Microwave or OTG: Which is Healthier??

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Are you in a conundrum of choosing your next cooking technology? ‘Microwave or OTG’ has been asked by many, more often than not.

Most of us have similar confusions when deciding upon our upcoming kitchen mate.

Let us know everyday technical facts regarding their impacts on our health and general usability??

Modern Cooking Technologies

Cooking is no less than a ritual for chefs, but even for us–‘the mango people’–it has achieved a rather important status. There are tons of tools and technological inventions available just to make cooking more efficient. 

There is an interesting and extensive history of cooking. Summarily, from tossing food into the fire to the present sophisticated instruments like a convection oven, we have come quite a long way.

The often neglected sunlight and open air are essential ingredients for tasty and healthy food, but shrinking spaces and times do not allow for such luxury.

Accelerated and controlled cooking is essential for people living in modern apartments on restricted time schedules. 

So, we’ve turned towards the likes of present-day ovens. Microwave oven and oven toaster grill (OTG) are two prime candidates for modern-day cooking. 

Depending upon the types of cooking required, both have pros and cons over one another. Let’s discuss them one by one.

Microwave Oven

Microwaves are transmitted by an electronic tube (known as magnetron) inside the oven, which are reflected by interior metallic walls and absorbed by the food.

These electromagnetic rays, microwaves, cause the water molecules to vibrate, producing required heat energy to cook the food.

It is best used for quick reheating. Although it can cook from the scratch, the taste may be bland to many.

Uniform cooking is achieved by rotating food tray (turntable).

Microwave vs OTG
Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

Cookware Material

Specific containers labeled as ‘microwave safe’ are used in microwave ovens, which is generally mentioned in their product manuals.

No matter what print and digital media are trying to make you believe, there are some safety and health concerns regarding microwave ovens.

If not for microwave ovens, stainless steel is the no. 1 choice for cooking utensils considering safety and durability standards. But you can’t use it in a microwave oven.

In fact, no metallic containers can be used inside these ovens, as they are impenetrable to microwaves. 

Apart from Glass containers, your choices for healthy cookware material are next to ZERO. Plastic containers leach harmful chemicals so they are a big NO for concerned individuals.

Studies have found that certain chemicals in plastic can leach out of the plastic and into the food and beverages we eat. Some of these chemicals have been linked to health problems such as metabolic disorders (including obesity) and reduced fertility.

Harvard Health Publishing

There you go, it boils down to a much simpler choice, ‘kids or microwave oven’. 

Even so, if you’re hell-bent on using these ovens, use only glass containers designed specifically for such ovens.

Radiation Risk

Next comes the safety concern: radiation exposure of microwaves.

While in operation, the microwave oven should be completely sealed off from the outside. No radiation should leak from its door or any other body parts to say. Ideally, you should not be present near the oven when it’s operating.

Any escaped radiation from the oven can cause your body to burn the same way it heats the food because your body contains at least 50% water.

So, you may feel cooked–as microwaves will vibrate water molecules inside your body, generating uncomfortable amounts of heat.

Although the risk of these accidents is negligible, it’s there, and such events were recorded in the past.

Let’s move to the older cousin of the microwave oven.

Oven Toaster Grill (OTG)

It is composed of a metal compartment with heating coils attached to the inside walls (top and bottom) and a fan (optional) for even circulation of hot air.

It has multiple compartments to cook different items at the same time. You can also opt for one with a motorized rotisserie to cater to grilling and roasting.

It is primarily used for baking, roasting, and grilling.

It consumes relatively more time, but food cooked with OTG tastes significantly better and is crispier.

Pertaining to the importance of taste in their professions, pro bakers and chefs generally use oven toasters.

Photo by Marcos Ramírez on Unsplash

The most common problem with OTGs is their cooking times. It can range anywhere from 10 mins for reheating to an hour or more for cooking–depending upon the recipe.

Barring this, it’s light on your pocket in comparison to similar-sized microwave ovens.

You can set the exact temperature for specific recipes, which is a luxury-unavailable in microwaves.

Go for OTG for a food menu stuffed with pizzas, cookies, cakes, etc.

Convection OTGs

It’s nothing but OTG with a fan for eliminating cool spots on the inside.

It helps in proper cooking since the fan rotates hot air evenly to heat the food.

For small OTGs (16 liters or less), normal OTGs may work just fine. But for bigger ones, convection OTGs generally results in better cooking.

Convection Microwave Oven

It is a technological blend of a simple oven and a microwave oven. Being the costliest option, it contains goodies of both.

So, you get faster reheating or crispy-and-tasty food in a single machine at a time.

But the catch is, you can’t cook multiple food items in these ovens, as it contains a turntable similar to a simple microwave oven.

And because of the placement of the turning tray–a base heating element is absent in these ovens.

So, if your recipes require base heating like in cake–this might not be the best option for you.

Both convection and simple microwave ovens are short on inside space as compared to OTGs.

Microwave or OTG: Wrapping Up

1. Purchase a microwave for simpler things like reheating, defrosting, etc. Don’t expect the food in the microwave to taste as good as your mum’s food.

2. For shorter cooking times, a microwave oven is the ideal candidate.

3. For everything else, an OTG is an indomitable candidate. It cooks healthier and tastier while being far safer in operation.

4. Go for a conventional microwave oven if your heart is clinging to a microwave oven and your tongue longs for taste.

5. There is no debate as microwave or OTG for pro-bakers and foodies. They have already declared their winner in OTG a long way back.