A Bit of a Bhagar

I’m winding up my culinary pastimes in Roxby Downs. Photo report coming soon. In the meantime, some daily mail:

Mrs. Dominic from Bharuch, Gujarat writes:

“Sir, Please tell me the English & Tamil name for bhagar and its usage”.

My reply: Dear Mrs.Dominic,

This refers to a specific cooking technique. The terms ‘tadka’, ‘chaunk’ (sometimes mispronounced as ‘chaunce’) ‘bhagar’ or ‘phodani’ all mean the same thing. It is a method of adding spices to a cooked or uncooked dal or curry in Indian cooking. It is sometimes referred to in English as ‘tempering’.

A small frying pan, small saucepan or a small ladle can be used. In some Indian kitchens, a long handled crucible made out of either iron, copper or brass alloy (see photo below) is set aside for this specific spicing technique.

A small amount of cooking oil or ghee is placed in the crucible and heated over a flame. Spices such as mustard seeds, cumin, chilies, curry leaves and asafetida (hing) are added to hot oil and heated some more.

The process releases volatile oils from the spices. While still hot, the whole contents of the pan are quickly dumped into the curry or dal to successfully disperse aroma and flavour throughout the dish being made.
Posted by Kurma on 12/10/09; 5:40:40 AM

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