Benefits of Tadka or Tempering in Cooking
Tempering is a method that is used extensively in Indian cooking. This cooking technique involves the use of traditional spices and is done to extract their complete flavour. 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. Tadka makes a dish more flavoursome and fragrant. Moreover, it also enhances the essence of the spices. The amazing symphony of the excellent spices provides a tempting taste and fragrance that delineates Indian cuisine. May be this is the reason it’s called “tempering”… to rhyme with “tempting”.
The Health Benefits of Tadka
Well, many people think that Tadka only enhances the flavour of the dish. However, there are also other reasons to add a Tadka to your dals and other dishes. Surprisingly, tempering doesn’t only add flavour, but also extracts the nutritional and medicinal benefits of spices used.
Besides the mouth-watering taste and a visual appeal added to the boring routine food, Tadka involves the use of herbs that contain special healing properties. Spices like turmeric and cumin support digestion. The phyto-nutrients contained in turmeric, cumin, and curry leaves hold great medicinal value as well. Moreover, adding these spices to heated vegetable oil or ghee unlocks their special healing properties. Hot fat contains amazing capability to extract and retain the aroma, essence, and flavour of the herbs and spices used in tempering. This essence is further carried to the dish upon being added.
Tadka is a common cooking technique used in Asian countries where the kitchen doesn’t refer to just a staff and the Tadka box is not just a box to store spices and Tadka ingredients. To much surprise, regular use of Tadka ingredients like mustard seeds, cumin seeds, yellow split lentils, black gram dal, garlic, and turmeric powder can provide amazing medicinal benefits. Read the list below to know more about the basic Tadka ingredients and their amazing medicinal properties.
Cumin or jeerais the basic ingredient of a Tadka. It is highly beneficial for digestive disorders, including dyspepsia, indigestion, flatulence, acidity, and diarrhoea.
This is the most important ingredient of a Tadka. Any Tadka is not complete without garlic. It improves the functioning of the immune system. Furthermore, it controls all viral, bacterial, and fungal infections. It also works great for ear infection, headaches, cough, and general cold.
Mustard seeds or Sarsonis another Tadka ingredient with amazing medicinal benefits. It works on relieving severe pains related to arthritis, rheumatoid, and muscle pains as well. Besides, it also boosts immunity, slows the ageing process, fights infections of all kinds, and lowers the level of bad cholesterol. Many people use it as a home remedy to relieve muscle pain. Just apply a paste of mustard seeds over the area in pain. It would heat it up and release the muscles of all pain.
Turmeric or Haldi powder contains great therapeutic power. The most important benefit is the “improved immunity”. Besides, it is a highly effective home remedy for cough, chronic cold, and throat irritations. It is also a great antibiotic to treat all types of skin problems. Additionally, it is also used as an important ingredient in many home remedies for beauty.
Salt is an essential ingredient of every dish. Well, it not only adds taste to the dish, but also helps to balance the digestive system by improving overall digestion.
Peppercorns or ‘Sabut Kali Mirch’ in Indian kitchens provides amazing benefits for digestion and other related problems. It improves the digestion power and controls problems like constipation. Moreover, you can also treat stomach worms with this natural medicine.
A Tadka is not just about the ingredients. There are many other things that require consideration to make the perfect Tadka. Here are some useful tips to make your Tadka the perfect one.
- Take the right sized pan. If you are preparing Tadka at the beginning of the dish, a larger pan would be better.
- Water is never added to a Tadka.
- 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.
- Most important is the order of adding spices to make a perfect Tadka. Usually, the ingredients should be added in rapid succession and not altogether. However, make sure to add ones requiring longer cooking added earlier and the ones requiring less cooking added later. For example, add the cumin seeds first, followed by adding finely chopped garlic, which could actually burn on being added earlier.
- 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 spices will begin to splatter on being added to very hot ghee or oil. You can cover the pan at this time. However, it is still important to be quick with your steps. Keep all the other ingredients ready at hand if you are preparing a Tadka in the beginning of the dish. If Tadka is to be added later, keep the final dish ready before the Tadka is added. It takes just a few seconds. So, be well prepared. Keep your ingredients ready in place for you won’t get time for this once the process has begun.
- Most importantly, there is no way to save a burned Tadka. You will have to start it all over again. And, the smell of a burned Tadka is something you will never forget easily. Your nose will tell you that it’s gone!
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.