One of the most prominent lentil preparations which one can come across in any restaurant in India and abroad. Tadka is a generic term meaning tempering the lentil with the spices and herbs cooked in ghee or oil. The tempering also differ from place to place but the purpose remains the same, to impart the interesting twist to the otherwise mundane lentil stew. Some of the popular tempering ingredients are onion, garlic, tomato, green chili, red chili, spices like turmeric, coriander, kasoori methi, cumin etc. The rule of the thumb is to drop the ingredients in hot oil to allow the smoke to surface for a while and then the ingredient is stirred into the lentil which then covered with a lid immediately to prevent the aroma from escaping. If using fresh herbs, add it at the last moment just before serving.
The lentils used for this recipe also vary as some of them would prefer arhar (yellow lentil) or some would prefer massor (red lentil) and moong dal (split skinned moong).
1 cup arhar dal
2 ½ Water
Turmeric – a pinch
Salt – to taste
2 tsps Ghee
Hing – a pinch
1 tsp Jeera seeds (Cumin seeds) -
1 medium sized onion, finely diced
1/2 tsp Garlic paste
1 tsp Ginger Paste
1 medium tomato, chopped evenly
½ tsp Garam Masala
3 or 4 Green chilies (optional)
Fresh Coriander chopped
If using pressure cooker, cook the dal with water and turmeric for 5 minutes (2-3 whistles), allow the pressure to escape completely before opening the lid, and remove the dal from cooker and place in a serving container. If using a vessel to cook the dal, cook in a suitably large container on medium heat for 10-12minutes, checking in between to ensure that they have cooked well.
In a pan heat ghee, add hing (asafoetida) diluted with 1 tsp of water. At the stroke of the first aroma from hing, add cumin and allow crackling. Next add onion and fry until it starts to colour, 3-4minutes. Stir in ginger-garlic paste and cook for another 2-3minutes until raw aroma of the paste has disappeared.
Add the diced tomatoes and cook until oil start to separate and appear on the sides. Add green chilli, garam masala and the dal. Bring to simmer and cook on a low heat for another 5minutes. Check seasoning. Serve hot, garnished with chopped coriander, with your favourite Indian bread or rice
Tags: balti, desi, karahi, roti, idli, sambhar, bhatura, murgh, dosa, naan