Microwave: This term has always been a mystery for many of us as we still don't know the correct way to use it. I've been struggling with this amazing electrical appliance for more than three years and it's my 'best buddy' now.
It has given me all good and bad times, starting from my first weird experience of 'roasting papad' in it which almost caught fire and my buddy just got saved!! But yes, it has saved me many a times when there was no gas or when there were too many guests and less time to cook.
Here, I'll share with you the different ways in which a microwave can be used in our daily routine and special occasion cooking...
- MASALA PAPAD: You can roast a papad in a microwave, provided the papad is not very old and not the South-Indian Papadum which usually burns or catches fire. Just put the papad on the microwave glass plate and heat for 40 seconds to 1 minute. You may turn the side in between. Do not heat for more than 1 min 30 sec. else it will burn. The papad roasted in a microwave looks much neater than one roasted on a grill or gas stove. You can also prepare 'Masala Papad' with it by topping this papad with finely chopped tomatoes, onions, coriander leaves, cucumber, raw mango, lemon juice , salt and chat masala.
- NUTS: You can roast almonds, cashews and nuts in a microwave. It just takes less than a minute to do so and you get a healthy snack ready for your evening delight. You can use these roasted nuts in topping ice-creams, custard, puddings, lassi, fruit curd or you can even add black pepper powder, chilly powder, salt and chat masala to it for giving it a sizzling taste.
Microwave can be of great use in drying 'rain-humid food articles. Eg. - biscuits. It can also be used for making 'Pudina Powder' out of semi-dried Pudina/Mint leaves. Just dry these leaves in microwave for 30 sec to 2 minutes depending on the moisture content and then store in a closed container for long term use. The leaves get so dry that you can powder them by just crushing them in your palm. Similarly, one can dry cardamom seeds in it for 30 sec- 1 min and powder them easily in a grinder as the moisture all goes off.
3. REHEATING and BOILING:
This is the commonest and the most widely known use of a microwave. You can reheat vegetables, beverages, food stuffs and refrigerated goods in it. Avoid excess heating as it might take off the essential nutrients from your food. You can also boil water, milk, and prepare tea and coffee in it, but be cautious while doing that as they could splash over your face after you take them out. Liquids sometimes get overheated in a microwave without rising at that moment. Later when you open the microwave and take them out immediately, they spill out. So always let the liquids stay in the microwave for 1 minute post-heating before taking out.
4. STEAMING VEGETABLES:
If you are a 'calorie conscious' person and you have moved to a healthy fruit and vegetable diet, a microwave could be of wonderful use to you. You can steam carrots, green beans, cabbage and make a healthy vegetable salad with it. Pour some salt, pepper and lemon juice for an added taste. You could also steam vegetables like cauliflower, tomatoes, onion, bottle guard in it if you plan to prepare 'sambhar'. Also, potatoes could be steamed in it! Take a small cloth bag, wet it and place a potato in it which has been previously pricked by you using a knife or a fork. Microwave this for 2-4 minutes. The potato will get steamed, though it will not be very easy for you to peel its skin off. Potatoes are anyway best boiled in a cooker. If you like 'Corn Bhel', then you could microwave corn kernels in it for 4 minutes. Add chopped onions, tomatoes, coriander, green chutney, imli chutney, chat masala, lemon juice, some ' bikaji namkeen' and salt to it. Also, one could prepare 'soups' in a microwave.
There are many things you can cook in a microwave starting from 'appetizers' to 'desserts'. Here is a list of a few of them. The detailed recipes will follow later section-wise.
1) Idli - Instant Rava Idli/ Traditional Idli
2) Instant Besan Khaman Dhokla/ Traditional Dhokla/ Green Peas Dhokla/ Moong Dal Dhokla
3) Mexican Spicy Corn
4) Indian Corn Bhel/ Masala American Corn
7) Steamed Momos
8) 'Bati' with additional grilling on stove
9) Apple Kheer
10) Lauki Kheer
11) Carrot Kheer
13) Besan Laddoo
14) Aata laddoo
15) Kesar Badam Pista Phirni
16) Milk Cake
17) Malai Barfi/ Peda
19) Coconut Barfi
20) Chocolate Barfi
21) Kaju Katli/barfi
22) Badam Barfi
23) Pista Barfi
24) Anjeer/ Fig Barfi
27) Khoya/ Mava
28) Mava Kesar Badam Kulfi
29) Raisin Oatmeal
30) Vegetable Pulao/ Steamed Rice
31) Aloo Matar Tamatar
32) Cabbage Carrot Capsicum - Mixed Vegetable
33) Soups and many more....
There must be many things that I have skipped or I can't recollect at the moment, so I'll keep updating. Also, your valuable tips and suggestions are heartily invited.