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Tadka for Mulligatawny


  • 1-2 T ghee
  • 2 t cumin seeds
  • 1 medium large red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ t salt, divided
  • 2 T double concentrated tomato paste (use ¼ cup traditional)
  • 1 t curry powder
  • water as needed


  1. Heat the ghee in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds and let them roast, watching them carefully so they do not burn. When they are a shade or 2 darker and quite fragrant, add the onions with a pinch of salt.
  2. Let the onions cook for 10 minute, caramelizing. Keep a cup of water beside the cooktop so that if the onions start to scorch or stick, you can sprinkle a little water into the pan.

  3. Add the tomato paste and mix it into the onions. Cook for 1 minute, and then add several tablespoons of water. Mix it in to loosen the tomato paste, and then let the liquid cook off.
  4. Add the curry powder and repeat with the water. Adding the water like this helps bind the ingredients and turn it all into a smooth paste.
  5. When the onions have been cooking for a total of 17-20 minutes, and the water has mostly cooked off, scrape the tadka into the soup and mix it in.