water. Cover and cook in High mode for around 9 minutes and then allow it to stand for sometime. Then drain and peel.
2) Cooking popcorns
Place a handful of corn in a micro-safe dish and cover it. Then cook on high mode for 5 minutes and then transfer it to a paper packet.
3) Cooking curry
In a micro-safe dish put one tablespoon of oil, one tablespoon of ginger-garlic paste and cook on high mode for 4 minutes. Then add some chopped tomatoes and the required masala for the flavor desired and cook on high mode for another 4 minutes adding some water to the mixture.
4) Roasting of nuts
Spread the nuts on a ceramic plate adding salt or any other masala to taste and cook high for 3 to 4 minutes. Serve after 5 minutes.
5) Cooking custard
Mix well one-cup milk, two tablespoons of sugar and two tablespoons of custard powder thoroughly and cook on high mode for 2 minutes and serve after cooled.
6) Preparing Pizza topping
Place one-tablespoon oil, one-cup tomato puree, one-cup tomato paste, and salt and pepper to taste in a micro-safe dish and cook on High for about 6 minutes.
7) Cooking vegetables
In a micro safe dish put about 250 grams of vegetables desired with salt tot taste and about two cups water and cook on High for 16 minutes.
8) To make bread crumbs
Cook bread in the oven on High mode for 2 to 3 minutes and then crush it.
Wrap the chapattis in a napkin or in a paper towel and heat on high mode for 2 to 3 minutes.
10) To crisp biscuits, etc.
Place the biscuits, nuts or chips on a plate and heat on high for 1 minute and allow it to stand for 5 minutes.
11) To prepare finger bowl
Micro High a small bowl with two tablespoons water and juice of one lemon. It can also be placed in rooms to absorb any strong odours.
12) Preparing chicken stock
Take two pieces of chicken, one onion, one potato chopped and salt and pepper to taste with two cups water and cook on high for 14 minutes at power level of 60. Drain and keep the stock aside.
13) Preparing vegetable stock
Take the vegetables, onion and chopped potato and salt and cook on micro 60 for 12 minutes