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Punjabi Tadka Recipe

  • Author: Raj Thandhi
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups 1x


Tadka (known as tempering in English) is the base for all your favourite Indian dishes. This Punjabi tadka is specific to North Indian food and is used in all dal, sabzi, and gravy based dishes like curry chicken. It’s pefect to batch up and freeze also. 



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


  1. Heat ghee on medium high heat, add in cumin seeds and cook for 60 seconds. 
  2. Add onions and cook for 4-5 minutes until they are translucent and fragrant. 
  3. Add ginger, garlic, and fresh green chili (optional). Cook for 90 seconds. 
  4. Add tomatoes and all powdered spices. Cook on medium high heat for 5-7 minutes, until all the moisture has evaporated and the tomatoes are pulling away from the pan. 


  • Tadka can be used immediately in fresh dishes you are cooking, or stored in the fridge for 3-5 days. 
  • You can also freeze tadka in ice cubes, pop it out and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. 
  • I don’t use green chili or much red chili when I’m making it ahead for the freezer. Instead, once I heat it up and know what dish I will be adding it to, I season with chilies appropriately. You can add more heat if you prefer. 
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Cuisine: Indian

Keywords: punjabi tadka, tadka recipe, indian cooking base sauce