Crispy Dosas in the Microwave Oven

This is a follow-up to Sukumar’s post on Why can’t you make toasted bread and crisp dosas in your microwave oven?

A week ago, I saw an ad on the television about a new microwave. Whirlpool India has introduced MagiCook 22C Grey 22Ltr Convection Microwave with a Micro Tawa option, which can make a Dosa, Pizza, Parathas etc. This convection microwave uses Combination cooking method which combines traditional cooking(bottom up heating) with the microwave technology for shallow frying. For the CRISP mode, it is a combination of Microwave and Grill together, when the Tawa is set to a certain power level the active layer of the dish is uniformly crisped and browned to perfection thus creating the Maillard Reaction.

I started my research to understand the basic Oven and its types.

An Oven is an enclosed compartment used for heating,baking or drying. The earliest known ovens existing in the Indus
Valley Civilization and the proper front loading ovens were used in the Ancient Greek for making breads.

Now let’s see what is the difference between Microwave Oven, Conventional Oven and Convection Oven.

A microwave oven works by passing microwave radiation through the food.A conventional oven has heat radiating from a single or multiple sources and heating the internal area of an oven and cooking your food.

A Convectional Oven uses a fan and a heating element to create air flow patterns inside the oven, thus ensures optimum browning of the food in the fastest possible time, sealing the juices and prevents drying out of meats.

Look at the picture below, let me now tell you about a Convection Microwave.


Convection microwave ovens combine a convection cooking with microwave oven to cook food with the speed of a microwave oven and browning of the convection oven. Convection microwave ovens are more costly than the regular microwave ovens.

A convection oven will have about a 25 to 30% reduction in cooking temperature, and a 21% reduction in cooking time, compared to a conventional oven. This comparison will vary, depending on factors including, for example, how much food is being cooked at once or if airflow is being restricted by using an oversized baking tray.

Convection Microwaves were initially considered to be high-end kitchen appliances. They were more expensive than a conventional oven. Over time the price of convectional microwaves has dropped and can be bought for around the same price as a conventional microwave.

Please share your experience if you have tried it already. Does it really make good dosas and Parathas? 


  1. Quote

    Thanks for the followup post Sujatha. Very interesting find.

    Does it mean that microwave ovens on their own can’t produce the maillard reaction without using convection technology?

  2. Quote

    Sukumar – Conventional microwave ovens can’t produce the Maillard reaction. They can only be used to cook quickly or to reheat food.

  3. Quote

    Several years back, someone came up with a bright idea of “chapati maker”. Technically you can make a chapati on it, but rest assured it won’t taste half as good as one made the traditional way!

  4. Quote

    Convection Ovens create the maillard effect -browning,crisping the top layer while keeping the inside of the food moist whereas the conventional microwave ovens create the caramelization effect which makes the food hardened when we try browning\crisping of food. I have tried making the tradional mysorepak in microwave using the caramelization and it turns out good but food like dosa or paratha requires only the outer layer to be crisped. Although, Maillard reaction and caramilization looks similar they both have different effects on the food.

  5. Quote

    Priya, Although lots of TV channels telecast cooking shows using the microwave for daily cooking we only use it much for coffee and reheating.

    Raj, I do remember the chapathi maker which promised to make chapathi straight from the dough to the plate. And i agree with you the traditional way is better than the modern one.

  6. Quote

    Thanks Sujatha. I didn’t realize Caramelization is different.

    The browner/crisper i referred to in my post, does work, although not that effectively. The basic thing we learnt (I and Priya Raju) is that for the maillard reaction you need to have direct contact with the source of heat and the different parts of the food should be heated differently. This happense in a typical tawa by the fact that the part of the dosa that is in contact with the tawa gets heated higher than the upper part of the dosa. This is one of the key aspects of creating a maillard reaction.

    I agree the chapathi maker doesn’t make good chapathis. But i think it is just a matter of time. There was a time, when people said dosa batter made in the grindstone is the best way to make dosas untill the wet grinder was invented.

  7. Quote
    Maheswari said February 18, 2008, 10:37 pm:


    These Convection microwave ovens come in handy for some of the frozen “fried ” foods like french fries,fish fingers etc.This broils the food far more better than the microwaves .But as far as crispy dosas go, nothing can beat the good old cast iron griddle, right?.I have been quite successful in making carrot halwas, palkova and even mysore pahu in microwave.

  8. Quote

    Yes, the currently marketed convection microwaves in india have the broiler option. The microwaves that we get in the US are mostly conventional microwave oven.

  9. Quote

    Sometimes I don’t know why we have a microwave oven 🙂 Mostly, it just sits haughtily on a pretty green glass counter that we made specially for it.

    We sometimes heat left-overs from the fridge. And we heat milk/cream for coffee/tea.

  10. Quote
    Ravindran Chellappa said February 19, 2008, 5:35 am:

    Priya, console yourself!! At least in the context of many Indian homes, all this microwaving, non-stick doesn’t seem to play much of a role, save sit up somewhere waiting to be dusted 😀

  11. Quote

    Ravindran – People don’t use non-stick tavas in India? I’m very surprised to hear that! Non-stick tavas do make life very easy! Unless someone’s masochistic, they won’t let dust gather on their non-stick pans.

    I was actually exaggerating – We do use our microwave to make rice & idlis, not just to heat food/milk. Its also useful for thawing food from the freezer. Its way too painful to reheat food by any other way.

    What I mean is, it has limited use, unlike a traditional cooking range or an oven.

  12. Quote

    We use the microwave often because we are used to it in US but as Ravindran mentioned in most of the homes in india(my mom included) it sits like a small tv on table. The reason being they don’t use frozen foods, they think coffee(kapi) only tastes good when milk is boiled in the stovetop, they don’t eat leftovers above all although they buy the expensive microwave oven they have limited microwavable containers(it is too costly:-)). But i do think it is a boon for working women especially after a tiring day of work. Priya, I could imagine how much u would be using it given the amount of coffee(i hear you have reduced drinking coffee) you consume daily 🙂

    As Maheshwari mentioned i have started using the microwave to make some sweets, i do make idli’s, instant oatmeal, heat milk and water,coffee, steam vegetables etc. I use the microwave atleast 10-15 times in any given day.

  13. Quote

    Yes, Sujatha. I’ve greatly reduced my kaapi binges these days. Only 12 cups a day. Such restrictions are very difficult. But I manage somehow.

  14. Quote

    Priya, restricted to 12 cups of kappi, i could imagine how all your internal organs are drenching in caffeine and their struggle to reach shore. Oh! please save them.

  15. Quote

    Let me have a few more cups of kaapi. Then, my internal organs can float to the top near my mouth, jump out & escape.

  16. Quote

    I bought a Cuisinart Coffee Maker. Religiously made coffee for more than an year. Recently I cleaned my good stainless steel classic south indian filter, put 2 spoons of Maxwells, used microwave to boil 1 cup of water, and used my stainless steel filter. Once I added 2 ounces of fresh milk, I again started enjoying my morning cup.

  17. Quote
    Ravindran Chellappa said February 25, 2008, 5:12 am:

    Well, call that non-stick utensils part an exaggeration from my end if you want to! 😉 Lolz. Yeah, but most of these special utensils do require some special care (much like silverware I think, from whatever personal experience I have!) Else, they seem to be losing whatever property for which they were bought in the first instance! Not that I want them to withstand all kinds of rough handling… but an occassional rough use does seem to put them out of order!!

  18. Quote

    I do agree with you Ravindran, all these newer invention do need a lot of care. But don’t you think the mud pots and pans would have required the same care. 🙂

    Vamsi, i also have the traditional stainless steel filter and i occasionally use it too.

  19. Quote
    Ravindran Chellappa said February 25, 2008, 7:24 am:

    Sujatha: Yep, mud pots and pans would probably require greater care, and that would the last thing my mom would give me to handle, what with my reputation of making a gaping hole in a “pittala anda” 😀
    But I didn’t mean to go so back dated too!! Some kind of sturdy “eversilver paatrams” is what I had in mind when I was talking about the rough usage (the least that happens to them when I use them is – they get disfigured 😀 No other damages, they can still safely be used for cooking!) But handle a teflon coated non-stick tava a bit roughly, what I see the next moment is a totally unusable one, brand no bar in most cases, at least with me! 😀

  20. Quote

    Totally true. I do envy people who take good care of their utensils and make it sparkle, i am also the one who is known for rough handling like you. Pressure cooker is one thing that doesn’t like me, i have had more than 10 pressure cookers in the past 11 years of my experimenting at the kitchen but nothing could hold to my level 🙂

  21. Quote

    Very interesting article. I’m thinking of getting a microwave oven that has a combination cooking features. Does anyone knows of a good microwave oven brand?

  22. Quote
    aruna said May 3, 2010, 1:27 pm:

    I have been using a Sharp microwave combicook for the past many years .I cook all most all the Indian as well as continental dishes .
    the only dish that has made me a failure is the Indian bread or the chapati as we would call it.Pls somebody kindly tell me whether it is possible to make it in microwave , if so how?

  23. Quote

    hi frnds,
    can u pls anyone tell me that how 2 make chappathi in godrej microwave oven

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