Use your microwave oven for more than just reheating leftovers
Need to blanch tomatoes? Need to add fried onion slices to rice? Head for your microwave oven. A boon to the working woman microwave cooking not only saves time, but also keeps the nutrients of food intact. It can be used to cook theoretically ‘anything’ but it’s better to use one’s commonsense while cooking with the microwave as it does not give favourable results with all types of cooking. Instead of relying completely on a microwave to cook complicated dishes like curries, the best way is to combine microwave with conventional cooking to minimise cooking time and energy usage.
For example, cooking potatoes, cauliflower, beans and other vegetables with a little water (just a little water at the base) for four to five minutes in a microwave and then using them in curries cooked the conventional way is a great way to save time. For the health conscious substituting microwave cooking for that kadai can reduce the amount of oil used to cook oily dishes without sacrificing the crisp taste. Make sure you crush the mustard seeds for seasoning instead of attempting to crackle them. Fried onion slices to garnish rice dishes is made faster and is less oily when done in microwave. Just add enough oil to lightly coat the onion slices and microwave for few minutes until it acquires that fine golden colour. Make sure you stir in between.
Need to blanch tomatoes? Wash and cut a cross shaped incision on the stem part of the tomatoes, arrange them erect on a plate and microwave for a minute or two until the tomatoes soften. Cool and peel the skin off easily.
Besides popcorns roasting peanuts are just as easy in a microwave. Just spread peanuts on the glass turntable of the oven after coating them with a little salted water if necessary and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes as per the amount, stirring halfway through. You can freshen stale chips, biscuits or even cornflakes in a matter of seconds in the microwave.
You can cook ripe bananas to perfection by microwaving them for three minutes after washing and cutting them in two. Use the microwave to make homemade ghee from leftover malai. Dry herbs like mint, coriander and parsley without losing their colour and keep them for later use.
It can even be used to sterilise jars used to store homemade sauces, pickles and jams.
It’s best to use heat resistant high quality glasses while cooking dishes in the microwave which require prolonged heating.
Don’t cook large chunks of meat, fish as the waves may not penetrate deep enough to cook them evenly. Microwaves come in handy when guests appear suddenly. Use your creativity while using your microwave oven and you’ll soon find that it’s worth every penny you spent on buying it.NANDINI M.THILAK