The Indian Tempering Trick That Transforms Flavour
No cuisine includes a wider range of spices in it than Indian cuisine, and that's when you realize that there's nothing quite like Indian food. The aromatic foods rich in spices, work miraculously to lure you into their spell!
In authentic Indian cooking, the key to making a truly delicious meal is not just choosing the right spices but also adding them in the right order and tempering them correctly.
Now, we are familiar with tempering as a way of heating and cooling chocolate. But that’s not what this is!
Tempering is a method widely used in Indian cooking, in which whole or ground spices are heated in oil or ghee and the mixture is added to the dish. Indian tempering is done either at the beginning of the cooking process or as a final flavoring at the end, depending on the dish. For example, in dals and sambar, tadka is often added in the end while some other preparations have it at the start.
Heated fat has an amazing ability to extract and unlock the full flavor potential of spices and herbs, carrying this essence with it when it is added to a dish. Tempering varies depending on the area of origin, reflecting the use of local spices. For example, there's more cumin in the north Indian cooking and more curry leaves in the south.
This Indian cooking technique has existed for hundreds of years, and very popular across India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka and is also called thadka, thalipu, chounk, tarka, bagar, and other names in various languages. After roasting, the spices are added to the dish, with the oil. This is part of what makes Indian cooking so richly spicy and aromatic, helping you taste spices in a way that you’ve never tasted them before.
The aroma of tempered spices on your food can make you salivate, and the mere popping of herbs and spices like cumin seeds, garlic, coriander leaves, mustard seeds, turmeric, curry leaves, can make you want to devour even the simplest dish. But did you know that tempering is more than just to enhance flavour?
More than the flavour, it is the health benefits that it provides. Tempering involves a host of spices and herbs that are tempered, all of them having some benefit to offer. The phyto-nutrients in turmeric, cumin, mustard seeds and curry leaves hold excellent medicinal properties. In fact, adding these spices to oil or ghee help to unlock their healing properties.
During tempering, the fat content is satiated by the oil, and when it is heated with the spices, a breakdown takes place and the released vitamins are absorbed by the oil or ghee. This, when consumed, makes it easier for the body to process these vitamins.
So go ahead and add some tempering to your food and your health, and prepare yourself to dive into a world of spice-packed, flavour and fragrance rich Indian food at Aahaar, to not just treat your taste buds but also to reap the health benefits that come with it.