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Let me solve this query as simply as possible. There are two types of rays, firstly IONIZING RAYS (like x-rays, gamma rays as also cosmic rays which being short build up in the body and are harmful), and secondly NON-IONIZING RAYS which do not build up in the body and hence are non-hazardous. Sun-light, radio and television rays and microwaves are all non-ionizing rays. HOW DOES A MICROWAVE OPERATE? Microwaves are high-frequency electromagnetic waves which release energy to food to cook or reheat without changing either the form or the colour. You can use your microwave oven to : Defrost Reheat Cook The microwaves generated by the magnetron are distributed uniformly as the food rotates on the glass plate. The food is thus cooked evenly. The microwaves are absorbed by the food up to a depth of about 25 mm. (1"). Cooking then continues as the heat is distributed within the food. Cooking times vary according to the following properties of the food : Quantity and density Water Content Initial temperature (refrigerated or not) As the centre of the food is cooked by heat distribution, cooking continues even when you have taken the food out of the oven. Standing times specified in recipes must therefore be respected to ensure both even cooking of the food right to the centre as also achieving the same temperature throughout the food. MICROWAVE COOKING TECHNIQUES Microwave cooking isn't really so different from traditional cooking and the factors that affect the cooking time for conventional methods of cooking also apply here. However, the following factors need to be borne in mind. Microwave cooking time is greatly affected by the QUANTITY of food cooked. This means that the cooking time increases if any ingredient is added to the recipe. The SIZE of the pieces of food also affects the cooking time. Small cubes of potato cook more quickly and evenly than large ones. Also, thinner slices cook faster than thick ones.
Appropriate ARRANGEMENT of food in your microwave can help the food cook better. Arrangement with thicker, slower cooking pieces towards the outside edge usually works best. The food in the centre is generally the last to cook. Using the proper UTENSIL makes a difference too. Food tends to cook more evenly in round dishes than others, and food spread out in a shallow dish will cook faster than the same food placed in a narrow deep dish. MICROWAVE COOKWARE To cook food in the microwave oven, the microwaves must be able to penetrate the food, without being reflected or absorbed by the dish used Care must therefore be taken when choosing the cookware. If the cookware is marked microwave-safe, you do not need to worry. The following table lists various types of cookware and indicates whether and how they should be used in a microwave oven. To test if your glass / china / earthenware / plastic ware is microwavable, place it in a microwave oven filled with a cup of cold tap water. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute. If the water is warm and the container is cool, the container may be used. MICROWAVESAFE Avoid
COOKWARE Aluminum foil
COMMENTS Can be used with care in small quantities to protect areas against overcooking. Sparks can occur if the foil is too close to the oven wall or if too much foil is used Porcelain, pottery, glazed earthenware and bone china are usually suitable, unless decorated with a metal trim
China and earthenware
COVERS Covering a container in which food is cooked helps to hold the steam, keeps the food moist, distributes the heat more evenly and contains splatters and spillage. Here are a few handy hints to help you choose the best cover for your container. Close fitting lids of microwave-safe material may be used Plastic wraps though more versatile may melt if they touch hot food. Hence always ensure that the plastic wrap you are using is microwave-safe When you want retain a minimal amount steam in the dish, cover the food loosely with wax paper or damp cloth A paper napkin when used as a cover absorbs the grease or excess moisture.
Rice and dals are cooked uncovered to prevent spillage of water due to boiling over. Do not use air-tight or vacuum-sealed bottles, jars or containers as microwaving might cause increase of pressure inside them and in turn may cause them to explode. DONENESS AND STANDING TIME Some recipes call for standing / resting time to complete cooking and to allow the heat to distribute evenly throughout the food. For this, you may place the container without removing the lid on a flat surface or simply leave it in the microwave with the power off. It is easy to overcook foods in a microwave oven, so if the food seems nearly done, let it complete its resting time and then check for doneness. If it is still undercooked, you may microwave it further. MODIFYING MICROWAVE RECIPES Doubling or halving a microwave recipe requires careful consideration To double a recipe, you would have to increase the liquid content by 50% only and not double it as evaporation is slower. The cooking time also increases, so it is advisable to start with 50% more time When you halve a recipe, keep the same sized dish but reduce the cooking time by half and then increase it as required. CARING FOR YOUR MICROWAVE Always keep your microwave oven clean and handle it gently. Do not bang the microwave doors when shutting them. Do not cover the ventilation slots with cloth or paper. The cloth or paper may catch fire as hot air is evacuated from the oven. Never operate the oven when empty to avoid damage to the oven walls.
Do not use metal containers, non-microwaveable plastic containers, chinaware with metal rims and recycled paper. Details given in section on Microwave cookware. For quick microwave clean-up, heat about 1/2 cup of water to boiling point. The steam will help any spills or stains to come off more easily. If your microwave is damaged in some way and there is leakage of the microwaves, stop using it immediately and have it checked by a professional microwave serviceman. MICROWAVE MAGIC Given below are some handy tips and quick fixes that will make your daily cooking less of a chore. Dried Mint : Just place one cup of fresh mint leaves in a glass dish and microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes. Remove and crush them lightly.
Popcorn : Just place half or cup of popping corn in a glass dish covered with a lid and microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes with 2 tablespoons of butter and salt. Roasting : Half a cup of cashewnuts or almonds when microwaved on HIGH for 1 minute and 30 seconds make crisper nuts. Papads and spices can be roasted by microwaving for only a minute. Blanching Almonds : Just combine ½ cup of almonds with a quarter cup of water and microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes. Allow to stand for 2 minutes, drain and then peel the skins. Zero Fat Potato Wafers : Slice the potatoes thinly, soak them in ice cold water for about 10 to 15 minutes, drain and pat dry on an absorbent cloth and microwave on HIGH in a flat plate for 5 to 6 minutes or until crisp. Salt and spices may be sprinkled over later. Advantages of microwave cooking 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.
Types of ovens 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. TIPS ON USING A MICROWAVE OVEN Position of food 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. Cooking 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. Container shapes This is an important factor to be noted. Dishes must be ½ or ¾ 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. Safety features 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.
USEFUL TIPS FOR COOKING DISHES IN MICROWAVE 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. 9) Chappathi 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
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