There was nothing left in my refrigerator except a bag of tri-color bell peppers and a chayote squash (chow-chow). So it was easy to decide the menu for lunch. Bell pepper rice with stir-fry chayote squash/ chow-chow poriyal and some fried papadams. Very easy and yet satisfying meal that can be cooked with less time and minimal effort.
Bell peppers are rich sources of antioxidants and vitamin C. Each color of pepper is associated with a different family of phytochemicals. I always like to go for the variety of color, as it adds nutrient and look for the dish J
1 cup of chopped bell peppers /capsicum
½ cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 tablespoon raw peanuts / cashew nuts
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoon spice mix powder
(It is the same powder I used for puliodharai recipe, I had also given the recipe below)
1 and ½ cup cooked rice
2 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon chopped curry leaves
2 tablespoon chopped coriander seeds
Salt to taste
Pinch of hing
Pinch of turmeric powder
Heat the oil in a big wok or a pan. When the oil is hot enough add the mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter add the hing, curry leaves and the cumin seeds. Then add the peanuts or the cashew nuts and fry them until they turn golden.
Now add the chopped onions, salt and turmeric powder. Cook the onions until they turn transparent. We don’t have to brown the onions, jut cook them until they are soft. After the onions are cooked add the chopped bell peppers and cook for another 3 minutes. the bell peppers need to be crunchy, so don’t overcook them.
After 3 minutes of cooking the bell peppers, add the cooked rice and the spice powder and mix them thoroughly. Cook for another 5 minutes, tossing the rice around or stirring the rice carefully without breaking them. Switch of the flame and garnish them with the chopped coriander leaves. The rice is now ready to be served.
For the spice mix/powder:
2 tablespoon channa dhal
2 tablespoon white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon Methi/fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seed
2 tablespoon coriander seeds
6 dried red chilies
2 sprigs of curry leaves
Pinch of hing
Dry roast all the ingredients listed above separately in a pan until the raw smell disappears. Let them cool down completely then grind into a coarse powder using a spice grinder or an Indian Mixie. Store the spice powder in an air tight container for up to a month. This spice powder can be used in a variety of other recipes too. So I usually double the ingredients and make the powder. It comes handy for a lot of recipes J
-- Sang V