Indian food has a tantalizing aroma and specific mouth-watering taste, take it any kind of dish- from north Indian to south Indian. Ever wondered what the secret behind their distinctive flavor is? Well, the answer is the ‘Indian Tempering’, widely known as tadka. Go anywhere in India, the technique of tempering remains the same and it is used in almost every recipe.
In this technique, several spices and herbs are tempered in hot oil or clarified butter (ghee). The process unlocks the nutritional and medicinal values of these elements. The hot fat also has the ability to extract the aroma and essence of the spices to add a delicious flavor to the food. The commonly used spices and herbs in the Indian tempering are mustard seeds, asafoetida, turmeric, red chili powder, cumin seeds, ginger, garlic, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander seeds, curry leaves, and dried red chilies. Depending on the type of dishes, some other spices are added as well. All of these herbs and values have amazing benefits. As can be incurred for this, the tadka is not just to add the taste value, but it actually has various nutritional benefits as well.
Let’s look into what healthy values these elements have to offer.
Mustard Seeds: Mustard seeds have high nutritional values, high antiseptic and antibacterial qualities, and are low in calories. They increase metabolism rate and hence, are good for digestion. Mustard seeds are rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, protein, zinc, omega 3 fatty acids, and dietary fibers. It is also provides a nutrient called selenium, which is known for its anti-inflammatory qualities. There are various other health benefits that mustard seeds bring to a human body.
Cumin Seeds: For long, cumin has been used as traditional medicine. The element offers a basket of health benefits including promoting digestion, reducing blood-sugar and cholesterol, preventing food-borne diseases, aiding in fat reduction and weight loss. It is a rich source of iron, and hence possesses digestive and anti-carcinogenic properties as well as boosts immune system. It also offers benefits to skin and hair, like anti-aging, treatment of skin disorders and boils, preventing hair loss, and so on. Cumin having high medicinal values provides many more benefits than just this.
Asafoetida: Also known as Food of Gods due to its anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, carminative, and sedative properties, asafetida has a lot to offer to our health. It can be used to reduce bloating, stomach problems, headache, menstrual pains, and so on. The element also has some beauty enhancing properties, especially related to skin and hair.
Turmeric: Turmeric is one of the most efficient food supplements. It adds a wide range of values to our food that are good for our body and brain. The bioactive compounds in turmeric known as curcuminoids, curcumin being the most important of them, have high medicinal values. Its anti-inflammatory property helps prevent various short-term diseases, while it also has chronic inflammatory quality. Turmeric is a very strong anti-oxidant. It is good for brain and heart diseases. It may help in the treatment of cancer as well as Alzheimer’s. There are a lot of other advantages as well.
Chili Powder/Dried Chilies: Other than adding the spicy flavor, chili has various nutritional values. It contains high concentration of capsaicin, which helps in relieving pain and weight loss. Chili is rich in various vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K1, vitamin B6, copper, and potassium. It also has high amount of antioxidant carotenoids.
Curry Leaves: They are a good source of vitamins. Curry leaves are also rich in iron and calcium and hence, used as a folklore medicine. They are used for weight loss, for stomach conditions, are good for diabetes and eyesight, and have many other benefits.
Cardamom and Cinnamon: The two have been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes and possess numerous health benefits. Having common benefits like anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidizing properties, helpful in reducing blood sugar levels, anti-bacterial properties, cancer-fighting capabilities, and many more, they have various other advantages as well.
Ginger and Garlic: Garlic has remarkable anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, can help reduce blood pressure, and other important benefits. Ginger, on the other hand, is equally beneficial, providing powerful medicinal values.
Coriander Leaves: Coriander, also known as cilantro, is an amazing source of magnesium, iron, manganese, vitamins, proteins, and dietary fiber.
Hot Oil/Clarified Butter: The hot fat has a wonderful ability to retain and extract the aroma, flavor, essence, and medicinal values of all the above mentioned elements and hence, is an important part of tadka.
As we can see, all the ingredients in the Indian tempering technique have a defined role and add a lot of values to our regular food. Along with aroma and flavors, the health benefits that it brings to a dish makes it an important technique to adopt.
– By Aishwarya Nawandhar