One year following India's ban on specific single-use plastic items, a recent study conducted by Toxics Link, titled "India's Single-Use Plastic...
Microwave Ovens (MWO): Choose the Best for Easy Home Cooking
Microwave ovens are all about convenience. Whether you want to warm leftovers, make soup, tea or coffee, make instant snacks like popcorn, or cook some kebabs or paneer tikka, no other appliance makes it as easy as a microwave. It fits into our rushed lives like a glove, doesn’t it? Choosing one can be super easy since the market is flooded with some of the finest microwave oven brands, both national and international. The top manufacturers whose products are available in India are IFB, LG, Samsung, Bajaj, and Murphy Richards. These brands are designed keeping in mind the requirements of consumers and are equipped with the latest user-friendly technology and smart features. However, with all these options, choice can also become all the more difficult. Which type of microwave oven works best for my home and what is the best size and capacity for my needs? Here is a comparative study on the most-selling brands and models of convection microwave ovens.
Types of MWO
Three types of microwave ovens are available in the market.
- Solo microwave ovens
Solo microwave ovens are entry-level models for simple/limited cooking. Best fit for reheat and simple cooking.
- Grill microwave ovens
These are provided with additional grilling accessories. They are suitable for reheating, cooking and grilling.
- Convection microwave ovens
Convection microwave ovens use a fan and a heating element to create airflow patterns inside the microwave oven. These are best for reheating, cooking, grilling and baking.
Size/Capacity of MWO
The size that is best suited for you will depend on the number of family members and how often you are likely to use the microwave oven. In India, the microwave oven is used more to warm the food than to cook. In general, up to 20 litres is sufficient for a family of 2 to 3 persons; 21 litres–30 litres for a medium-sized family; and above 31 litres for a large family or large cooking. Depending on the size of the oven, you have the power consumption range. Naturally, the larger ovens consume greater power.
What is the Usable Cavity Volume?
Generally, manufacturers mention the volume (in litres) of the microwave, including all the internal space in the inside cavity. But this volume isn’t the same that we measure, because a substantial part of this volume is not really usable. For consumers, the maximum usable capacity is the longest cylindrical utensil that can rotate inside the oven, if we deactivated the turntable. The rated volume does not match with the complete cavity volume, which is 30 to 45 per cent less than the rated volume. Therefore, the useful volume is that volume where the turntable rotates in the cavity. Larger the turntable, better it is for even cooking. It may be noted that usable cavity area may be quite less than the rated capacity claimed.
Important Features to Consider while Buying
Apart from regular features like auto defrost, multistage cooking and cooking-menu buttons, check out the following attributes before making your choice.
- Auto Cook Menu
This feature has pre-set programs that help in simplifying the preparation of different recipes. All you have to do is to select the type of dish and the weight. The oven will automatically calculate the time required and set the power accordingly.
- Child safety lock
This will prevent children from operating the microwave oven accidentally.
- Power rating
Check out the power rating. Microwave ovens come in the range of 600 to 1,500 watts. More watts mean faster cooking as it generates higher heat and in less time.
- Cooking sensors
These humidity-sensing sensors determine the humidity in the food item you are about to cook in the microwave and accordingly determine the cooking time. You should look for this feature while buying your microwave oven as it will eliminate the guesswork from your cooking and avoid overcooking of food.
- Operating control panel
Look for an oven that has a control panel that is easy to operate. If you have enough information and if it’s easy to determine which button is for what, then you should be okay. Besides, those touch panels look cool too.
- Multistage cooking
This feature is very good for Indian cooking style as our food is cooked at various temperatures depending on the amount of time. Some food items need to be cooked at high temperature initially and then moved to low temperature after a certain time. Multistage cooking will help you to automate this process by setting time intervals and temperatures to be used while cooking the food.
- Handy shortcut keys
Having shortcut keys on your microwave oven will make your life easier as common food items like popcorn and noodles require a fixed cooking time. You can cook these items by just pressing the keys from the auto-cook menu.
- Auto defrosts
Just enter the weight of the food item and the oven will determine how much time is needed to defrost it. A nice feature for those ready-to-eat frozen-food lovers.
v Cooking power
Microwave ovens come with varying powers ranging from 700, 800 to 1200 watts. More watts means faster cooking which helps when you are in a hurry. It’s better to opt for lower wattage models if usage will not be very frequent. You can also opt for high-end ones that offer higher capacity for larger households or cooking large quantities is needed frequently due to busy working schedules etc.
Take These Safety Precautions
v Carefully read the operating manual before starting the microwave oven.
v Look for microwave-specific cookware. Never use metal or metal-trimmed utensils in your microwave oven.
v Do not operate the oven when empty (except in prep-heat mode). It is best to leave a glass of water in
the oven when not in use. The water will safely absorb all microwave energy if the oven is accidentally started.
v Do not operate the oven with a kitchen towel or a napkin; always use gloves when removing the dish from oven.
v Do not rinse the turntable by placing it in water just after cooking.
v Do not cook eggs in their shell as these will explode.
v Do not attempt deep fat frying in your oven.
v Remove the polythene/plastic wrapping from food before defrosting.
v If smoke is observed, switch off or disconnect the oven from the power supply and keep the oven door closed.
v Liquid or other foods must not be heated in sealed containers.
v Do not cover the ventilation slots.
v Avoid aluminium foil for cooking wrapped food.
v Do not try to repair the oven by yourself. Always take it to an authorised service centre.
v If you use your microwaves frequently, you should clean them at least once every couple of weeks.
v If any food remains stuck to the microwave walls can get overheated, it can have terrible effects.
Important Things to Know
How Does a Microwave Oven Cook Food?
Microwave oven is an electronic appliance generally made up of various sub-assemblies and contains a microwave generator called magnetron. This magnetron, when powered, generates high-powered electromagnetic waves. Inside walls of the microwave oven cavity are reflective, which reflect these radio waves and pass through the food item kept inside a microwave oven on a turntable. Due to these microwaves, molecules inside the food item vibrate, and since vibration generates heat, this heat cooks the food
Are microwave ovens safe?
Microwave ovens are considered safe if used properly. The food is just as nutritious (more so in some cases) as with any other cooking method. The electromagnetic waves stop as soon as you cut off the power and open the door; they don’t remain in the food and make it radioactive.
Can a microwave oven destroy the proteins/nutrients in food?
No, cooking food in a microwave oven does not destroy the nutrients. In fact, nutrients get destroyed due to overcooking or cooking at a very high temperature using any form of cooking like boiling.
Comparison at a Glance: Of Convection-Type Microwave Ovens
For our survey, we shortlisted the regular-selling brands of convection-type microwave ovens.
|S. No.||Brand||Model||Capacity/Litres||Warranty on Product/ Magnetron / Cavity, Year||Wattage||Cavity Material||Color||Net Weight, Kg||Price, Rs.|
|12||IFB||25SC4||25||1/3||800||Stainless Steel||Metallic Silver||16.1||12990|
Note: Price may vary from retailer to retailer. For latest price, please check at amazon.in or
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