How to Temper Oil

Simon Majumdar


Tempering is a method used in Indian cuisine in which spices are added to hot oil for flavor.

How to Temper Oil 04:16

Simon Majumdar

Tempering is a method used in Indian cuisine in which spices are added to hot oil for flavor.

Prep Time Cook Time Total Time Serving Size

The Steps

  1. 1. Add two to three tablespoons of vegetable oil to a sauté pan over low heat. Make sure not to turn the heat up too high or the spices may burn. 00:27

  2. 2. To test the heat of the pan, drop a single spice into the oil. If it bubbles and simmers in the oil the temperature is right. If not, turn the heat up slightly. 01:47

  3. 3. Begin to add spices into the oil. Let the spices simmer in the oil for about a minute, turning them in the pan as they impart their flavor. Add the other ingredients and begin cooking your dish or strain and save the oil for later use. 02:48

What You'll Need


- Sauté pan


- Vegetable oil (3 tablespoons)
- Spices of your choosing

Chef Notes

Tempering helps to build layers of flavor. It is a technique in which whole or ground spices are added to a hot fat, like oil, butter, or ghee. Hot fats are able to draw the flavor from the added spice, and help to carry it through the dish to which it is added.

A neutral oil like vegetable oil is best for tempering. Oils with lots of flavor, like olive, are not recommended for use in tempering.

Simon demonstrates tempering with fennel seed, mustard seed, dried red chili, and cinnamon. Tempering can be done with any spice or combination of spices to achieve a desire flavor.

Tempered oil can be used as part of the cooking process, or at the end of cooking to garnish a dish.

Tempered oil can be strained and saved. Store in the refrigerator for use over the course of approximately three days.


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Chef Simon Majumdar

Los Angeles

At the age of 40, Simon began having a midlife crisis. He quit his publishing job and set off on a journey across 31 countrie... read more