On some days, I don't plan at all. On others, I plan and plan no end (and end up leaving the lunch box at home!) This dish, however, is the result of no planning at all. Amchi cuisine has a capsicum dish called Kayaras and that is what I wanted to make one morning when I had loads of capsicum in the fridge. But I was too lazy to pick up the Rasachandrika from the shelf and refer to it. At times like these, I remember what Amma always says, "When nice ingredients go into a dish and the intentions are good and loving, it can never taste bad." The first time I heard this was when I tried to make chikki. The recipe called for caramelized sugar instead of the jaggery syrup that is usually made and my chikki didn't turn out like anything I'd expected. I was about 10 at the time.
Now, I have a reasonably decent sense of combinations: what goes well with what... what flavours ingredients will impart to a dish. And this helps me experiment. So, I went beyond aloo capsicum and paneer/soya capsicum to create this dish.
1/4 kilo Green Capsicum, chopped
1 Onion, sliced
2 tbsp Peanuts
1 tsp Sesame seeds
2 tsp Oil
2 Red Chillies
1 tsp Tamarind Paste
1 tbsp Coconut
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
Salt to Taste
In a small kadhai, heat 1 tsp of oil. Add the sesame seeds, coconut, chillies, and peanuts and roast for a few minutes. Transfer this to a mixer jar and grind it to a paste along with a little salt and the tamarind paste.
In a larger kadhai, heat the other teaspoon of oil. Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and asafoetida. When the seeds splutter, add the onions and fry for a minute or so. Add the paste and fry for another minute. Add the chopped capsicum, a little water and some salt if needed. Cover and cook until the capsicum is done. I like my capsicum crunchy and don't cook it for too long.
I packed this along with rotis for lunch and I found that it actually tasted nice. My colleagues told me it would be very heavy because of the sesame, peanuts and coconut. I didn't find it too heavy, but it wasn't the lightest dish I'd made or anything.