This is a very common conundrum…To buy a Microwave Vs Oven for an Indian Kitchen…It is a big investment especially if you consider the limited space we have in our kitchens.I am writing this cause I get a lot of queries on whether they should invest in an oven or a microwave.
I am especially writing this cause my mother was standing exactly at this point wondering what to buy -a microwave or an oven and she ended up buying a microwave cause it was so hip! So I want to do my bit in educating as many as I can so that they don’t end up wasting money and kitchen real estate in this worthless piece of machinery.
Let’s start with what a Microwave does.It is essentially used for reheating already prepared food.If you are especially enterprising you can cook in it too which will entail you removing the hot microwave proof bowl repeatedly in the intervals of say 30 seconds from the microwave and adding food.This device basically passes electromagnetic radiation of high frequency through your food and in doing so it totally strips the said food of all its nutrients and thereby changes its structure.So the spinach that you have been gulping down after microwaving it, thinking I will turn into a popoye soon is not going to get you anywhere.
If that was not enough, microwaving food also makes it dangerously carcinogenic.The microwave safe plastic bowls we use for cooking?The radiation is so strong from it that it also leaches the toxins from the plastic into your food.
I know its convenient to just heat that bottle of milk for your baby in the microwave but be aware of the fact that you are introducing extremely dangerous elements in that milk which is suppose to nourish your little baby.
All these technical factors aside, it does nothing to the texture of the food.Most cakes made in microwaves are dry and tasteless.All the moisture gets zapped the minute they are exposed to those harmful radiations.I can vouch for you that any cake you make in the microwave will be literally garbage compared to what you can make in an Oven.
Now lets talk about Ovens.
Oven is basically a hot environment created through coils on the top and bottom of the oven.The temperature and the time can be controlled,dont get an oven where you can’t control the temperature, it will be worthless.The food gets cooked due to the dry heat surrounding it like in a traditional Indian Chullah,tandoor or a wood fire oven.Tandoor is a sort of an oven where the naans get cooked because of the dry heat from the burning coal below but not everyone can keep a tandoor at home though the flavour from a tandoor is just incomparable.
Obviously the big win here is that you can actually cook in an oven vs just reheating already made food in a microwave.The list is endless! From Cakes,Kebabs,breads to cooking a whole chicken.You cant do any of this in a microwave(except reheating the baked food..Meh..)Most ovens have a rotisserie too so you can make kebabs on a rotating though I have never used that option.
Texturally,the food gets caramelised from the outside because of the high heat and cooked inside.You can control the temperature and the time to achieve the kind of texture you want.I cant even begin to describe the difference between a microwave cake and an oven.All those beautifully rich pound cakes and pies can never be made in a microwave even if you try and improvise.
There are some myths in buying an Oven though
-It consumes too much electricity.
It consumes as much electricity as a microwave so that’s not a comparative factor.
-You cant make Indian Food in it
I make the most amazing tandoori chicken ,kebabs and biryani in it.My brother makes the most sumptuous Naan in it too.
-You can only make Cakes in it
Again.Baseless.I make chicken wings,otatos,lasagneas,pastas,biryani,whole chicken in it on a regular basis.
Oven is a one time investment which can be used to cook almost anything under the sun!So don’t go on buying a microwave and wasting that precious kitchen real estate.
Write to me if you have any questions about buying an oven and I will try and help as much as possible.
I have a few suggestions on the ovens you can buy below.They are affiliate links to amazon.