Capsicum Masala (Bell Pepper Curry)

We recently made a vegetable biryani (recipe already in this blog). The usual dish served with biryani is a kurma. But I was not in a mood for spices such as cinnamon and bay leaves. I therefore googled for a gravy dish – spicy, yes. But not overpowering spices. Came across a video on YouTube. The dish looked tantalizing, but the video was in Telugu – a language that I do not understand.
But, I told myself, that since I listen to a lot of Carnatic music (which is largely in Telugu), deciphering a video should not prove too difficult. I decided to brave the video, with Hari next to me for moral support. We did figure the recipe out – and it tasted out of this world!

Ingredients
250 gms green capsicum (bell pepper, simla mirch, koda milagai), chopped into medium sized cubes
1 onion, chopped fine
4 green chilis, roughly chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped into small cubes
2 tbsp coconut pieces, cut into small cubes
2 tbsp raw peanuts
1 tbsp sesame seeds (til, ellu)
1 tbsp coriander seeds (sabut dhania, kothamalli varai)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (sabut jeera, jeeragam)
1/2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
Salt to taste
1 tbsp red chili powder
A small ball of tamarind (imli, puli)
2 dried red chilis, broken in the centre
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
2 sprigs curry leaves
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
1/2 tbsp garam masala powder
Method
Clean the tamarind and soak it for 15 minutes
Extract paste and set aside
Heat a wok and set to low flame
Add the coriander and half of cumin seeds
Roast till the aroma emanates
Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool
In the same wok, add the peanuts and roast on medium flame
Once the peanuts begin to change colour, add the sesame seeds
Roast for a few seconds
Add the coconut pieces
Continue to roast till the coconut pieces are light brown
Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool
Transfer the roast coriander and cumin seeds to a blender and grind to a fine powder
Remove to a bowl
Now transfer the coconut, sesame and peanuts to the blender
Grind to a coarse paste, adding a little water
Remove to a bowl and set aside
Heat a wok and add the mustard seeds and the remaining cumin seeds
When the seeds begin to splutter, add the curry leaves and cover the wok
After a few seconds add the dried red chilis
Roast for a few seconds
Add the onion and green chilis
Mix well
Cover and cook on medium flame for about 3 minutes
Then add the ginger-garlic paste
Continue cooking till the raw smell of the ginter-garlic evaporates
Now add the tomatoes
Cover and cook for about 5 minutes or till the tomatoes are tender
Then add the capsicum and mix well
Add turmeric powder and salt
Mix well again
Cover and cook for about 4 minutes
Open the lid and add the coconut paste
Mix well
Then add the tamarind paste and mix well again
Cover and cook for 3 minutes more
The open the lid and add red chili powder (you may adjust this to your taste)
Mix well again
Add 1/2 cup water and mix again
Cover the wok again and cook on high flame for 2 minutes
Open the lid and mix again
Now add 1 tbsp of the coriander-cumin powder
Mix again
Cover and cook on medium flame for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally
Add coriander leaves and mix again
Cover and cook for a minute
Open the lid and adjust salt, if necessary
Add the garam masala powder and mix again
Cover and cook for a minute more
Remove from flame and transfer to a serving bowl
Serve hot with steamed red/brown rice, biryani or Indian flat breads
Enjoy!





























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