Thursday, August 14, 2008


The microwave oven has revolutionized the way we cook. The fast cooking, fast clean up qualities of microwave cooking fit right into the life styles of today’s busy homemakers. Little wonder then that microwave ovens have now earned a place in thousands of Indian homes. So what is it that makes microwave cooking so special? First, of course, is the speed with which it heats and cooks food. So you cut down on cooking time and seal in the freshness as well.

Microwave cooking also tends to be low-fat and hence is good for calorie watchers. Finally, as you will learn from your own experience, the microwave oven provides a host of new shortcuts and problem solvers for chores such as roasting papads, blanching and steaming vegetables, making popcorn etc. Soggy and soft namkeens and nuts become crisp on microwaving for only a minute.

You will be surprised at the numbers of recipes on Indian food that can be made in the microwave. I would like to share some recipes with you so that you can also be adventurous with the microwave oven. You’ll realise that it goes much beyond the regular reheating of food.

Masala Peanuts

Preparation time: 5 minutes. Cooking time: 2 minutes. Makes 1 cup approx.

½ cup Unskinned and salted peanuts
½ cup Bengal gram flour (besan)
2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp fennel (saunf) powder
1½ tsp black salt (sanchal)
1 tbsp oil
2 to 3 tbsp water

1.Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl ensuring the batter coats the peanuts evenly.
2.On a greased microwave safe plate drop each of the coated peanuts separately and microwave on HIGH for 1½ minutes.
3.Remove and cool. Store in an air-tight container.

Pineapple Kesari

Preparation time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 9 minutes. Serves 2.

½ cup rawa(semolina)
½ cup pineapple purée
1 cup water
½ cup milk
5 tbsp sugar
a few strands saffron (kesar)
2 tsps ghee
¼ tsp cardamom (elaichi) powder

1In a microwave safe bowl mix together the pineapple purée and 1 tablespoon sugar and microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes.
2.Add the milk, water, remaining sugar and saffron and microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes.
3.In another microwave safe bowl mix together the semolina and ghee and microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes, stirring after every 30 seconds.
4.Add the rawa to the pineapple mixture and microwave for 4 minutes on HIGH, stirring once after 2 minutes.
5.Add the cardamom powder, mix well and serve hot.

Spicy Pulao

Preparation time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 13 minutes. Serves 4.

1 cup long grained rice
½ cup green peas
½ cup diced carrots
2 tbsp curds
a few mint leaves
2 tbsp ghee
salt to taste

To be ground into a chilli paste
6 Kashmiri chillies
3 cloves garlic (lehsun)
12 mm. (½”) piece ginger (adrak)
2 tsp coriander-cumin seed (dhania-jeera) powder

1. Clean and wash the rice. Soak in lukewarm water for about 10 minutes. Drain and keep aside.
2. In a glass bowl, combine the ghee and the chilli paste and microwave on HIGH for 1 minute.
3. Add the rice, peas, carrots, curds and salt with 2½ cups of hot water. Microwave on HIGH for 12 minutes, stirring twice in between after every 4 minutes.
4. Add the mint leaves and toss lightly.
Serve hot.

Doodhi Muthia


Preparation time: 10 to 15 minutes. Cooking time: 9 minutes. Serves 4 to 6.

For the muthias
2 cups white pumpkin (lauki), grated
1 onion, grated (optional)
1 cup whole wheat flour (gehun ka atta)
¾ cup semolina (rawa)
½ cup Bengal gram flour (besan)
2 tablespoons green chilli-ginger paste
½ teaspoon turmeric (haldi) powder
½ teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon cumin (jeera) seeds
½ teaspoon fennel (saunf) seeds
juice of 1½ lemons
2 tablespoons sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped coriander
½ teaspoon soda bi-carb
½ teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
4 tablespoons oil
salt to taste

For the tempering
2 teaspoons mustard (rai) seeds
1 tablespoon sesame (til) seeds
½ teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
4 tablespoons oil

For the garnish
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
2 tablespoons grated coconut

For the muthias
1. Strain the liquid out of the grated pumpkin and onion, keeping the liquid aside to use if required to knead the dough.
2. Combine all the ingredients for the muthias in a bowl and knead into a very soft dough adding the strained vegetable liquid if required.
3. Using oiled palms, divide the mixture into 4 parts and roll out into cylindrical rolls approximately 200 mm. (8”) long and 25 mm. (1”) in diameter.
4. Place 2 cylindrical rolls in a greased shallow glass dish and cover with a lid.
5. Microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes. Allow to stand for 1 minute.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 to make 2 more rolls.
7. Cool and slice into 20 mm. (¾”) pieces and keep aside.

How to proceed
1. To prepare the tempering, heat the oil in a large pan and add the mustard seeds and sesame seeds. When they crackle, add the asafoetida.
2. Add the sliced muthias, toss well and stir over a medium flame for 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Garnish with the coriander and coconut.
Serve hot with green chutney.

Handy Tip: To check if the muthias are done, insert a toothpick in the centre. If it comes out clean, the muthias are cooked.

Variation: You can use cabbage or fenugreek leaves instead of pumpkin.



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Anonymous said...

I first learned about microwave cooking of Indian food from Julie Sahni's book Microwave Moghul - it's full of all kinds of great ideas for real Indian cooking. I haven't seen much of anything else - so thank you, Tarla, for giving us more recipes for the microwave - I hope there will be more and more.

Anonymous said...

Hello Tarla Ji, My passion is cooking and I keep trying to make something new. I am planning to buy an microwave. Can you tell me the things that i have to look for b4 i make a purchase. Which is the best brand out thr? Can I use microwave for baking? I want one which is versatile and not use it jst for re-heating food. Pls, suggest..

Tarla Dalal said...

Dear Manju,

The two main types of microwave ovens are standard microwave ovens and combination microwave/convection ovens. Convection is a means of cooking that involves circulating hot air around foods. It may be used alone or combined with microwave cooking to add speed to the cooking process. This method allows even browning and crisping of foods.

Convection microwave ovens let you cook with both microwaves and convection (method used by an ordinary oven). They tend to be more expensive and require more energy than microwave ovens but they are able to brown and crisp meats and other ingredients while preserving their juiciness, permit baking, and can speed up cooking time for large meals.

OTG’s (Oven toaster and grill) are the best suited to baking. However, if you are going to choose among microwaves, convection microwaves are better suited for baking than the standard microwaves since they give a better texture and colour to the baked recipe. They can be used for more than just reheating of food.

You can choose from variety of brands that are available these days in the market. They come in various litre capacities. Brands like LG, Kenstar, Samsung are few of the brands you can look at.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Tarlaji.. Will keep your comments in mind b4 I make a purchase.

Gayatri said...

Hello Tarlaji,

I just love your recipes and I can say whatever I know today is bacause of your site and books !! Was just wondering if you can offer a book on Indo-Chinese food and some festival foods ( especially for Gujarati festivals food for Diwali and Uttarayan ) ..

Thank you.

Kannan said...

Hello Tarlaji,
I love your cooking. I'm a proud owner of 2 of your cookbooks.
I'm totally new to MICROWAVE cooking. I just use it to reheat foods. I have bought a 1000W microwave solo. Should I follow the recipe directions as such or should I make any modifications to cooking time, power etc.?
Also, some recipes say like "on HIGH for 5 mins" asking me to stir every 1 min. HOW should I proceed?

Anonymous said...

cpls give me recipes on how to bake cakes in a microwave!! its very confusing...especially timing and temperature control

Anonymous said...

hi Tarlaji,

how can i roast papad in khiccha papads in OTG ovens, not microwave.
wat temperature..wat time??

Tarla Dalal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tarla Dalal said...

It is not a great idea to roast Papad and Kichiya Papads in an OTG oven as there are chances of catching fire and will not get roasted properly.

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Anonymous said...


Due to health hzard I don't want to use Microwave,Please suggest if you have some coockery books on OTG coocking.


vipin said...

Is microwave with convection able to cook pizzas, biscuits cakes as good as OTG does.

Tarla Dalal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tarla Dalal said...

If you are aware of all the rules and regulations for making different dishes, just follow the enclosed booklet for instructions, then yes baking can be done.

Here timing is the most important part, so make sure that you follow exact recipe to bake.

NT said...

Hello Tarla Maam,

Im a student who would be travelling abroad for studies. Could you please guide me as to some quick, easy to make recipes.Being a student I would get much time to cook so would require something that requies easily available ingredients and is quick to cook. Thank you Maam.

Unknown said...

dear Tarlaji,my son is 10yrs old n is a celiac,allergic to gluten protein,not milk.Ihave been looking for some good indian veg rec for my son.He is fond of spicy n chaat type of foods.I made a cake for him with rice flour,makai ka aata,n amarnath aata,malai,milk,coffe powder(cocoa,chocolate powder not allowed),it was grt.Pls help me nson to get some good food.Thanking you.


Tarla Dalal said...

Dear Radhika,

Here i give you two gluten-free recipes, do try them.

Unknown said...

hi, I want to roast papad in my LG microwave. How to do that quickly in absence of any stand for roasting papad?

Unknown said...

hi, I want to roast papad in my LG microwave. How to do that quickly in absence of any stand for roasting papad?

Unknown said...

hi tarla mam, i have got my new whirlpool microwave can u plz hlp in making cooies & pizza in it. i have tired many times but it alwaya went wrong plz hlp

Unknown said...

hi tarla mam i have whirlpool convection & grill microwave can you plz hlp me in operating this plz

Unknown said...

Hi tarala mam, I want to cook Bengali chicken dishes for my wife. But I can't operate microwave.Pl help me to cook

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

Hi tarla ji can u pls tell me what types of recipes I can made in my solo microwave