Normally one is to get a piece of charcoal red-hot, put it in a small metal cup, put some ghee on it to burn/smoke, and put it in the pot with the finished dal tadka curry.

I don't have charcoal. And even if I bought charcoal I don't have a gas burner to heat it. I have IH burners (electric induction heating, which can't heat charcoal).

  • 1
    Have you thought about using liquid smoke?
    – Spagirl
    Sep 4, 2020 at 7:17
  • Yes I've thought of it but here in Japan it's not available that I can see. Buying on Amazon is like $5 for the liquid smoke plus $25 for shipping for US or Australia! Sep 5, 2020 at 8:28
  • that would be a great reason not to use it!
    – Spagirl
    Sep 5, 2020 at 19:33

4 Answers 4


Smoked salt for general use in kitchen to get "smoked/grilled" taste or for dal tadka smoked chilli pepper. Latter is no so strong as normal chilli (so you use more) but give nice aftertaste to spiceness.

  • We cook a lot with Hungarian smoked paprika (Chicken Paprikash, etc.) so I used a bit of that instead of the recommended Kashmiri chili powder. However I wasn't able to use enough of it to really make a difference. Further, I'm worried that if I used enough to make it smoky, I'll have also made my dal curry taste like Hungarian food :-D Sep 5, 2020 at 8:30
  • @SwissFrank smoked salt have this ability that is don't make food salty. So you can make it taste smoked without any fear of changing the taste. Sep 5, 2020 at 18:28

Ghee candle.

Ghee candle.


Depicted: butter candle from the King of Random. It is basically a half stick of butter with a toilet paper wick. You can see it gives off a little smoke as it burns. That smoke is the flavor you want - burned butter flavor.

Make a ghee candle. Put it in a pot with your curry. The pot will become a smoke chamber. You will need to work with the lid to figure out how much of an opening you need - you want the smoke to stay in there and flavor your curry but you need some air to feed the candle.


Find a bowl that your curry fits into, and that in turn fits in a tall pot.

Put the ghee in the bottom of the tall pot, and the bowl into the pot. Put a tight lid and set to highest temperature for 5-15 minutes. Observe the smoke if you have a glass lid and experiment to find the best results for you.

This also warms up the curry if it is leftovers.

I was worried about the unequal heat shattering my ceramic bowl, so I rested it on a small silicone trivet meant to be good for any temperature that the pot could reach.

  • 1
    You could also use a steaming rack like this, which are usually metal.
    – mbjb
    Sep 8, 2020 at 8:39

I ended up burning my last dal tadka a little bit, so the result tasted smokey anyway!

I don't suggest this as a good answer. I only record it as an answer...

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