Green and Orange Pepper Curry
One of he first Indian curries that I have ever cooked, this green and orange bell pepper curry reicpe is easy and full of flavours
Believe it or not, I have only discovered indian food less than one year ago. It does sound silly, I know, but hey, is better late then never, isn’t it?However, as late as it came, it was love at first taste – that’s for sure, and as all those love stories that come at a certain age (well past the fiery, adolescentine age I may say), this one is a love story that I konw it will last forever. Because indian food is so complex and so full of flavour, bursting with personality, and because indian recipes would always surprise me in such a way that I would always want to know more, to cook more, to taste more of all those so well ballanced spices.
There are only a few spices used in this curry, but I must say that knowing your spices is absolutely crucial in obtaining a perfectly balanced dish. I’ve done my research partly during my one month trip to India last year and partly by studying several books of herbs and spices, and I would like to share with you a few simple tips and tricks for the spices I have used in this recipe.
– cumin – has a strong, spicy and slightly sweet flavour and a pungent taste. I would recommend you to buy cumin seeds and invest in a spice grinder for obtaining your own fresh cumin powder. Simply dry-fry for a minute or two a few spoons of cumin seeds, leave them to cool, and grind them. Store in a small jar for further use. Alternatively, try to source a good quality spice provider, and buy the powder in small quantities, as it will lose its flavour if it is stored for a long time.
– chilli powder – you can find it in most of the shop these days, there are all sorts of chilli powder available, from very hot to mild. Make sure you would check the ingredients before you buy any chilli powder, as you could have the surprise of buying a mix of spices with some chilli powder instead of the real thing. Also, as for the cumin powder, you can always dry-fry some dry chillies and grind them. I use a Kashmiri mild chilli powder, as I am not yet so fond of the very hot type, but you can always find the right one for your own taste.
– turmeric – you would usually find it as powder, with a orange-yellow-ish colour. It has an earthy flavour and a slightly peppery taste, but it can get bitter if you use too much. Ususally turmeric powder is used for curries, chutneys, pickles or different rice dishes, but it can also be used as a colorant or as a replacement for the more expensive saffron.
– garam masala – the spice mix – with garam masala I can say only one thing: the varieties are limitless! In India, every house has its own garam masala recipe, and I can only recommend you to try different spices until you will find your perfect garam masala for your own taste. My garam masala mix consists in equal quantities of cinamon, cloves, black peppercorns, sweet peppercorns and mace. I dry-fry them for 2-3 minutes, leave them to cool a bit, and grind them – it is that easy!
– dhana jeera – this is a mix of gounded coriander seeds and cumin seeds in equal quantities. I use it pretty often in my cooking, therefore I grind once about five spoons of each and store it in a jar.
Green and orange bell pepper curry
- for the curry:
- 1 green pepper
- 1 orange pepper
- 2 big fresh tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons of groundnut oil
- 1teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon dhana jeera
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 200 ml coconut milk
- the juice of half of lime
- fresh coriander leaves
for the rice:
- 150 grams basmati rice
- 30 grams ghee (clarified butter)
- 300 ml hot water
Prepare the rice:
- Wash the rice in cold running water until the water becomes clear, then leave it to strain for 20 minutes.
- Warm the ghee in a saucepan on medium heat, then add the rice and leave it for 2-3 minutes, stirring ocasionally, until it becomes translucent.
- Lower the heat, add the salt and the hot water, cover the saucepan with a lid and leave the rice to boil for 20 minutes without taking off the lid. After 20 minutes, take the saucepan off the stove, and leave it with the lid on for another 5 minutes.
Prepare the curry:
- Wash and deseed the bell peppers, then cut them into cubes. Wash the tomatoes and cut them into cubes of the same size as the bell peppers.
- Heat the oil in a pan, until is very hot. Add the cumin seeds and leave them to fry for a few seconds, just so they start sizzling and release the fragrance.
- Add the peppers and fry for 3 minutes.
- Add the tomato cubes, stir and leve them to cook for about 5 minutes on high heat.
- Add the spices: first the salt, then the cilli powder, followed by turmeric, dhana jeera and at the end garam masala. Stir and leave to cook for another two minutes.
- Add the coconut milk, stir and cook for five more minutes.
- At the end, add the lime juice and the fresh coriander, roughly chopped.
- To serve, place half of the rice on a large plate, and spoon in the middle a generous quantity of curry. Sprinkle some fresh coriander on top.