Air Fryer Tadka {Curry Base/Tempering}

Did you know you can make turka in the air fryer? I don’t know about you guys, but the number one reason I often skip making Indian food on the weeknight or in the summer is because I just don’t want to make a turka. I’ve already share my tadka cubes hack with you all, but what about the nights when you don’t have any cubes ready to go? Or if you have some onions and tomatoes going off in the pantry? That’s where my air fryer turka comes in.

Before we get into the recipe, for those aren’t familiar, you might be wondering what is tadka? Tadka is known as ‘tempering’ in English, and it’s a technique for extracting the maximum flavour from whole and ground spices, onions, ginger, garlic, and tomatoes. It is what makes Punjabi cooking so richly spicy and aromatic. You might have heard it referred to as curry base or a masala mix.

Note: The tadka technique is used all over India, but the ingredients used will vary from region to region. Like most of my recipes my tadka recipes are based on Punjabi cuisine.

Air Fryer Tadka Notes:

  • The key to making tadka in the air fryer is to chop the onions and tomatoes relatively the same size so they cook at a similar rate. When it comes to the ginger and garlic I would suggest chopping those a little bit bigger than you normally would for a tadka – they can burn quite quickly in the air fryer.
  • Every air fryer is a little different so make sure you check it a few times the first time you make this.
  • If you find the onions are burning or sticking to the pan, your pan might be on the thinner side. Try layering an extra sheet of aluminum foil in the pan for an extra layer of protection.
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Air Fryer Tadka {Curry Base/Tempering}


A simple low spice tadka {curry base} made quickly in the air fryer. This masala tempering will add so much flavour to your Indian cooking.



3 tbs oil
1 tbs cumin seeds (jeera)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tbs finely chopped garlic
1 tbs finely chopped ginger
1 green chili chopped
3/4 cup tomatoes
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 tbs coriander powder (dhaniya)
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
1 tsp red chili powder (or to taste)


1. Warm oil in microwave and add to oven safe pan. Add the jeera and mix well. Top with onions and mix. Place in the airfryer at 360 degrees for 4 minutes
2. Add in the tomatoes and spices and cook for another 6 minutes. (Check at the 4 minute mark and mix.)
3. Add in the ginger, garlic, and green chili cook for 2 minutes.
4. Mix well and mash lightly.


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