5 minute Big Batch Tadka Recipe |  OPOS Recipes
According to me, there are 3 types of cooks - experienced, passionate and smart. I think the combo of these traits would make for an extremely formidable chef. Years of cooking and love for food has made sure that I have a passable attendance in the first two categories. With some major changes in our lives last couple of years, the precious commodity called "Time" (or the lack of it!) is forcing me to make additional efforts in the "smarts" department. Planning menu for the week, prepping foods ahead and adopting techniques/recipes that take minimal effort has been my go to tactic in recent years. This process has made some startling revelations. The seemingly inconsequential aspects of cooking, that I took for granted, added up to quite a formidable amount of time on a weekly basis.
5 minute Big Batch Tadka Recipe |  OPOS Recipes
For example, how long do you think making a Tadka (tempering dishes with spices) takes? Just 5 minutes you say? Yes? Now throw in additional 3-4 minutes of cleaning that splattered mustard all over the place. Tadka easily contributes to dirty, greasy stove. smelly hair, sensitive smoke alarms ..and the list goes on.  So that takes the total to approximately 10 minutes (esp. if you use cast iron that takes time to heat up!). So that's roughly 30 minutes each day for 3 meals. So in a week that's quite a few hours for just tempering + cleaning! Can you see how the minutes dwindle away in plain sight? Let's now consider making a big batch of Tadka (whatever type you choose); which by the way takes you about 5 minutes to last a generous number of dishes- no kidding! You just exchanged a bunch of hours to FIVE MINUTES with NO CLEANING! That's SMART cooking people, or in other words OPOS Cooking. Let's see how we do this.
  • Cook time:
  • Prep time:
  • Serves: Enough for weeks worth of dishes.
  • Yields: Around 1.5 cups of Tadka
  • 1 cup Sesame Oil , or see Tips
  • 1/4 cup Mustard Seeds
  • 1/2 cup Dried Red Chilies, or as per taste
  • 1/2 cup Curry Leaves
  • 1/4 tsp - 1/2 tsp Asafoetida
1. Sesame Oil: You can choose oil of your liking. South Indian cooking traditionally uses Sesame oil and hence I opt to use the same. But you can use any oil of your choice. Just remember that "chekku oil" (cold pressed oils)will provide additional flavor to your tadka.  It also has more moisture content thereby giving you more whistles while cooking than say a regular refined oil.
1. Please follow the recipe EXACTLY as stated for the first few times.  Standardize your pressure cooker before starting the recipe if you have not done so earlier. This is done to ensure that the timings work the same way as it works for OPOS recipes.  Take a 2L pressure cooker. Add the oil.
2. Next goes in the mustard seeds. I used the smaller variety.
3. Follow it up with Red Chillies of your choice (byadgi, wrinkled etc).
4. Then goes in the curry leaves. If you have the solid asafoetida, you can add 1 tbsp at this step. Give everything a good mix until combined.
5. Close the lid with weight on and cook on HIGH for 3 minutes. Make sure the flame covers the bottom of your cooker and does not extend to the sides. Update: In this post I have cooked for 5 minutes causing the curry leaves to brown though not affecting the outcome. But we found that 3 minutes was sufficient for this simple tadka and revised the time from 5 min to 3 min.
6. You might get full pressure ( pressure valve will pop out) within 3 minutes. You will hear sputtering - that's your mustard popping. It will cease in a minute or two.
7. Once your 3 minutes are up, switch off the heat and release pressure.
8. This is how it looks when opened.
9. I add the powdered asafoetida at this stage when the oil is still hot. Give a mix to combined.
10. Let cool and add it to a sterile bottle for storage. Your basic Tadka is ready for use.
Storage: This keeps well for about a week at room temperature (store in a cool, dark place)  but more than a month in the fridge.  My previous batch lasted me close to 2 months by which time it got over. Add this to all your South Indian Dishes.
5 minute Big Batch Tadka Recipe |  OPOS Recipes

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By slimy on Jun 11, 2020

Wonderful presentation. Clear, thorough, concise! Thankyou!

By Divya on Mar 5, 2018

I have tried many chilli powder in Bay area(both kashmiri and non-kashmiri), they are all equally hot. I have heard kashmiri chilli powder is less spicy and impart more color. Which brand of byadgi chillies do you buy?

Yes, it does - both heat wise and color wise. But since my family has very low tolerance to heat, I tend to use all chilli powders barest minimum qty. I do not have any brand affinity. Just pick up whatever organic brand I can get my hands on at my local grocery :) --DK

By Sandhya on Mar 2, 2018

Hi DK -- Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of your infallible recipes and I do fully appreciate the 'tadka cleanup' part! But the cold tadka in my experience does not at all measure up to the aroma of fresh tadka and does not give the same overall flavor to the dish. This is one recipe I won't recommend....

I agree with your viewpoint. Everything does not have to be either white or black. Shades of grey has its place. I also believe in the aroma of the freshly made tadka and if someone told me few years ago about this, I would have said the same thing :) --DK

By Maya on Feb 14, 2018

I have made tadka in large batches for years. I make it in a kadai on the stove top, also add finely diced spanish onions. I have always stored this in the freezer, not in the fridge. What is the advantage of making it in the pressure cooker.

As mentioned already - Time and cleanup! :) --DK