Indian Base Recipe

recipe video

On our tours we often take part in great cooking courses where we get to know amazing recipes.

In fact, Indian cooking isn’t that complicated.

In fact, all you have to do, is know how to prepare the base – called “Tharkha” in Hindi – and then add the desired vegetables, lentils or meat.

An Indian chef would disagree with me here. He would also cook a Tharkha, but depending on the dish, he would always change it a bit. So sometimes more oil, sometimes less, sometimes additional garam masala, cashew nuts or fenugreek seeds…

But believe me, even if the preparation of a Tharkha reads easy, it is not easy to get it right anyway. Intricacies are then only taken care of in the advanced level – for now it will be enough to master the normal Tharkha

Here is the recipe for the base:

Ingredients for 4 people

2 tbsp oil (sesame, sunflower, soya, mustard oil)

1 tsp cumin seeds (additionally also mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and coriander seeds if available)

2 onions, diced

2 green chilli pods chopped

2 tsp fresh ginger garlic paste, self-made

2 teaspoons salt

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp Chilli Powder

2 tomatoes, diced


For the base of each indian dish (Indian lentil dish, meat or Indian vegetable dish) first heat the oil in a wok. Roast the seeds for a short time before adding the onions.

Once the onions are glassy brownish, add the ginger garlic paste and fry them briefly. Now add the ground spices and salt and roast them in the oil. So the spices cook and are more digestible. After 1-2 minutes, add the tomatoes. Sometimes you have to add a sip of water so that the base doesn’t burn. Simmer on a medium flame until a red mixture is formed and the oil separates slightly from the rest. This is a very important step that makes a big difference! Now you can add vegetables, meat or legumes of your choice. Cover everything lightly with water for meat or lentil dishes and let everything simmer slowly. For vegetable dishes add only a little water if necessary.

500 g diced vegetables of your choice. These are good combinations:

Potato peas

Potato spinach

Potato cauliflower


Aubergines (with potatoes)

Mixed vegetables

Or 200 g soaked and boiled legumes of your choice with enough water:


Kidney beans

Yellow lentils

Red lentils

Soya beans

Or meat of your choice

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