“Food is the ingredient that binds us together.”
This saying holds true for our Indian dishes that are not only consumed but also loved widely across the world. What makes each Indian dish so delicious? One of the most important elements that determines the taste of any dish is the tempering. Popularly known as tadka in India, this is the step where oil or ghee are heated in a pan and spices such as jeera, mustard seeds etc. are added to it. Each dish uses a unique combination of spices to get that perfect taste.
A change in the ingredients that are used in the tadka can change the entire dish. This is especially true while tempering dal. Dal Tadka is a famous dish that is present on every restaurant’s menu. But many versions of dals are prepared around the country. Each using a different tadka to achieve a distinctive taste.
Let’s have a look at different tadka ingredients that you can try in your kitchen and give a new flavour to your dal.
Hing Jeera Dal Tadka: As the name suggests, this tadka is light for your stomach because its main ingredient hing, also known as asafoetida. It is used to help treat digestion problems including intestinal gas, upset stomach, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and irritable colon. A small pinch of hing adds a lot of goodness to your dal. Jeera, another important ingredient in this dal is also known to aid digestion. It is very dense in iron, providing almost 20% of your daily iron in one teaspoon.
To make this dal, heat a tablespoon of ghee in a pan, add hing and dry red chillies followed by 1 tbsp jeera. Lastly, add your boiled dal with the pinch of salt and garnish it with chopped coriander.
- Khatti Meethi Dal Tadka: Little bit tangy and a little bit sweet, this tadka is for those who love myriad flavours. Heat the ghee in a small pan with 1 tsp mustard seeds followed by jeera (cumin) and methi (fenugreek) seeds and fry them till they turn brown. And once this is done, add curry leaves, red chillies, salt, laung (cloves), dal chini (cinnamon), gud (jaggery), and hing (asafoetida). Now your tadka is ready, pour this tempering on the simmering dal and served it with steamed rice.
Onion Tomato Dal Tadka: This tadka doesn’t require a ton of spices. Most of the flavour and aroma will come from the chopped onions, tomatoes, ginger and garlic along with the Tata Sampann Dal Tadka Masala. In a pan, heat ghee, add jeera and curry leaves. Once this turns aromatic, add chopped onions and tomatoes. Fry them till they are cooked. Pour over the dal. Serve this dhaba-styled tadka dal with chapati or jeera rice.
A key ingredient in this tadka is the ginger. It contains gingerol, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is the reason why ginger is used in many home remedies. It also contains sulphur compounds, which may add some of the health benefits like boosting the immune system and help fight cold and flu.
Curried Dal Tadka: This one is a favourite amongst many because of its simplicity, aroma, and distinctive taste. It uses the famous spice blend – Madras Curry Powder. This special spice blend dates back to the days when spice blends were prepared by sell to returning British army and government officials at the end of the British Raj. Madras curry powder gained popularity as it allowed them to recreate their favourite Indian dishes back at home in the UK. This spice blend has now famous and easily available throughout the world.
In a small skillet or tadka pan, heat 1 tbsp of ghee, add mustard seeds and dried red chillies. Keep the flame low, so that the ingredients impart flavour but do not burn. Add chopped garlic, green chillies and a pinch of hing. After a minute, add chopped onion and cook till it turns brown. Add madras curry powder with the star ingredient - curry leaves. Pour this over the dal. Garnish it with chopped coriander. Along with adding irresistible aroma and taste, curry leaves are said to help maintain blood sugars and help relieve flatulence. Curry leaves are also a rich source of iron and folic acid.
To make your dals tastier, always opt for unpolished dals and Dal Tadka Masala from the Tata Sampann range. Unpolished dals help in ensuring the nutritional quality of the dal remains intact. While the Tata Sampann Dal Tadka Masala is crafted by Chef Sanjeev Kapoor to help you get an authentic flavour whenever you cook Dal Tadka at home.
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