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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Toasting / Roasting Nuts, Dals, Flours & Spices In Microwave

After that oil free roasting of papads and fryums, here is another post about the toasting / roasting stuff I do in the microwave.
Indian cooking involves roasting / toasting / dry frying the ingredients, when it comes to some preparations. While we roast chana and urad dals for a South Indian chutney powder, cumin and coriander seeds are powdered to go with North Indian dishes. While toasted moongdal tastes great for preparations of savoury and sweet

Pongals, toasted peanuts and dalia taste best in chutneys. Lightly toasted rice and all purpose flours make great snacks like Kodbale, while toasted besan is used to make delicious desserts like Mysore pak or Besan laddu. Toasted semolina, cornmeal, vermicelli make great Upmas and desserts. The list goes on. Traditionally all these are done on stove top. I usually use microwave when toasting in small quantities and here is how.
Please note that the following information is to give just an idea about toasting some Indian ingredients and toasting times in a MW. The timings may vary depending upon the microwaves and the quantities of ingredients used. I have provided the toasting times for a 1/4 cup ingredients. Always keep an eye on the MW during the whole process, if you are attempting toasting for the first time.

I toast those ingredients which I have mentioned here.

Place the ingredient you want to toast in a flat microwave safe dish and microwave on high. It is very important to keep stirring the ingredients at regular intervals for uniform toasting.

Some of the MW toasted ingredients. Click on the image for a better view.

When it comes to chutneys, chutney powders, some dry spicy powders and other dishes, roasting the dals till they turn golden brown is an usual thing. In MW, the dals like toordal, chanadal, moongdal and uraddal take around 3 minutes to brown while for the roasted chickpeas (dalia / pappulu) it would take a couple of minutes of toasting. (Roasted chick peas don't require browning).

Toasted dals

Toasted nuts are crispier, crunchier and taste better. While almonds take around two and half minutes, pistachios are done in about 75 seconds. With peanuts, if you are planning to make chutney, toast them for about five minutes. If you are planning to eat them as a snack, 2 to 3 minutes is enough.

Some toasted nuts and coconut

While cumin seeds take around 4 minutes, coriander seeds brown in a couple of minutes. Sesame seeds turn crisp in about two and half minutes but need around eight minutes to brown. Frozen coconut can be toasted golden brown in seven minutes. Red chillies take less than a minute to get crisp.

Toasted spices

Toasting flours is a common thing when you are planning Indian savoury dishes or sweets. Semolina, vermicelli and cornmeal are always toasted before using.
While semolina and cornmeal take four to four and half minutes of toasting, vermicelli and cracked wheat need about a couple of minutes. Besan needs around seven minutes to release it's pleasant aroma. I just warm the rice flour and all purpose flour for a couple of minutes.

By experimenting, probably most of the ingredients we use in kitchen can be toasted in a MW.

This goes to Microwave Easy Cooking - Basics event hosted by Srivalli of 'Cooking 4 all seasons'.

Post a Comment


Asha said...

And to think some people do not even use Microwave because they think it's radiation and all that stuff. I love MW, I don't know how we survived without it in India in the 80s!:)
Excellent post. I am doing a basic too this Friday,not typed yet.

Prema Sundar said...

Nice informative post.. I haven't toasted nuts and dals in MW.. will try it some time. thanks.

Padma said...

Even I cannot live without MW, yeah I first thought that cooking in m/w is not safe...but i read once on snopes.com that all that stuff is some urban myths....since then I started using it to the full extent...Nice basics! For me its like learning the tips from you all..
NIce interesting post, suma

Sreelu said...

Suma, wow so many things to MV, thanks for the info and love,love your pic very beautiful

Laavanya said...

Thank you Suma for yet another informative post.

bee said...

suma, you are just awesome. and so is your blog.

Latha Narasimhan said...

Super Suma!! You are doing fabulous for the MW event! Sri will be pleased!

Roopa said...

thats a fabulous post for basics of microwave. unlucky me the microwave is a little high so many times now i am regretting why my it is so high :0.

srivalli said...

Suma, great post...so wonderful...this is really so useful...thanks for the lovely and informative post...hats off to you!

srivalli said...

and beautiful pictures too...you have taken really so much pain in arranging everything so neatly...great!

lakshmi said...

wowie!!! you have presented it so well. this will be very useful as a basic post for anyone who still needs to know that microwave is not just for reheating.

Pooja V said...

WOW..MW is one of the MUST HAVes in kitchen nowadays. I cannot live without microwave now.

Kribha said...

Nice info. I use MW only for heating and frying papads. Thanks for showing me so many things.

Bharathy said...

My micro is still lazy bcoz of its lazier mistress!He he..who only knows to reheat..:)
This post had been very very informative and you have worked here pretty well.
I love those neatly arranged labelled ones on the flat tray!!:)
Thanx for sharing such a wonderful post!

Namratha said...

Fantastic Suma, you are a genious! :) This surely cuts cooking time as well as one utensil, all done! Good going!

Suganya said...

Don't know how much to thank you for this valuable info. i use MW for papads. But for others, naw... Am gonna give this a try right away.

Sharmi said...

that is an awesome post! very informative and the pics are too nice and clear.

TBC said...

This post makes me realize that I just do not use my MW to its full potential:-(
I only use it to cook rice,toast papadams, reheat/thaw/ warm leftovers.

rv said...

wow such a nice piece of info....Thank you!!

Anonymous said...


Hi SUMA this is the first time im posting a comment coz im very much impressed about ur roasting nuts in a MW and I tried, it came out very well. u know wat first without going thru the websites i tried frying it in oil ,a Mini Diwali has been celebrated ,the nuts started spluttering giving out the crackers effect I came running out from the kitchen !ha haaa LOL! Thank you for ur site.the website designed itself gives the gr8 look.Keep doing....

Suman said...

Hey Suma,
I tried getting papads done (very small red and green types) in my LG Convection Microwave and used 900W for atleast 2 minutes (under the microwave mode)...But nothing happened at all... If you do have time could you please let me know where I went wrong...I did not pre-heat the microwave.

Suma Gandlur said...

Suman, I have no idea regarding the convection type microwaves and have never used them. Will check with my folks in India and will let you know about this.
I use the regular microwave and place 4 large papads once on a paperplate and they are done in one minute or under. If using the smaller ones, I place as many as they fit on a paper plate.

Abdul Rahman said...

Fantastic post. Its very informative. pictures like very beautiful. Thanks for sharing wonderful post.
Indian spices
Spices powder

Mehnaz said...

My microwave safe plate broke inside the microwave into three pieces. I was toasting cumin seeds - taking the easy way out instead of roasting on a hot pan. :(

Can you tell me why? I had set it for 4 minutes. It cracked up in 1:30 minutes.



Suma Gandlur said...

Sorry Mehnaz, it must be just a coincidence. I am not sure why it happened but I don't think it is because of toasting cumin seeds. Have you ever used that plate in the microwave for that long?