Ghee Tadka Spaghetti (Ghee Aglio e Olio)

Ghee Tadka Spaghetti (Ghee Aglio e Olio)

3 minute read

I was raised on a steady diet of ghee. Ghee was in my bowl of white rice as a toddler, in the simple vegetable dishes mum cooked, in the daal I loved eating, slathered on my toast if mum ran out of butter and yes, even in my baked beans! 

You may know it as ghee butter or clarified butter. Indians call it the fat of the gods because it’s offered on altars and used as food for the gods for centuries. Ghee is also a flavour miracle-worker. Or for my fellow millennials, ghee is the smashed avocado on toast of fats.

The place where ghee shines is when you use it for a tadka, the act of blooming spices in ghee. The humble tadka goes by many names - vaghar, phoron, chhounk, tarka are a few. Practically every Indian dish begins or ends with tadka. 

But could you add tadka to pasta? I decided to test the theory despite the risk of death threats from the Italians. Turns out, adding tadka to pasta has made the spaghetti I cook a whole lot tastier. I suggest you give it a whirl too. Especially if most of your produce - like mine - comes from the local veggie shop rather than the foothills of Mt Vesuvius and is not always bursting with fresh flavour. You will find that adding a tadka to your Aglio e Olio adds an oomph you didn’t know you were missing.

Ghee Tadka Spaghetti made with Dolly Mumma Spiced Ghee

500gm dried spaghetti, broken in halves
1500ml water
1-2 tbsp Salt (for pasta water)
1 tsp salt (for seasoning)
100 gm parmesan, pecorino or cheddar cheese, grated

First Tadka
2 tbsp ghee
1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds (optional)
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
1 fresh tomato, finely chopped (canned won’t do, cherry tomatoes split in half will work great)
12-15 curry leaves

Second Tadka
2 tbsp ghee
5-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Third Tadka
2 tbsp ghee
1 tsp mustard seeds
3-4 dried Kashmiri chillies, broken in half/big pieces
12-15 curry leaves


  • In a large saucepan, add the salt and water and bring it to a boil. Add in your pasta and cook for 8-11 minutes until al dente.
  • In a small saucepan, heat the ghee until it’s smoking. Add in the First Tadka ingredients one at a time in the order mentioned above. You want to make sure the cumin and fenugreek are roasted before the onions go in and that the onion is soft before you add the tomatoes and finally the curry leaves. Set aside in a bowl.
  • In the same saucepan, heat the second round of ghee. Add in the finely chopped garlic and allow it to become brown and crispy. Set aside in the same bowl as your first tadka.
  • Your pasta should be ready by now. Strain out the water and empty into a serving bowl. Add salt. Add the tadka you have set aside. Incorporate everything together.
  • Now, it’s time for the third tadka. One final time, heat the last round of ghee. Add in the mustard seeds. When they sizzle, add the curry leaves and the chillies. These will cook really fast in a matter of seconds so add them in and turn off the heat. You want them crispy.
  • Empty the tadka on top of your pasta. Add your grated cheese. Serve immediately.

Note - The final lot of curry leaves will be crispy and impart texture while the first lot will be soft from the tomatoes and impart flavour.

Spiced Ghee

Spiced Ghee


Our Spiced Ghee is also better known as tadka or tempering. Made with locally sourced ghee, our tadka can be used anywhere you'd normally use oil or butter. It is especially magical in soups, dahl and stews. Wheat free |… read more

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