Recipe: Tadka Dahi (Spiced Yogurt) From the Kitchen Window column

Tadka Dahi (Spiced Yogurt)

One of the cooking lessons I took in India was with chef Rohit Gambhir, executive chef at the Trident Hotel in Mumbai. He taught me how to make this amazing yogurt side dish. This recipe is really simple to make but the results are delightful. I have served it as a dip with vegetables and as a side with roasted chicken.

Sala Kannan for NPR
Tadka Dahi (Spiced Yogurt)
Sala Kannan for NPR

Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

8 to 10 fresh curry leaves*

1 whole dried red chili (any kind)

1/2 cup finely chopped onions (white or red)

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

1 green serrano chili, minced (optional)

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes

2 1/2 cups Greek-style yogurt


Sugar (optional)

1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro

Heat the oil in a skillet until it is almost smoking. Reduce the heat to medium and add the mustard and cumin seeds, curry leaves and whole red chili. Cook until the spices crackle.

Add the onions and saute until they are golden brown. Add the ginger and green chili (if using) and saute for another minute.

Add the coriander, cayenne and turmeric and saute for 10 seconds, until they darken slightly. To prevent the spices from burning, you can add a few drops of water (since this is not the tempering stage, water is allowed).

Reduce the heat to low and add the tomatoes. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is almost dry and the oil begins to separate out. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Add the yogurt to the onion-tomato mixture and mix well. Season with salt. If the flavor is too tart, stir in a little sugar, up to 1 tablespoon. (You don't want to make the yogurt sweet, just to balance the sourness.) Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro and serve.

*Available at Indian markets