Tadka dal (or, as Bengalis call it, torka'r dal) and roomali rooti is the Bengali's favourite fallback dinner. On the way back from work, the tired Kolkata worker will often stop by at the street-side dhaba to buy an earthen pot of steaming egg tadka and roomali rooti. The tadka most likely comes from the city's Punjabi community that owns and operates famous dhabas such as Russel Punjabi Dhaba, Jai Hind Dhaba, Balwant Singh’s Eating House, Bachchan's Dhaba, and many more. These dhabas stay open late in the night and serve customers buttery tadka, rotis, chicken bharta, tandoori chicken, lassi, and tea. In our recipe we have tried to emulate the tadka prepared on the streets, cooking it in two stages—once with the spices, and then finishing in small batches on a screaming hot pan for flavour. This two-step process is important to achieve the dhaba-style tadka flavour. For egg tadka, just like the dhabas, we don't fry the eggs separately. Instead the eggs are whisked in and cooked briefly to give the egg tadka a creamy texture—the eggs get cooked in the residual heat leading to silky strands of egg instead of dry, rubbery eggs.
- 100 g tadka'r daal (green moong beans)
- 20 g chhola'r daal (split Bengal gram)
- 10 g mustard oil
- 5 g ghee
- 50 g onions
- 5 g ginger
- 3 g garlic
- 2 g green chillies
- 25 g tomatoes
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- ¾ tsp coriander powder
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
- ½ tsp gorom moshla
- 5 g salt
- 300 ml hot water
- 5 g mutton fat
- 10 g vegetable oil
- 30 g onions
- 4 g green chillies
- 7 g garlic
- 50 g tomatoes
- 10 g butter
- 6 g coriander leaves
- ½ tsp kasuri methi
- 2 eggs (for egg tadka)
- Soak tadka'r daal (green moong beans) and chhola'r daal (split Bengal gram) overnight. The next morning, drain them over a colander.
- Make a spice mix combining cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, kashmiri red chilli powder, and gorom moshla.
- Finely chop ginger, green chillies, onions, and coriander leaves. Roughly chop garlic. Cut tomatoes into small cubes.
- Heat mustard oil in a kadai and add ghee. Add onions and fry until golden. This should take around 4 minutes. Now, add ginger, garlic, and green chillies consecutively. Fry each for 30 seconds.
- Add the spice mix and sauté on medium heat for another 4 minutes or so. In case the pan dries out, add a splash of water and continue frying.
- Lastly, add the cubed tomatoes and salt. Sauté the mixture until oil separates.
- Add the soaked and drained tadka'r and chhola'r daal to the pan. Sauté them with the spices on medium heat for 2 minutes. Then, pour 300 ml hot water.
- Transfer everything to a pressure cooker.
- Add mutton fat. Put the lid on and pressure-cook for 10 minutes.
- When you are ready to eat, heat a wok or pan on high flame. Once screaming hot, add vegetable oil. Add the onions, green chillies, garlic, and tomatoes. Toss everything on high heat.
- [If you feel comfortable doing it, tilt the pan towards the flame so that the ingredients 'catch fire' momentarily. This will give the tadka a smoky flavour. However, be very careful while doing this.]
- Ladle in a couple of portions of the boiled tadka and give everything a stir. Top with a generous amount of butter and let it melt.
- Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and crushed kasuri methi. Give everything one last mix and your plain tadka is ready!
For Egg Tarka
- Beat two eggs with a pinch of salt. Add these to the tadka, allowing the eggs to set a bit before scrambling them.
- Stir gently and be careful not to cook too long, or the eggs will become dry and rubbery.