However, I have come across many people, who use a microwave oven for years, but only for reheating and never for cooking anything. Since I use it regularly for cooking food as well, I am often asked questions about it. Hence this post.
I must make it clear at the beginning itself, that this is no fool-proof method, only a tried and tested one. You have to play around a little bit with that gadget to get the feel of it. Go ahead and experiment, it's not going to explode. :) Most of the home appliances made nowadays are rather strong and can sustain some abuse too. Try and see what happens by pushing all the buttons and turning all the knobs at least once. Many of you bloggers/readers are with science/engineering background, so I don't have to stress the importance of reading the user's manual either. Also, please check the wattage of your microwave, because the cooking times increase or decrease inversely proportional to it. I use a 700Watt microwave oven at the moment, so all timings mentioned here correspond to that.
Although what I am going to write here is not a 'recipe', I will still call it that for want of a better word.
Recipe for Cooking Rice in the MW oven
Rice as per your need
Water, twice the amount of the rice and a little more
A few typical examples would be
½ cup rice & 1 cup + 2 tbsp water
¾ cup rice & 1 ¾ water
1 cup rice & 2 ¼ cups water
1 ½ cups rice & 3 ½ cups water
1. Take a glass (e.g. Pyrex) container. I have observed that cooking in porcelain/ceramic and plastic containers does not give satisfactory results, although they are microwave-friendly and can be used successfully for reheating food.
2. Take the required amount of rice in it and wash it a couple of times. Let's not forget that washing rice more often results in loss of important nutrients.
3. Add the appropriate amount of water to the rice.
Rice being soaked
Now, there are many theories regarding the rice being soaked in water before being cooked in the microwave. The recommended soaking times vary from 10 to 30 minutes. I have seen that soaking the rice reduces cooking time - but only by a minute or two. So, in the end effect, it's not really a time-saving idea. I, however, still always soak the rice for about 10 minutes. I somehow feel that it cooks better when soaked.
4. Place the vessel with rice and water in the centre of the microwave now. Set the time. This can vary for different microwaves with different power. Below are the times rice takes to cook in my microwave with 700Watt.
½ cup rice 9 minutes
¾ cup rice 12 minutes
1 cup rice 16 minutes
1¼ cups rice 20 minutes
1½ cups rice 23 minutes
Sleeping grains of cooked rice before standing time
However, leave the rice in the microwave for another five minutes for it to stand. Make sure that the microwave is turned off then. The standing time allows the rice to cook to its optimum. Once it has stood well, the rice grains will look pretty as they will be in a 'standing' position, as you can see in the very first picture in this post. (I don't have a high-resolution camera. It's a Kodak 3.2 mega pixels CX 7300. Hence my pictures are not as clear as I would have loved them to be. Sorry.)
A few things worth keeping in mind:
1. Do not cover the rice while cooking in the microwave at any stage. The water in it can boil over. Cover the vessel only after the standing time is over. If it is covered before the standing time is over, the rice grains do not stand up in a 'saluting' position. This, however, makes no difference to the taste and the texture of the rice.
2. Do not bother stirring the rice in between. It is neither necessary nor recommended.
3. You could add a few drops of lime juice to the rice while cooking, so that you get whiter looking rice. (Safedi ki chamkaar jyaada! :))
4. Adding a small blob of butter or a few drops of ghee while cooking gives the rice a pleasant sheen.
The advantages of cooking rice in the microwave oven are:
1. This versatile gadget doubles up as a rice cooker. It comes in handy especially when you are cooking several items at the same time and there is no gas burner/hot plate 'free' for rice.
2. You don't have to keep an eye on it (or keep an ear open for the pressue cooker whistle) once you have set the correct time.
3. Rice gets cooked very well with separate rice grains, which are ideal also for making various kinds of pulao.
4. Rice can be reheated in the same container as it was cooked in. Since it is cooked in a glass vessel, it can also be proudly put in front of guests as it is. Transfering it from the everyday vessel into a 'good' container is not necessary then.
I hope I have mentioned all the points that one needs to keep in mind when cooking rice in the microwave oven. In case I have forgotten any or you have some more tips, please feel free to point it out to me.
Tags: rice , microwave cooking