Importance of Tadka or Tempering In Indian Cooking

Importance of Tadka in Indian Cooking
Tempering or Tadka in Indian Cooking
Tempering is a method that is used extensively in Indian cooking. Basically, the tempering or Tadka is a method wherein ground or whole spices are heated in hot ghee or oil and finally added to the prepared dish thereafter. The rhapsody of various spices in hot ghee has its own taste and smell which defines Indian cuisine.

But have you ever wondered why we add a tadka or chhonk in our dals and other dishes? Is it just for taste or does it hold any other benefit as well? The truth is, a tadka not only adds flavour to our food but also holds many health benefits in it.

According to Ayurveda, ‘Spices have their own healing properties and some (like cumin, asofetida, carom seeds, ginger, mustard seeds) are excellent for digestion. So, it makes complete sense to add it your dishes like dals, veggies, etc. It also gives the food a mouth-watering taste and adds a visual appeal to boring, routine food.’

Phytonutrients present in haldi, curry leaves, jeera, etc are important for our body — they all have medicinal values.

Mustard helps lower cholesterol and aids digestion. Hing prevents constipation and acidity and turmeric relieves gas. Garlic has a long list of benefits such as preventing fever and cough or cold. Green chillies help in suppressing the appetite, aiding weight loss and onions improve immunity. The fenugreek seeds in this tadka aid digestion and counter acid reflux, while the red chillies guard the body against infections.
Last but not the least; the oil or ghee used for tadka not just adds flavour but ghee mobilizes the fat absorption in the body and actually helps us absorb many hidden nutrients in the vegetables present in the dish. Remember, avoid using olive oil as it has a low smoke point and does not go well with Indian cooking.

Above all, it is extremely important to control the oil content when making Tadka. Use of too much oil can result in excessive weight gain and related health issues.

To make your Tadka tasty and get the flavour of your choice, you can add any spice of your choice. The most common ingredients used in Indian tempering are cinnamon, cumin, curry leaves, asafoetida, mustard seeds, and red chillies.

A change in the color of spices or the moment they begin to crackle is an indication of the completion of the process. However, it just takes a few seconds. So, get ready to move fast. It’s like get set and go!

The oil or ghee used for Tadka should be boiling hot initially. You can reduce the heat to medium later on. Add the spices now.
Water is never added to a Tadka.
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