Saturday, 9 June 2007


or how to cook popadoms at home without a microwave.

About four years ago our microwave caught caught fire. It was the second microwave I have blown up actually. The first time was at a flat I was sharing with a friend, I was cooking a kumara for lunch and the next think I knew there were flames and smoke pouring out the vents at the side.

We decided that I probably shouldn't have a microwave again, at least for a while.

I don't know how often you use a microwave, but we used to rely on it for cooking things as well as reheating and defrosting. We thought it would be hard to live without, but actually it was fine. There were a few times that I was a bit stumped as to how to do something without the microwave, but that was just because I had to do them differently.

The first time was when I was faced with cooking frozen peas. I honestly/sadly couldn't think how to do it without a microwave ; the peas were so much nicer being boiled in water on the stove.

Another time was when my sister's baby was just starting solids and she needed to heat Millie's food ; a pan of simmering water, with a bowl on top did the job, possibly better than the microwave.

Reheating leftovers was probably the biggest challenge. However we have found that soup gently heated on the stove doesn't get that crusty edge with the cold middle as it can in the microwave. Meat reheated in a foil package in the oven or in a pot with a wee bit of gravy or sauce tastes tastes much better without that rubbery texture and taste. Above all, a fresh cup of tea is miles better than your forgotten half cup reheated for the third time.

The most satisfying discovery of all was when we wanted popadoms with our curry. We had always cooked popadoms in the microwave. It is one of the most fun and exciting acts of microwave cookery. We could hardly think where to start with out the microwave. We now cook our popadoms in the oven and once you taste a roasted popadom next to a microwaved popadom I am sure you will only use the microwave to cook a popadom to entertain small children.

And with that final challenge overcome I can honestly say, I don't miss the microwave at all!

Home Roasted Popadoms

Popadoms, any size
Optional ingredients: oil and spices such as garam masala or ground cumin

Heat the grill in the oven to its maximum, with a shelf as close to the grill as possible.
If you want to spice up the papadoms spray or brush them lightly with oil and sprinkle with the spices.
Place the popadoms under the grill, either on a tray or directly on the shelf. I usually do no more than two full size ones at a time because they cook so quickly. Removing as soon as they are puffed and golden. I like a few singed areas, but if you do not, be extra vigilant. No need to turn them over if the grill is hot enough.
They can also be baked in a hot oven, but I think the grill gives the best result.

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