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Using the microwave oven effectively
Dec 17, 2003 07:35 PM 7979 Views
(Updated Mar 03, 2004 06:52 PM)

Using the microwave oven effectively

Hi all,

Like all other electronic equipments a microwave must be used in a proper manner to get its max benefit and to avoid disappointment of hungry stomach. Here are a few tips an' tricks for using your microwave oven effectively.

(And also some GK about microwave)

1) Never listen to the cook books, downloaded recipes and other guidelines. All humans are not equal; and so are microwave (MW) ovens. The cooking time varies with the make of your oven and also depends upon how you place your food in the MW. So, Use this iterative programme:

Cook for 5 mins. Stop and check if it's done.

If you ever studied physics :-) , you will probably recall that waves interfere with one another and produce a pattern of varying intensities at different places. That's the reason why simply rotating your cellphone results in different incident signal strength. (Try it, if you haven't noticed it earlier)

Similarly, inside your oven, there are MWs with different intensities at different points. That's why there's turn table fitted with every MW so that food is cooked evenly everywhere. But it's my experience that this is not enough. By some abstract mathematics, it's now proven that the intensity of waves inside the oven is minimum at the centre and high near the edges and again drops to zero at the walls. (because they are metallic) And your turn table simply rotates (doesn't move food from the centre to the edges and vice versa) which is clearly not enough.

So, when you cook a small amount of food, you should scatter your food along the periphery of the dish. If you are cooking large amount of food, place thinner pieces in the centre so that they aren't overcooked and thick pieces near the edges so that they receive high radiation.

2) It's a myth that microwaves cook ''inside out'' The radiation does penetrate the food but doesn't reach deeper than 3-4 cms. So, don't expect the machine to reheat a pile of rotis or a thick slab of meat. But you CAN cook thick stuff in a MW since while cooking, there's enough moisture to conduct the heat deep inside the food.

3) Never try to boil and egg or reheat boiled egg in a MW. It'll explode. Not a magic! The trapped steam inside the egg is the culprit. The same is true of big potatoes, beets and similar stuff. Slice them up nicely if you must use MW, and sprinkle enough water so that the steam temprature is never reached.

4) After my 4th failure, I've reached the conclusion that no fish can be cooked in a microwave. I guess the reason is: oil doesn't absorb the waves so it doesn't get heated at all. And, that's why you can't fry in a microwave, unless you use microwave tawa or something which transfers the heat to the oil. Even if you don't make fried fish, all fish inherently have oils (omega and all those) in their bodies so, a fish cooked in MW tasted horrible. The proteins are cooked, but not the fatty acids. It gives some horrible combination of cooked, half-cooked and uncooked chemicals and you finally throw away highly nutritious stuff in a country where a third of the population starves to death!!! (I possess very strong views about wastage of food and will soon write a threatening review on that)

5) If you make tea or coffee in a MW, a good stir is must. Once again, I apologize for making you sit in your physics class. The explanation goes something like this:

water is highly ionic

and by some magical mathematics, the microwaves set up a local circular currents in the water which causes only certain portion of water to get heated up excessively . So, if you gulp in one sip, the coffee seems OK and you gulp in another and you jump 10 feets high and do ''Hash Hash'' to soothe your burned mouth. And, so you should NEVER heat milk bottles in MW and shove them in a poor baby's mouth.

I guess that's all for now. I'm a very poor writer. Don't know how to stop. So, here I give a nice thick full stop to indicate the ending.


(c) Amey Purandare.

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