Tips on Recipes

Reduce the amount of liquid in the conventional recipe by about onefourth when cooking it in the microwave oven because there is less evaporation in microwave cooking. Use less salt when cooking. The recipes cooked in a microwave oven tend to retain more salt as compared to the gas-cooked recipes and may taste saltier. Also use the other seasonings sparingly. Microwave oven cooking enhances the flavour of the spices. Always, reduce by half the amount and then add more after cooking if required While cooking liquid recipes like soups and sauces, use deeper dishes than you use in normal cooking because these foods increase in volume temporarily when microwave cooking. Foods containing liquid, sugar and fat cook faster. So reduce the cooking time by 1/4 of the conventional cooking time and then gradually increase until you obtain the desired result. Cooking rice in a microwave oven takes almost the same time as it does on gas.

Tips for Eggs
Eggs and the microwave oven are a great team; One dish after another, they add up to quick and easy meals with a minimum of clean up! Despite all it's attributes, though, the microwave oven doesn't do justice to puffy omlets- they need the dry heat of a conventional oven to puff beautifully. For successful eggs in a microwave, keep these few points in mind: Egg yolk, because it contains fat, tends to cook more quickly than egg white. Omelets, scrambled eggs and poached eggs microcook well on full power (high). Even out of the shell eggs may explode in the microwave because rapid heating causes a buildup of steam. Always use a wooden pick or tip of a knife to break the yolk membrane of an unbeaten egg before microcooking to allow the steam to escape. Covering cooking containers with a lid, plastic wrap or wax paper encourages more even cooking and- if you forgot to prick the yolks- helps to confine the explosion! Eggs microwaved in their shells WILL explode.

HOW TO TEST THE DISH FOR MICROWAVE OVEN SAFETY?
Before using the utensil for the first time, carry out this simple test. Place the utensil in the oven and place a glass filled with water inside. Microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes and if the utensil becomes warmer than the glass of water, it should not be used.

Cookware

MICROWAVE OVEN UTENSILS
DINNER PLATES:

Most of the dinnerware available is microwave safe. However, read the manufacturer's literature. If in doubt consult the manufacturer or perform the microwave test. GLASSWARE: Glassware that is heat-resistant is microwave safe. Do not use delicate glassware, such as wine glasses, as these might shatter as the food gets heated. PLASTIC STORAGE CONTAINERS: Plastic containers can be used to hold foods that are to be quickly reheated. However, they should not be used to hold foods that will need considerable time in the oven as hot foods melt plastic containers. PAPER: Paper plates and containers are convenient and safe to use in your microwave oven, only if the cooking time is short and the foods to be cooked are low in fat and moisture. Avoid coloured paper products as the colour may run. Some recycled paper products may contain impurities, which could cause arcing, or fires when used in the microwave oven. Remember: Paper plates, towels, napkins etc can be used only for reheating and not for cooking. PLASTIC COOKING BAGS: Plastic cooking bags, unless made especially for microwave oven cooking, should not be used in the microwave ovens. Make a small slit in the bag so that the steam can escape. Never use ordinary plastic bags for cooking in your microwave oven, as they will melt. POTTERY, STONEWARE AND CERAMIC: Utensils made out of these materials are generally safe to use in the microwave oven, but its better to test them before use. (Microwave utensil test) Ceramic dishes can be used provided they are non-porous. To check if the dish is non-porous, heat it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds. If the dish does not feel warm, it's a non-porous dish.

YOU CAN USE
For main dishes, vegetarian, non-vegetarian, deserts etc., Borosil, Ovenproof casserole dishes, corning ware, corelle or Pyrex can be used. 100 % cotton and linen napkins can be used for short reheating purposes, such as heating breads. Wooden spoons can be left safely in the microwave for short cooking periods.

NEVER USE
Do not use dishes with gold or silver edges as sparks may occur. Melamine is not recommended as it may char. Metal dishes, foil, decorations should not be used while cooking.

SHAPE OF THE CONTAINERS
Depth and capacity of the container are very important. Shallow dishes work better than deep ones. Straight dishes cook the food evenly. In sloping dishes the food in the shallow parts gets over-heated. Round and ring shaped dishes are excellent for food, which cannot be stirred.

Save Electricity Bills

If your microwave oven has the defrosting feature, defrost frozen food before cooking it. In case your microwave oven does not have the defrosting feature, save your cooking time, by defrosting frozen foods outside before cooking. Plan ahead - defrosting food in a microwave may be convenient, but defrosting it at room temperature costs nothing. Never peek into the oven many times when cooking. Each time you do that, a certain amount of heat escapes from the oven and the food takes longer to cook, thus increasing your electricity bill. Keep inside surfaces clean so the microwave radiation can reach food effectively.

Reheating Tips
Unlike normal reheating of food on the gas, reheating in the microwave is quick and efficient Just remember the following things To know if the food is hot enough, test the bottom of the plate, if its warm the food is properly heated. When reheating food in a plate, always place thick or dense food towards the outside and delicate foods in the center. Spread the food out for quick and uniform cooking. Cover the plate with a plastic wrapper (cling film) when reheating. Stirring occasionally helps to distribute heat more evenly.

Food Shape

SHAPE OF THE FOOD
Foods round or ring shaped, cook best in a microwave oven. When cooking food, the microwaves penetrate only about 2 cms into the food. These microwaves, cook the outer edges of the food. The rest of the food is cooked by conduction when the heat on the outside travels inside. Food that is square or cubical in shape takes the longest time to cook and also doesn't get cooked evenly.

HEIGHT OF THE FOOD
Never stack food one on top of the other in the microwave oven, as it will not get evenly cooked. If you are cooking tall food (like a large piece of cake or a huge chunk of meat), remember to turn the food several times as the upper portion always tends to cook quickly as compared to the other parts.

ARRANGING THE FOOD
Always place individual foods such as baked potatoes, cakes, tomatoes etc. at an equal distance apart and in a circular pattern. That will ensure that they get cooked evenly. Do not stack them on top of one another.

DENSITY OF THE FOOD
Light and porous food such as cakes and breads cook more quickly as compared to other foods. So, take care that the when microwaving cakes as the edges may get brittle and dry.

MOISTURE CONTENT OF THE FOOD

Microwave cooking tends to take away the moisture from the food, so when cooking relatively dry foods like roasts or some vegetables, sprinkle them with a little water before you put them in the microwave oven. Covering food with a lid or a special microwave cling film helps retain steam and moisture. Glass covers prove to be very useful when the food does not require much of moisture.

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