Chaunk (Hindi: छौंक); sometimes spelled chhaunk, chounk, chonk, chhounk, or chhonk; also called tarka, tadka, bagar, phoron in Bengali, vaghaar (વઘાર) in Gujarati, Thalimpu (తాళింపు) or popu ( పోపు in Telugu) ; 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.
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.
The Hindi name, chhaunk (the initial consonant, "chh" [छ], 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
- Nepali - jhaneko, jhannu (झानेको)
- Hindi - chhaunk, tarka, tadka (तड़का), bagar (बगार), e.g. Dal tadka
- Punjabi - tarka (ਤਡ਼ਕਾ) , (تڑکا)
- Gujarati - vaghar (વઘાર)
- Bengali - bagar (বাগার), bagar dewa (বাগার দেয়া), phoron (ফোড়ন)
- Tamil - thaalithal [t̪aːɭit̪t̪al̪] (தாளித்தல்)
- Kannada - oggaraṇe (ಒಗ್ಗರಣೆ)
- Telugu - popu (పోపు), thiragamaatha (తిరగమోత), taalimpu (తాలింపు)
- Marathi - phodani (फोडणी), pholni (फोलनी)
- Urdu - tarka (تڑکا), Baghar (بگهار) also called "vaghar" in Gujarati
- Konkani - Phonna (फोण्ण)
In popular culture
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