I've personally never liked the flavor of capsicum or bell peppers. But tasting this method of preparation had me completely converted. It's a unique combination of chickpea flour and bell peppers, resulting in a wonderful textural contrast of soft and mildly crisp.
Made in many homes in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, there's also a variation wherein roasted and crushed groundnuts are added into the flour mix. I've often seen people packing it in lunch boxes, perhaps because of how easy it is to rustle up in the flurry of the morning scramble. The dish gets even more interesting when different households add their own unique masala combinations to it. Yes, each region or sometimes each family, has its own special batch of spices toasted and ground in the summer. And the recipes to these spice mixes are carefully guarded by the elder women in the family. But even if you use just the regular spices found in Indian cuisine in this stir fry, the dish is bound to make a comeback to your dinner menu in another week or so.
- 2 tablespoons chickpea flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil or ghee
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 cup de-seeded and chopped green bell pepper (1/2 inch squares)
Mix chickpea flour, red chilli, cumin, coriander, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Place this spiced flour mix in a cast iron pan and cook over medium heat until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl.
Return pan to medium heat and heat oil or ghee until shimmering. Add the mustard seeds and cook, stirring, until they splutter, about 30 seconds. Add the onion and fry until slightly soft but not browned, about 1 minute. Add the chopped bell pepper, a pinch of salt and stir until fragrant and the mixture is coated with the ghee/oil, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and allow the juices of the bell pepper cook it through, about 5 minutes. Stir at intervals to make sure it doesn't stick to the pan.
When the bell peppers have softened, add the spiced flour mix and stir vigorously to blend the flour with the oil and juices in the pan, until it resembles a scrambled egg consistency, about 1 minute. Stop stirring and allow the dish to cook for 1 minute longer. Season to taste with salt. Serve hot with rotis and deal tadka.
Cast iron pan