Back to basics, today you’ll learn how to make basic Tadka which is a seasoning for your vegetables or lentils. It is basically tempering to enhance flavor of the dish.
Chaunk (Hindi: छौंक); sometimes spelled chhaunk, chounk, chonk, chhounk, or chhonk; also called তড়কা(tarka, tadka),বাগার (bagar),ফোড়ন (phoron) in Bengali, Thaalithal (தாளித்தல்) in Tamil, oggaraṇe (ಒಗ್ಗರಣೆ) in Kannada, vaghaar (વઘાર) in Gujarati, fodni in Marathi, Thalimpu (తాళింపు) or popu ( పోపు in Telugu), Baghaar (Urdu: بگھار) ; Baghara (in oriya) and often translated as tempering is a garnish and/or cooking technique used in the cuisines of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, in which whole spices (and sometimes also other ingredients such as minced ginger root or sugar) are fried briefly in oil or ghee to liberate essential oils from cells and thus enhance their flavors, before being poured, together with the oil, into a dish.
Chaunk is added at the end of cooking, just before serving (as with a dal, sambar or stew), or else prepared at the beginning of cooking, before adding the ingredients to a curry or similar dish. Ingredients typically used for chaunk include cumin seeds, black mustard seeds, fennel seeds, fresh green chilis, dried red chilis, fenugreek seeds, asafoetida, cassia, cloves, urad dal, curry leaves, chopped onion, garlic, or tejpat leaves. When using multiple ingredients for a chaunk they are often added in succession, with those requiring longer cooking added earlier, and those requiring less cooking added later. In Bengali cuisine, a mixture of whole spices called panch phoron is used for this purpose.
Chaunk is believed to not only add flavor but also to aid in digestion, unless the person consuming the dish has trouble with digesting fatty foods.
Ingredients (For 3-4 cups of Lentils)
1 small chopped onion or 1/2 of a big one
1 inch piece of ginger
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp garam masala
Cilantro for garnish
1/2 tsp red chilli pwd
1. Heat oil and add cumin seeds. Once they splutter add onions, ginger and garlic.
2. Coat onions with oil and add red chilli pwd. Let them get golden brown. (usually about 2-3 mins)
3. Add tomatoes. Let tomatoes become tender. You will notice oil starting to separate or ooze out on the sides. Add garam masala.
4. Pour this tadka on top of lentils and garnish with cilantro leaves.