Kitchen Queen

It won't be far-fetched to say that a majority of households in India use microwave ovens just to reheat food. But Jaipur's Mona Garg proved otherwise. The homemaker dished out a traditional Rajasthani thali, complete with dal-baati churma, which won her the title of Mallika-e-Kitchen 2011, a national cookery contest. The grand finale was held at JW Marriott Chandigarh on Thursday, where 24 contestants, selected from among 5,000 entries from across the country, came up with main course dishes cooked live in a microwave oven, in 90 minutes. "The microwave oven not only speeds up cooking, but is also a healthier way to cook," said Garg. Pondicherry-based Mehak A

Melwani, the first runner-up, tossed up a healthy pizza and bread in the microwave, using beetroot. Tortellini and Herbed Shrimp, an Italian dish with Indian ingredients, won Bhuvaneshwar's Nibedita Sarangi the second runner-up spot. This is the third successive year of the contest. The dishes were then judged by culinary expert Nita Mehta and chef Neelesh Limaye, who is known for his cookery show Aamhi Saare Khavayye on Zee Marathi.

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