When my mom and I meet we almost always discuss food and exchange new recipes we have tried, although I think it is more of a crash course in cooking for me (I barely ever see her take any notes). My mom on her part is always pushing and prodding me to cook at home more often. She always has a recipe for my ‘dinner parties’ or ‘quick fix after a long day at work’ or a ‘Lazy Sunday brunch affair’. I am quite impressed with the tricks she’s got up her sleeves. Her sleeves know no dry spells and more importantly, the recipes always come at a time when they are most wanted. This capsicum rice is one such recipe that I learnt from her. I have made it several times for lunch, dinner and on those I-do-not-want-to-cook-days. Each time I would tell her that it is a wonderful inclusion to my recipe book. One day, on our one hour long international call, she admitted that this recipe was from vahrehvah.com, but that doesn’t stop me from claiming it as hers.
You can make a bigger batch of the dry masala and store it in an airtight container in your freezer. My mom had made a big batch of it before she left, I was very grateful to that. I have also used other vegetables like eggplant and zucchini, but my favourite is peppers.
Serves about 3-4 people
- 5-6 dried red chillies (you can reduce it if you do not like the heat, but mine were quite mild)
- I teaspoon black mustard seeds
- I teaspoon coriander seeds
- I teaspoon cumin seeds
- I teaspoon urad dal
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder or garam masala
- A big bunch of curry leaves
- 3 tablespoons raw peanuts (I used a little more because I love the flavour and the crunch)
Bell Pepper rice
- 3 cups cooked basmati rice (1 ½ cup basmati rice cooked with 3 cups of water)
- 3 coloured peppers (for this recipe I used, orange, yellow and green peppers)
- 2 teaspoon ghee or oil
- 1 lime
- Small bunch of fresh coriander leaves chopped
- Salt to taste
For the dry masala
In a small skillet dry roast all the ingredients except the cinnamon over medium-low heat, till fragrant and the urad dal turns golden, this should take 6-8 minutes.
Cool the roasted spices. Then using a spice grinder or food processor, grind into a semi fine powder. I like it a little course, adds a nice crunch to the rice.
You can even grind the mixture using a mortar and pestle, although it tends to be a lot coarser.
Now add the cinnamon powder to the spice mix, alternatively you can even add half teaspoon garam masala. This would also be a good time to salt the dish.
For the rice
Chop the peppers into 1 inch squares
In a pan, heat a little oil or ghee and saute the peppers for 3-4 minutes or till it just begins to soften. I like the peppers to have a bite in my rice.
To this add the spice mixture and 3 cups of cooked rice, mix till evenly coated. Turn off the heat when the rice is heated through.
Squeeze a whole lime and garnish with coriander leaves.
I like to eat it with a little plain yogurt or cool cucumber and mint raita.
Note: The rice needs to be clump free. For this the cooked rice needs to be cooled on a plate before adding to the peppers and spice mixture.