Apart from reheating cooked food, thawing frozen food and cooking raw foods like fish and vegetables, the microwave is an invaluable cook's mate. Use it to soften butter, heat sauces and melt chocolate. Microwaving is very fuel-efficient and fast, taking a quarter to a third of the time needed in conventional cooking. Both oven cleaning and washing up are usually reduced.
As microwaves stop when the oven door is open, and the oven itself is not hot, there is less risk of anyone being burnt. This is especially helpful with children, the elderly and the disabled. The chances of food boiling over or burning are reduced as the oven is set to switch off. Microwaving is also healthier in that less fat, oil and liquid are needed and more nutrients are kept in the food.
Microwave ovens are very useful but have disadvantages with some types of recipes. Anything which needs hot air to rise, such as puff pastry, will fail as the air inside a microwave does not get hot. Roasting is also less successful, but you can brown meat by frying or grilling it briefly before or after microwaving. A combination oven can work as a microwave and convection oven simultaneously, and speeds up cooking while also giving food a brown, crisp finish.
** Asian Recipes