May 21, 2011

Capsicum Masala Rice!

Someone I work with brought this for lunch one day, and declared it her new favourite thing to eat, so I had to try it. The video is worth a watch, because the written instructions are full of hilariously unhelpful things like "fry further for another minute till the rawness disappears and the flavors come out", and if you can understand Chef Sanjay's accent, the visuals and spoken instructions will help clarify the confusing and contradictory bits in the written ones.

Capsicum is called "bell pepper" in Canada and America (and possibly other places, too); I never heard the word until I went to New Zealand, where I embarrassed myself by asking "what's capiscum?" at a pizza place, since every pizza featured it.

Capsicum Masala Rice

Step 1: Cook rice to make 3 cups of cooked rice.

Step 2: While that's cooking, make the masala
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp black gram daal (I couldn't find these, but the end result was fine anyway)
  • 4-5 dried red chilies (to taste), or red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 inch piece of cinnamon bark/stick
  • 10-12 fresh curry leaves
  • 3 tbsp roasted peanuts
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated coconut (optional)
Heat a pan to medium and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, black daal, cinnamon stick, and dried chilies, and dry-roast for a few minutes. Add the peanuts and curry leaves and toast a few minutes more, taking care not to cook past 'aromatic' to burnt. The curry leaves will get crisp.

Remove from the heat and let cool.

Step 3: While that's cooling, cut up the bell peppers. The recipe says slice thinly, but I just diced them (as he does in the video) to be more fork-friendly with the rice, and I used a combination of colours, also as suggested in the video.

Step 4: In a food processor, grind the cooled masala to a coarse powder.

Step 5: Saute the peppers in a bit of ghee or butter, to tender-crisp. Add the masala and mix well.

Step 6: Mix with the rice, and serve. Delicious!

I mixed a little plain yogurt with a little garam masala to cool the heat a little bit (I have a sensitive mouth for 'hot'), and it did admirably. This is a delicious dish, even without the black gram daal (which I couldn't get except in catering-pack quantities) and the cinnamon bark (which I forgot to add).

Delish. Highly recommended. Might well go into our regular rotation when Indian food is on the menu.


  1. mmm..that looks and sounds delicious! Unfortunately, thanks to River and his life-threatening allergy to peanuts, our house is a peanut-free zone. I wonder if I could substitute cashews or some other nut?

  2. Absolutely you can; the friend who gave me the recipe uses cashews or whatever other nuts she has on hand.