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A chaunk (containing olive oil, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, and slivered dried red chili peppers) being prepared in a saucepan

Chaunk (Hindi: छौंक; sometimes spelled chhaunk, chounk, chonk, chhounk, or chhonk, or pronounced chhawnce; also called tarka, tadka, bagar, phoron, or phoran or popu; and often translated as tempering) is a garnish and/or cooking technique used in the cuisines of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, in which whole spices (and sometimes also other ingredients such as minced ginger root or sugar) are fried briefly in oil or ghee to liberate essential oils from cells and thus enhance their flavors, before being poured, together with the oil, into a dish.

Chhaunk is added at the end of cooking, just before serving (as with a dal, sambar or stew), or else prepared at the beginning of cooking, before adding the ingredients to a curry or similar dish.

Contents

Ingredients

Ingredients typically used for chaunk include cumin seeds, black mustard seeds, fennel seeds, fresh green chilis, dried red chilis, fenugreek seeds, asafoetida, cassia, cloves, urad dal, curry leaves, chopped onion, garlic, or tejpat leaves. When using multiple ingredients for a chaunk they are often added in succession, with those requiring longer cooking added earlier, and those requiring less cooking added later. In Bengali cuisine, a mixture of whole spices called panch phoron is used for this purpose.

Chaunk is believed to not only add flavor but also to aid in digestion, unless the person consuming the dish has trouble with digesting fatty foods.

Etymology

The Hindi name, chhaunk (the initial consonant, "chh" [], is a heavily aspirated "ch" sound), is believed to be onomatopoetic, imitating the muffled sound of the just-fried spices being added to a dal or other dish.

The Bengali name, bagar dewa (বাগার দেয়া), translates as "to temper" (bagar = the act of tempering; dewa = to give; hence "to give temperance to").

Name in various languages

External links

See also

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