Microwave ovens are wonder machines on our kitchen counter. While most families rely on the microwave to reheat food and milk, to make tea or coffee in the morning rush hours, you can be smart and use the microwave innovatively for many instant snacks for mid day munching or to go with your evening tea or coffee. We Indians have a habit of consuming namkeens and sev with our chai, but microwave gives an option to get fresh, crisp and crunchy roasted nuts or seeds within minutes. We can even roast a few lentils and chickpeas to make tea time snacks in a snap. Whirlpool microwave ovens with 6th sense technology are very well suited for such sensitive bakes.
Using microwave oven for specific foods is a little different and once you know how to handle moist foods, oily foods and dry food ingredients efficiently in a microwave, you are well equipped with the expertise of using the microwave for almost everything in the kitchen. Nuts are oily foods and cook really fast in a microwave but when we want the masalas to stick to the nuts’ surface, a few tips come handy. Let’s see how we can make yummy masala coated roasted nuts while the tea brews on the side.
To roast nuts like cashews, almonds, peanuts, pecans, hazelnuts and walnuts we need to rinse the nuts in plain water and drain completely before roasting in microwave. This allows the nuts to become a little moist so the heat distribution by microwaves will be uniform and the nuts wouldn’t get burnt. Getting the nuts moist also helps in sticking the spice powders to the nut easily while roasting in the microwave. So after rinsing and draining these nuts, sprinkle the required amount of any seasoning or masala you like. This can be a standard chaat masala, some salt and pepper, a mix of honey and red chilly or even honey and cinnamon powder. Some standard sauces like hot chilli sauce, schezuan sauce or lemon butter with herbs can also be used to coat the nuts to get a variety of flavours every time the nuts are roasted. After mixing the seasoning, sauce or spice mix well with the rinsed nuts, place them in a ceramic or Pyrex bowl and microwave the nuts mixture for a minute. Take out the bowl, and turn the nuts over with the help of a metallic spoon. Now repeat the process 3-4 times, turning the nuts every time after one minute in the microwave at high. After 3-4 rounds in the microwave, the nuts get completely dehydrated and cooked through and the spice mix sticks well to the nuts. Let the nuts cool completely before consuming.
Take care not to roast large amounts of nuts in the microwave at once. To roast nuts evenly and not to let them get burnt, it is better to roast about a 100 gm nuts at a time. Roasting larger amount of nuts in one go can result in a few burnt nuts in the middle of the bowl, resulting in wastage. Remember to never use plastic containers to roast nuts or cook any dry ingredients in the microwave.
If you want to roast seeds like sesame, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds etc. in the microwave, rinse the seeds briefly under running water. Take about 100 gm seeds in a strainer and run through tap water. Now sprinkle salt if required and place the seeds in a ceramic or Pyrex bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes, stir to turn them over and microwave again for a minute. Let it cool completely before the seeds are consumed or used for a recipe. Such roasted seeds can be used over salads, to make pesto, chutneys and dips as required.
You can roast partially soaked chickpeas too the same way as nuts. Just season them with salt and roast just like cashew or almonds to get freshly roasted chickpeas with your tea or coffee.
Healthy snacks are just a few minutes work in the trusted microwave. Use your microwave optimally for better, healthier food.