The 4,3,2,1, plus formula used in my video demonstration was for a 700-watt oven. You may want to adjust the minutes in this formula to fit your particular circumstances, especially if you are going to use a more powerful microwave oven. In other words, you may want to begin your cooking cycles with 3 minutes, or perhaps 2 minutes, then move on to the 1 minute cycles until the desired color is reached. There were times when a more powerful oven compelled me to reduce the ending cooking cycles to 30 seconds rather than 1 minute ... to prevent burning.
Remember that the color of the roux does not correctly reflect the color of the gumbo until it is dissolved in water and mixed well. Then it will appear several shades darker.
Here are a few advantages of preparing powdered gumbo roux over the traditional method:
- No need for oil.
- No stove-top oven.
- Less likely to burn.
- Saves time & money.
- Versatile applications.
You can make powdered roux without a conventional stove-top oven. This means you can process your roux in an RV while camping ... or on a road trip ... or anywhere there happens to be a microwave oven for that matter. I always have a couple coffee cans full of powdered gumbo roux handy. It stores well and doesn't need refrigeration. There's no oil so there's no chance of it becoming rancid.
Unlike preparing the oil-based roux, if you make a mistake using my formula and burn it, it will usually be a small lump or two which you may not have pressed-out well enough. If this happens use a spoon to take out the burning lump or lumps and discard them in the sink or in cool water. You do not have to throw out the whole bowl of flour as you would with an oil-based roux.
Caution: Do not press-out any burning lumps in the bowl with the rest of the flour or you will have to throw out the entire mixture.
The microwave method saves you time and money because to make the powdered roux does not require specialized cooking materials and is surprisingly simple to make.
Finally, the powdered roux gives you more versatility when it comes to cooking and preparing other meals besides gumbos. You can use it for gravies, fricassees, piquantes, etouffees, stews and sauces.
We die-hard Cajuns love to make roux the old fashion way when we can ... along with our favorite oils like Mazola Canola, cottonseed, or peanut. And, the crowning moment with making gumbo roux the old fashion way is when it comes time to add the onions, celery and bell peppers to the mix while it is still sizzling hot. The magnificent aroma which it produces is truly out of this world.
But, there are occasions when time or circumstances will not allow us to prepare our favorite gumbo roux the traditional way, or we may not have the right equipment on hand, like a heavy cast-iron skillet or pot, to complete the job.
So, I am going to reveal to you my secret -- a way to prepare world-class powdered gumbo roux right from your microwave oven in less than 30 minutes using only a few simple utensils and 2-cups of all-purpose flour (enough to produce a gumbo which will feed a half-dozen, or more, hungry eaters). You will need to set aside about one-half hour of time to prepare your roux without interruptions, because once you get started you do not want to lose the heat you will have built-up.
Please keep children and infants away from you while preparing your powdered roux because the bowl and the flour will get VERY HOT before you are finished. Now, let's get started.
You Will Need:
- A non-plastic microwavable vessel (3-cup capacity).
- 2-cups of all-purpose flour.
- Oven mitts and heat absorption pad.
- A sturdy metal fork for scrapping and mixing.
- A small container of water to test the color of your roux.
On the high setting begin by first cooking the 2-cups of flour for 4 minutes, according to the formula, then remove the bowl from your oven and scrape all sides with the metal fork. Press-out all the lumps and mix well. Level-off the bowl of flour and return it to your oven within a minute of the next cooking cycle -- which will be the second step of our cooking-time formula (3 minutes).
Repeat this process through each stage of the formula (4, 3, 2, 1, plus) until you have reached the desired results.
Note: You can control the heat better by using transparent vessels or bowls rather than white or lightly-colored ones which retain more heat and cook faster. In my personal experiences I've noticed that they have more of a tendency to burn the flour. So, when I do use a white bowl I have to keep a closer eye on what I am doing and sometimes adjust my ending formula to 30 second cycles.
When you believe you have reached the desired color (chocolaty), test it by dissolving a small amount in a bowl or glass of water to make sure. If you like the color it produces then set the hot roux aside in a safe place to cool down. If the color is not dark enough for your taste simply cook it for another minute or two until you have reached perfection. It's as simple as that.
Once you have learned the process of cooking roux in the microwave oven, you may never want to go back to the old-fashioned way of preparing it again. Over the last decade I've made hundreds of gallons of gumbo this way. I don't remember receiving even one complaint about the taste.
Remember, when making gumbo you should know that the roux (whether powdered or oil-based) needs to cook a long time on low to medium-heat so as not to impart a slightly-bitter taste to your meal. The roux has to have enough time to absorb all the flavors of your vegetables and meat stock. Hope this helps.
Enjoy! ... and take care not to burn yourself, okay? From the Gumbo Gu-roux ... Ahheee!!
P.S. For the traditional stove-top method of making roux follow this link: Stove-top Gumbo Roux