It calls for a churlish smacking of the lips, for licking the last traces off the ladle when no one is looking. It explodes on the tongue in volcanic intensity – a volley of sweet, spicy and sour flavors coalescing cordially, a flare of textures, right from the fleshy girth of garlic to the globs of mustard in the habitual Tadka, a blending in of lighter oniony pinks with the convivial crimson of the season’s best cranberries. When you’ve served the last drops of your cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving over a batch of leftover stuffing casserole and are still left with about a cup’s worth of the superfruit, toss it the Tadka way with a slew of seasonings, grind into a luscious mush and gloss your standard toasts with it, among other things.
(Makes 1 Cup)
2 Teaspoons oil, divided
2 Teaspoons black gram/urad dal
1 Teaspoon mustard seeds
Pinch of asafoetida
2 Thai/green chillies, sliced
2 Dried red chillies, broken into pieces
2 Cloves garlic, chopped
2 Onions, chopped
1 Cup fresh cranberries
Salt and sugar to taste
Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a saucepan. Add the urad dal, mustard seeds, asafoetida and chillies. Stir and cook untill the dal is golden. Set aside to cool.
In the same saucepan heat the remaining teaspoon of oil. Add the garlic, onions and salt, and fry on medium heat until the onions soften and start to brown. Add the cranberries. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries pop and turn mushy. Cool the mixture slightly and then grind it, along with the dal mixture to a paste.
Taste and add salt and sugar, as needed. Garnish with crushed chillies or add a tadka of mustard seeds popped in oil.
In the spirit of the season, we’re sending a little container of our Cranberry-onion Chutney to -