Indian Tadka Recipe – Onion Tomato Paste – Indian Curry

Tadka is Indian gravy made with Tomato, Onion, Garlic and Ginger. Use with Paneer, Dal, Rajma, Chole and curry based Indian recipe. Tadka Pan is not needed.

Written by Maahi Gupta
  By Maahi Gupta          Updated  16 Dec, 17



Tadka meaning: Indian Tadka is a gravy or a paste made with Tomato, Onion, Garlic and Ginger. It is used in almost all curry based Indian recipes such as Rajma, Chole, Dals as an ingredient.

You can cook it separately and then mix it with any boiled vegetable and you are ready to serve your guests.

As a matter of fact, all the restaurants and dhaba wala's (street side local restaurants) mix the pre-made tadka with the boiled veggies to get the final dish ready in minutes for you.

You can also preserve this for up-to 2-3 days by refrigerating for best results and quicken up your cooking process. This is what many Indian working families do. They just prepare this Tadka on Sunday night and use it with different recipes through out the week.

Almost 95% of Indian Punjabi vegetable recipes can be made with this simple formula:
Final dish = Tadka + Boiled vegetables

Some people also like to use it as a bread spread to replace Jam or butter. Yes, you can also eat it raw (meaning, without mixing with any boiled vegetable).

How to make tadka is a pretty common question if you are starting to learn Indian cooking.

There are special Tadka pan available in the market, but they are not necessary if you are making the one with Tomato and Onions. You can pretty much use standard pan to make it.

The Tadka pan like this (shown in image below) is primarily used for making the one with Oil and Cumin seeds to be added on top of Dals (Lentil soups) or curries. They do not generally have Tomato and Onion.

You can find this kind of Tadka in our Kadi Pakoda recipe or Dhokla recipe.
Tadka pan
Tadka pan

Moving on, this recipe is for making the Punjabi style pre-made vegetable Tadka.


2 min Prep
5 min Cook
Yield  1 cup
Nutrition Facts
Indian Tadka Recipe - Onion Tomato Paste - Indian Curry
Amount Per Serving
Calories 483 Calories from Fat 378
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 42g 65%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Trans Fat 0.02g
Polyunsaturated Fat 5g
Monounsaturated Fat 30g
Cholesterol 1mg 0%
Sodium 1198mg 50%
Potassium 676mg 19%
Total Carbohydrates 28g 9%
Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
Sugars 13g
Protein 4g 8%
Vitamin A 26%
Vitamin C 126%
Calcium 8%
Iron 16%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


  • Chop Onions, Tomato, Ginger, Garlic optional and Green Chili in small pieces.
    Chopping, grinding, frying veggies for Indian Tadka
    Chopping, grinding, frying veggies for Indian Tadka 
  • Add Onion, Ginger, Garlic optional and Green Chili to a grinder and grind to a paste.
  • Add Oil in a pan and heat it on high flame preferably for about 1 minute.
  • Add Cumin Seeds. Let them fry for 30 seconds on high flame or until Cumin seeds turn brown in color.
  • Now is the time to add Onion paste. Fry them until Onion turns dark brown in color. The Onion need to be fried well, else it would feel raw while eating.
  • Grind the tomato pieces into fine paste. Add this paste in the pan now. Mix them well with Onions and turn the stove to medium flame.
    Add Tomato paste and Indian spices to Tadka
    Add Tomato paste and Indian spices to Tadka 
  • Add Garam Masala, Salt, Red Chili, Coriander, Mango Powder, Turmeric Powder. Mix well.
  • Cook it for 2 minutes on medium flame itself.
    Mix all spices and paste well
    Mix all spices and paste well 
  • After 2 minutes, the whole mixture should turn to brown or dark red color. Once you see this color, the tadka is ready.

  • Tadka for Indian recipes can be preserved for ready use
    Tadka for Indian recipes can be preserved for ready use 

     Storage and Serving Suggestions

    1. The Tadka can be refrigerated for up-to 7 days. Keep it in normal refrigeration not the ice maker section.Our recommendation is to use it within 2-3 days for best results.
    2. Tadka can be used to make any of the curry based Indian recipe like Paneer Sort of Cottage cheese, Dals Lentils, Rajma red Kidney Beans, Chole Chickpeas and many more.

      To use it, just boil the vegetables or the whole grain like Rajma, Chole etc. separately and then mix with Tadka. The final dish would be ready once you are done mixing. No further cooking required.

      In case of Paneer, you do not even need to boil. Just mix tadka with Paneer and cook for 2 minutes on high flame to serve.
    3. Some people also like to cook for small amount of time after adding this pre-cooked tomato onion paste.

      If you also want to do it, just cook the final dish for about 2 minutes on high flame. Mix and serve hot.The primary purpose of this 2 minute cooking is to gel the paste with the vegetable well.
    Tadka for Indian recipes can be preserved for ready use

    Basics Recipe

       2 Useful Questions & Answers from comments

    1. Valerie
      Valerie 20 Jul, 15 at 1:00 pm

      The recipe doesn’t indicate how much garlic to use.

      • Anil Gupta
        Anil Gupta 20 Jul, 15 at 1:30 pm

        Hi Valerie,
        We appreciate your response. The Garlic is actually an optional ingredient. We will update the recipe above to indicate the optional point and add the Garlic’s quantity, in case someone wants to add it.

        Thanks for pointing out the mistake. We appreciate it.