Padma Lakshmi Describes This Indian Staple As 'Music To My Ears'

Padma Lakshmi won the hearts (and respect) of many when she fiercely defended Indian food after an article written by Gene Weingarten for The Washington Post came out dismissing the fare (via Twitter). Accusing the entire cuisine of being "based entirely on one spice," Weingarten's opinion didn't sit well with Lakshmi who called the article out for being racist, told the writer to take a lesson or two from her book on herbs and spices, and shared a hilarious comment from one of her Twitter followers, wishing the writer to a life of disappointing food: "May your rice be clumpy, roti dry, your chilies unforgivable, your chai cold, and your papadams soft" (via Instagram).

Lakshmi is not just an advocate for Indian food, but also frequently cooks and shares recipes for her favorite Indian dishes during interviews and on social media. In fact, she told BuzzFeed that her go-to comfort food is a vegetable-filled bowl of khichdi — a savory Indian porridge — which she cooks every Sunday night. In a recent video posted on Twitter, Lakshmi was back in the kitchen sharing another favorite Indian dish, the sound of which she described as, "music to my ears."

Padma Lakshmi loves the crackling sound of tadka

The sizzling sound Padma Lakshmi loves came when she poured hot oil tempered with spices into a cold bowl of yogurt rice. "It is called a tadka, it takes everything to next level," explained one follower on Twitter, cluing in fans who were wondering where the crackling sound was coming from. Another comment shared the hot oil Lakshmi was adding to her yogurt rice is a "flavor bomb" that can be used in other cuisines outside of Indian cooking as well.

While Laksmi's tadka seems to contain (among other ingredients) chilies, curry leaves, and mustard seeds, cookbook author and molecular biologist Nik Sharma wrote for Serious Eats that all sorts of whole and ground spices can be used, including certain lentils. This infusion goes by many names, but simply refers to the tempering of dried spices along with certain fresh ingredients in hot oil. According to Sharma, tadka not only adds flavor and texture to a dish, but also brings "aroma, ... color, and even sound" — the same sound Lakshmi calls music to her ears.