Microwave Cooking Pros and Cons

Microwave Cooking

• 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. Microwaves are high-frequency electromagnetic waves which release energy to food to cook or reheat without changing either the form or the colour. 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.

• One can use 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.

• 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
• Modifying Microwave Recipes
• Measuring Cups, spoons and jugs
• Measuring Liquids
• Emergency substitutes
• Glossary of Cooking Techniques
• Glossary of Ovenware
• Useful Tips

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. 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. Aluminum foil 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. China and earthenware, Porcelain, pottery, glazed earthenware and bone china are usually suitable, unless decorated with
a metal trim

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.

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. Top 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

Measuring Cups

• For dry ingredients like flour and sugar, spoon ingredients lightly into cup, then level with a knife.

• For cereal and breadcrumbs, pour into a cup and level with a knife.

• For solid fats, spoon into a cup and pack down firmly with a spoon, it’s easier to measure fat at room temperature.

• For ingredients such as shredded cheese, grated coconut chopped nuts, spoon into cup and pack down lightly.

• For thin liquids like milk, pour into a spoon until full.

• For thick liquids and dry ingredients pour or scoop into a spoon until full and then level with a straight edged spatula or a knife.

Measuring spoons (nested)

Sizes: – Spoons used for measuring come in sizes ranging from ¼ teaspoon to 1 tablespoon, i.e. (¼ teaspoon, ½ teaspoon, 1teaspoon and 1 tablespoon).

Uses: – Spoons are used to measure liquids and dry ingredients.

Nested measuring cups sizes: Cups range in sizes from ¼ cup to 1 cup. i.e. they are available in ¼ ,1/3, ½ and 1 cup sizes. They are used to measure dry ingredients like flour, sugar etc. and solid ingredients like fats like butter.

Measuring Jugs

Uses – They are used to measure liquids. Always read the line on a measuring jug at eye level when checking the volume of liquid. Place the measuring jug on a level surface and slowly pour the liquid into the jug until it reaches the required mark.

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