How to use a microwave oven for Indian Cuisine?
The best results are obtained by combination of microwave cooking and stove top cooking
Microwave oven can play a significant role in Indian cooking. Unfortunately, many want to use microwave ovens and totally abandon stove top cooking, or use a combination microwave ovens. .
Cooking vegetable curries
Many recipes suggest to fry onions, spices, and vegetables in a given sequence, add tomatoes and little water, then microwave till cooked. It does not save time, it may even take longer. The added water and tomatoes absorb microwaves and extend the cooking time. The cut-up potatoes will stick together needing to stir. For damp curries, refrying may still be needed, texture may be lost. There are two efficient ways to make vegetable curries with appropriate texture.
Method 1 Cooking with Masala
Step 1: Fry onions, spices vegetables with no water.
Step 2: Cover and cook, still no water.
Step 3: Add tomatoes and minimum water.
Step 3: Cook to finish.
Method 2 Pre-cook vegetables
Step 1: Pre-cook vegetables in the microwave without water.
Step 2: While the vegetable are getting pre-cooked, fry onions and spices.
Step 3: Add precooked vegetables. stir fry for two minutes to cover the vegetables.
Step 4: Add tomatoes and water if needed and finish cooking.
Pre-cooking Vegetables in Microwave
Microwaves are excellent time saver to pre-cook vegetables. Don not add water, milk, tomatoes, or other fluids. The added fluids will absorb microwaves and take longer to cook. Green peas don't need to be pre-cooked.
Pierce whole potatoes with a fork couple of times and bake in the microwave on Hi. If you slice the potatoes, the slices will stick together, even rubbing slices will oil does not help much. After the potato has been baked, let it cool and then slice to make curry.
2. Cauliflower, Broccoli
Cut into desired equal length flowerets. Put in a dish, cover with plastic film wrap and bake on Hi. Do not add water.
3. Butternut squash (Kaddu)
Cut in to large equal size 5 or six pieces. Bake on Hi. I don't peel before baking. It is easier to peel Kaddu after it is baked. Peel and cut on as needed basis.
If you want to make Halwa, peel, grate, cover with plastic film, and bake on Hi. Do not add milk before baking.
Peel or scrape. Cut into equal size pieces needed according to recipe. Cover with plastic film and bake on Hi.
Microwave oven is very efficient to bake eggplant for making Bharta. Pierce the whole eggplant with a fork couple of times. Put in a dish and cover the whole thing with a plastic film wrap. The eggplant sort of explodes with steam. The plastic film will prevent the eggplant from splattering all over in the oven. Bake on Hi, remove skin if desired.
It is becoming common to emulate Khoya by mixing regular milk and dry-milk and baking it in the microwave oven to avoid scorching of milk. This sort of works but lacks the texture and nutty flavor of Khoya. To this end, I recommend to finish Khoya in a non-stick pan with some butter.
Use two cups of water to one cup of water for most of the split decorticated beans and cook on hi for about 20 minutes. The time and and amount of water will vary. Making Dal in microwave does not save time over stove top cooking.
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