Capsicum Masala Recipe

capsicum masala bellpepper curry

While there are many ways of cooking capsicum, this way of cooking capsicum/bell pepper is my all time favorite. For starters the pungent capsicum is cooked in a coconut masala which has a balanced combination of the essential 4 S. The four S’s being sweet, spicy, salty and sour. So when the bell pepper gets cooked in this masala it forms an enticing combination. 

I may be a little biased here, because I enjoy vegetables cooked in a spicy coconut masala/sauce. That is how I grew up eating and this dish transports me back home giving me that warm, comfortable feeling. 

Apart from its taste, the other aspect I like about this Capsicum Masala is that it is easy to cook. After coming back from work, all I long for is to make something easy, healthy yet delicious and this one fits the bill. While the onion, capsicums are cooking in the pan, I grind the masala and add it to the pan. Since everything cooks fast, this dish gets done in a jiffy. Make some daal like “Daali thoy” and you have a wonderful lunch/dinner. Life could not get any better than that!

 The coconut masala is very versatile and you can customize based on your own taste. Also you can substitute bell pepper (referred to as capsicum in India) with okra (lady’s finger), brinjal (eggplant) or even potatoes.
bell pepper masala


  • 2 big capsicum/ bell peppers [substitute with okra, brinjal, Tindora, potato]
  • 1 medium onion
  • ¾ cup shredded coconut
  • 1 Tbsp  tamarind paste
  • Little jaggery (for taste)
  • Coriander leaves (garnish)
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • Asafetida (a pinch)
  • Salt
  •  oil 

Ingredients to roast 

  • 1 tsp urad daal
  • ½  tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/4 tsp methi seeds
  • ½ tsp sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup peanuts/ground nuts
  • 3-4 red chillies


  • Wash all the capsicum/bell pepper thoroughly, chop into bite size pieces and keep aside. (not too small)
  • Peel the onion and chop it into small pieces. Chop the coriander leaves and keep aside.
  • Roast all the ingredients in little oil on low flame one by one and keep them aside to cool.
  • Grind the coconut along with red chillies, salt, tamarind paste and water.
  • Half way through add the roasted ingredients and grind it to a smooth paste. Add water as required. The paste should be a little thick and not too watery.


  • Heat oil in a thick bottom pan, add mustard seeds and let it splutter. Next add the asaferida and mix.
  • Add the diced onions and sauté until it is semi cooked.
  • Increase the heat and at this point add the chopped capsicum. Stir well.
  • After the capsicum is cooked, add the ground masala, salt, jiggery and mix well. Sprinkle water in between and keep mixing as required.
  • Cover with a lid, stirring in between. Once the masala is cooked, stream in little bit oil. Mix and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

This can be served as a wonderful accompaniment with rice or rotis.

Ghee Rice

If you are looking for a rice recipe that is easy to prepare, rich in taste, aromatic and crowd pleasing then Ghee Rice is right for you. Generous use of ghee (clarified butter) along with cashews, raisins makes this dish rich and festive. This pairs well with a spicy gravy based side dish.

Few weeks ago we had some friends for dinner and this was one of our menu items. The credit for preparing this rice dish goes to DH. He is a good cook, who has a knack for cooking without taking any short cuts. While I chicken out when the recipe calls for lavish amount of ghee/butter, cashews etc, he thrives on such recipes and does a good job.

Please do not substitute ghee with oil for this recipe and the flavor will be lost. This goes well along with spicy vegetable kurma.


  • 2 cups Basmati Rice (raw)
  • 15-20 Cashew nuts
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 15-20 raisins
  • 4-5 pieces of Cinnamon ( 1 inch stick )
  • ½ cup onion (peeled and cut lengthwise) [optional]
  • 5-10 cloves
  • 2-3 Bay leaves
  • 2-3 cardamom pods (crushed and skin removed)
  • 3 Tbsp Ghee (clarified butter)
  • Salt per taste
  • 1 tsp oil


  • Wash the rice thoroughly and soak this in enough water for about 1 hour.
  • Drain the water and then cook the rice in about 3 ½ cups of water along with 2-3 cloves, 1 tsp cumin seeds, little salt and oil. (Note: The grains should be separate and not overcooked).
  • After the rice is cooked, spread it on a big plate and allow it to cool. Use a wooden spoon to spread it around that way the rice won’t break.
  • Heat a big pan and then add the Ghee, add the cumin seeds, bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon stick, crushed cardamom pods.
  • Add the chopped onion and cook until it is transparent. Add little more ghee iif required.
  • Then add the cashews and cook until they are light brown. Add the raisins and cook until they plump up.
  • Add the cooked rice and toss it around. Do not over mix or stir a lot as the rice will break. Cover with lid on low fame until everything incorporates. Serve with spicy vegetable kurma.


Teppal Ambat (Potato Curry in Triphal spice)

Teppal / Tirphal also called as Sichuan pepper is a rare spice Indian resembling a bigger version of black pepper. This is predominantly used in Maharashtra and coastal Konkan cooking. 

If you are looking at this spice for the first time, then you might ignore it as it so ordinary looking with no distinct flavor or aroma of its own. But looks can be so deceiving and this spice goes on to prove just that. The minute you crush about 6-9 of them in water you begin to see the change and start getting that distinct aroma. The final magic happens when you add this crushed spice to a coconut based curry. The taste and flavor of the curry gets completely transformed and takes it to a whole new level.

It is hard to describe in words the taste of this, though I would say it is a pungent, peppery and lemony taste. It does not make the dish spicy, but makes it very fragrant. Little goes a long way and just 5-8 is enough to change the flavor and aroma of the dish.

It is hard to describe in words the taste of this, though I would say it is a pungent, peppery and lemony taste. It does not make the dish spicy, but makes it very fragrant. Little goes a long way and just 5-8 is enough to change the flavor and aroma of the dish. 

Traditionally there are two ways in which the crushed teppal water is used. At my mom’s place, the crushed teppal is added to the curry and boiled. At my in-laws place, the crushed water called “teppla udda” is saved separately. While the curry is served on rice, a spoonful or two of the water is added to the curry before eating. Either way the taste is delicious and out of the ordinary. Both ways make sure that the teppal is not consumed as it is not pleasant.

There is no substitute for this spice and I don’t think this is available in the Indian stores here in the US. I usually get my stock when I am in India and get my quota of teppal and also kokum.

PS: It is no mistake that oil is not used for this dish at all!


  • 2 medium potatoes
  • ½ cup beans/peas ( I used frozen lima beans) [optional]
  • 5-8 teppal/ Sichuan pepper
  • 1/3 cup toor daal
  • Salt

To make the coconut masala

  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • Turmeric a pinch
  • 1 Tbsp tamarind paste
  • 3-4 red chillies
  • 2 tsp Jaggery for taste (optional)


  • Peel the cleaned potato and boil it in sufficient amount of water separately either in the microwave or the stovetop. Make sure it is not overcooked and mushy; there should still be a bite to it.
  • Boil the toor daal in pressure cooker until it is mashed. Keep aside.
  • Make the coconut masala, by grinding coconut along with red chillies, salt, tamarind and water. The masala should be made into a very fine paste. Add more water if required.
  • In the meanwhile heat thick bottomed pan. Add the coconut paste, boiled potato along with water, salt, jaggery and cook until the raw smell of coconut is gone. Check for taste and adjust the seasonings if required.
  • Meanwhile crush the teppal/triphal in little water using a mottle and pestle and add to the curry along with the water. Let this boil for 5 minutes and then close the lid.
  •  Serve hot with rice or rotis. Please note that the teppal is not consumed while eating it is discarded.