Some recipes ask you to roast Moong Dal before cooking it. Does this step affect the cooking process of moong dal? Does it make any difference in the way the split moong dal looks or tastes at the end- shall we find out?
I am using 2 Instant Pots here. An Instant Pot is basically a timed pressure cooker. By setting the same time/pressure for each method, I hope to give you a peek at the results for “what if I had roasted it?” a.k.a explore the road not taken…
Version 1 (Control):
- To 1 cup washed moong dal, add 2 cups water.
- Pressure cook in the Instant Pot for 5 minutes and then natural release
Version 2 (roasted version)
- To 1 cup washed moong dal, add 2 Tbsp butter. Roast for 2-2.5 minutes (at which point it starts browning in the bottom).
- Add 2 cups water, pressure cook in the Instant Pot for 5 minutes, and then natural release.
The process (pics)
Here’s the pictures straight out of the instant pot (pressure cooker) side by side:
Here are the 2 results when I mixed the dal with a ladle and scooped it into a cup:
Roasted + cooked:
Looks almost the same, doesn’t it? Here are my results explained:
- At 5 minutes of pressure cooking, there was no difference in the “cooked-ness” of the dal. Both the techniques cooked just fine.
One possible theory to explain is that: while the roasting may have hardened the moong dal; the split moong beans are so small that with 5 minutes of pressure, it blitzes through them anyway. It might be different with a smaller amount of time. But, for a normal level of cooking (5 minutes of cooking approx. = 2 whistles of pressure in a manual pressure cooker); there was no difference.
- There was a slight foam settled on the top of the cooked dal in the plain method (ver 1). There was no foaming in the roasted method (ver 2)
- The “Roasted in butter” method resulted in a creamier tasting dal while the plain method resulting in a plain tasting dal. Now, that could be just the addition of butter. But, it makes sense to do this technique for dessert-style recipes.
- The smell – Oh!! the smell of roasting moong dal in butter was heavenly. That could be the other reason why recipes call for it. Definitely amps up the ‘ooh, what are you cooking’ factor!!
1 general tip:
Notice the picture above. See how packed and thick the cooked dal is. This is for 1:2 (dry moong: water) ratio. Notice below how packed the dry moong dal is in a cup, with very little wiggle room. It is densely packed in the entire space and hence it needs more water.
This is why most moong dal recipes where you make daal (the dish- daal, that you scoop with a roti/flatbread) call for 1:3 water ratio; unlike whole chana (chickpeas) which has so many air pockets in between that 1:2 ratio is plenty enough.
So now you know. Roasting the dal does not seem to make any difference in the ‘cook-ability’ of the dal. It does however seem to increase its creaminess and your kitchen smells heavenly if you do it.
I hope you found this experiment in “Is roasting moong dal [also known as moong daal, split mung bean, payatham paruppu, pesara Pappu, etc.] in butter necessary” useful. Please post your thoughts and comments below.
What are your questions about roasting/soaking/salting etc. etc. on any ingredient that you have always wondered? Let me know and I can run the experiment for you!!
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