Microwaves now-a-days have become an essential part of the kitchen. If you’re married or living a bachelor’s life, you just cannot ignore the importance of having a microwave in your kitchen. And then microwaves are getting smarter as we see new models coming in market with more of the automation and less human efforts. Cooking in a microwave these days are such easy like making popcorn as now all you need to follow the pre-defined recipe and you’re good to go.
We Indians love our culture and so our food, and most of us love having paranthas, naan or similar things on daily or weekly basis. Plus having fried food occasionally is our weakness. There is such a big variety of food items we make, that it has lost count now. But with all the modernization, we now are shortage of time, but grown a bigger appetite. We now look for faster and easier way to cook food, especially those people who either don’t have a gas stove, or have all family members working. Not to forget college bachelors who’re just not able to make anything different from the usual because of the lack of resources.
That’s where a microwave can play a very important role in your life as it can cook almost anything you want which people usually cook on gas stove. Also cooking on gas stove is an tedious task and requires so much of patience, whereas cooking on microwave is easy and requires less efforts & time when compared to former.
Role of Microwave in an Indian Kitchen
So, what things a microwave can do for us? It can cook, fry, bake, grill and many more things which goes above my imagination levels. If you have read my review of LG Microwave previously, you’ll know that a microwave can make non-veg like Murg Tandoori, Bharwan Bhindi and many more recopies playing the role of a Tandoor.
Or i can make daily bread for me like making Roti, Naan, Paranthas, theple or even Kulche. For the frying part, all you need to just give a touch of oil to the pakodas, chips, vada, fish or even stuffed aloo patties and it can make those in the same manner what dedicated air fryer product offers.
If you’re a diet freak, then a microwave can make sprouts, various kinds of salads, chana, Nutri nuggets, soyabean, Fish bharta, spinach dal or even leaf rolls.
If i start writing on the things a microwave can make, you’ll be bored reading that. Rather, you should check out following screenshots of the complete menu which comes pre-defined in a LG microwave for example.
Points To Be Taken Care While Buying a Microwave
Although for many people, microwave is no more than a product for re-heating things. That happens because people are still more inclined to follow traditional methods rather than trying new modern methods. Still if your planning for having a microwave is to re-heat things only, then you should get a basic microwave which you should get in range of Rs. 6-8K range.
Or if you want to try making new recipes in a much faster and efficient way, and wants to save on the cost of expensive LPG cylinders which we are binded to buy every month, then you must keep reading.
Types of Microwave
There are 3 Kinds of Microwave ovens when not counting an OTG. Those 3 types are Solo, Grill & Convection microwave oven.
Solo Convection Oven is the basic model with microwave only option. It’s mostly used for re-heating, defrosting and for some basic cooking recipes. You cannot bake or grill in this type of microwave.
Grill Microwave Oven is also a solo microwave equipped with heating coils and have features like grill, roast or toast. These microwaves comes with an additional “Grill” mode in microwave settings and you’ll require barbeque sticks or metal racks to bring the food closer to the grill coils.
Convection Microwave Oven is a combination of Solo and Grill microwave along with the convection feature. If you have a convection microwave oven, you don’t need an OTG as it’ll have all the features of it. A convection microwave oven is the one our Indian kitchen needs as it can bake, grill, cook and many more which you might have never knew of. Using this microwave, you can make all the daily eatable items like i said above in this article.
Also having a convection microwave oven has it’s own benefit over an OTG as it heats up very fast, consume less electricity, cooks food faster, can do auto-cooking and is a boon for people with a busy lifestyle.
Features to look for in a Microwave
Power Rating & Size: Higher the power rating, lesser would be the cooking time. Power rating and size of microwave goes proportional to each other. Small sized microwaves are generally between 600-800 watts, mid-sized ones would be 900-1200 watts while the larger ones can be up to 1650 watts. Hence, if you’re making food for 2 people, small sized (up to 20 ltr) microwaves are enough, food for 4 requires mid-sized ones and are the most popular as mid-sized microwaves (20-32 ltr) gives you freedom to make most things which can be cooked on a gas stove.
Control Panel: While many people loves the looks of touch panel and find mechanical controls odd. But in reality, there’s a reason why few good companies opt for giving mechanical control in their high-end microwaves too because they’re good for heavy and rough usage.
Also you can change the settings without interrupting the cooking cycle and can be operated smoothly and preciously as per our requirements. Although same things can be done by touch buttons too, but those needs to be handled carefully and are more prone to failure with time. And the best layout is the combination of both, mechanical and touch buttons.
Short-cut Keys: Most companies provide the microwaves with short-cut keys for specific food items like for making popcorns or soups. Some keys provide you with option to navigate the pre-defined menu of recipes in microwave while some provide an easy way to set cooking temperature & timing. One key which you’ll find in most microwaves is of 30 second or 1 minute key, which helps you schedule your cooking time with multiple clicks.
Auto Defrost (Veg & Non-Veg): This is one of the useful feature which is still not being used widely because of no awareness about it. All microwaves can defrost food with some manual settings, but most helpful is when there is a feature of auto-defrost. So, you must choose a microwave with auto-defrost feature. Life would get easier!
Steam Cooking: Ever thought of making momos, Sarson ka Saag in a microwave. Making momos requires a special utensil to make, or you just fill a reservoir with water, select the steam cooking feature, as the water evaporates, it cooks the food and adds moisture to it.
Child Safety Lock: This feature is essential if you have children’s at home, as pressing wrong buttons during a cooking process can bring unwanted results.
Combination Mode: If you’re buying a convection microwave, then you must check if the microwave supports combination cooking or not. Like for cooking some recipes, once grill is required and then convection, or sometimes both are required to run at same time. This is a very important and essential feature for your investment.
Milk Pasteurization: While so many people don’t like standing in front of gas stove to keep an eagle eye on the boiling milk, so that it may not spill over. Now owing a microwave solved that issue by providing feature of Pasteurizing milk and it has many more benefits when compared with Raw milk. Read more on why to why to prefer to Pasteurize Milk over Boiling it?
Microwaves selection is not easy. When you go to market, you’ll be presented with a big range of microwaves whose pricing range would vary with Rs.12-20K with Convection feature. So the question comes, why there are microwaves with higher price tag? Simplest answer would be, while we can get a smartphone with bigger screen for 12K and same sized phone is being sold for 40K. Difference is of the features, your comfort and capacity of the product and then you need to keep in mind that you’re looking for a perfect microwave for an Indian kitchen. So ignoring above features i listed will not bring you the actual comfort which a microwave is capable of giving you.
While i have been using LG microwave (with Pasteurized Milk Feature) for a longer period, i bought that only after researching and confirming that it had all the features i required as i listed above. Other brands also offers similar features, but lacked on Milk Pasteurization or some failed to provide auto-defrost, or some lacked in providing a good number of auto-menus recipes. If you can find any model other than i have with all these features, do let me know in comments. I’ll happy to know more details about the product and recommending it to others.