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.

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.


Mixed Greens Stir Fry/ Soppina Palya

We get good varieties of greens all year around in our grocery and I end up buying at least two different types every week. The green leafy vegetables have a high nutritional value and are extremely rich in antioxidants, good source of iron and calcium. The only problem is that they have a small shelf life and need to be used up pretty fast.

This recipe comes handy when lots of greens need to be used. Also this is a quick fix recipe and does not require too much babysitting. The time consuming part however is the thorough cleaning of the greens. Remember that the greens while cooking wilt easily and hence cook faster.

In Kannada greens are referred to as ‘Soppu”. It is a generic term and could refer to any type of greens like spinach, kale, Malabar spinach, fenugreek etc and “palya” means dry fry. You can use any greens that you like for this recipe. This pairs well with Rotis and Rice as well.


  • 1/2  cup chana daal/Bengal gram daal
  • 4 cups of packed greens ( I used spinach leaves + Kale leaves+ collard greens) cleaned & chopped [use any greens of choice]
  • 2-3 green chillies (slit)
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 tomato ( chopped)
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 2-3 garlic  pods (peeled & crushed )
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2-3 Curry leaves


  • Wash the chaan daal in enough water and soak it for about 1-2 hours. After that cook it on the stove with water, making sure there is still a bite to it.
  • Take a large pan and heat some oil. Add mustard seeds and when it splutters add the curry leaves, green chillies, grated ginger and crushed garlic.
  •  After the garlic has turned light brown add the chopped onion and cook. Stir in the chopped tomato, salt and cook.
  • Add the chopped greens and stir frequently. The greens wilt pretty fast and do not take long time to cook. Add the cooked chana daal and salt and stir again.
  • Finally add the juice of lemon and the shredded coconut. 

This serves as a great accompaniment with rotis and or daal rice.