Sunday, March 11, 2007

Bell pepper rice

This recipe is courtesy my mother. I followed her about while she made the rice, getting in her way, taking photographs and generally being of no particular use to her in the kitchen. It sure made a change to be a hindrance to someone else rather than to myself!

We (my mother, Pete, myself and my visiting cousin) were as hungry as bears because we had been out for hours, wandering up and down a small town called Ludlow, visiting the ruins of the castle that reigns supreme right in the town centre. By the time we got back, it was 3pm. My mother opted to make bell pepper rice as it was reasonably quick to make - while the rice was cooking, the vegetables were prepared and the masala ingredients roasted and powdered. Oh, the aroma in the kitchen while my mother did the cooking was indescribable... savoury and mouthwatering - pushed up a few notches no doubt because we were all so darn hungry!

By the way, the list of ingredients might look a bit daunting - especially for the masala powder - but really the procedure is quite simple.

This masala rice is a one-dish meal in itself... all you need is a raita and perhaps some crisp-crunchy accompaniment like potato chips or poppadums, if you are so inclined.

Recipe for:
Bell pepper rice


For the masala powder:

Dry roast:
1" piece cinnamon stick
1 cardamom
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
4 cloves

Roast in 1 tsp oil:
4 dry red chillies
1 tbsp chana dal
1/2 tbsp tuvar/toor dal
1 tbsp urad dal
2 tbsp coriander seeds
10-15 curry leaves

For the vegetable-rice mixture:

4 cups cooked basmati rice
2 green bell peppers, sliced or chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, sliced thin
1 potato, sliced into thin sticks and microwaved on high for 5 minutes
Salt to taste

For tempering:
2 tbsp oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
large pinch asafoetida powder


1. Dry-roast the cinnamon stick, cardamom, fennel seeds and cloves for a minute or so, till they release their aroma. Remove to a cup and set aside to cool.

2. Pour 1 tsp oil in the pan next, and roast the red chillies for a few seconds.

Then add the three dals, the coriander seeds and the curry leaves.

Stir frequently over medium high heat till the dals are golden brown and the red chillies are shiny and dark.

Take off the heat and let cool. Grind the dry-roasted spices and the fried dals and chillies to a slightly grainy powder (a bit like sand), and reserve.

3. Now in a wide pan, heat the 2 tbsp oil. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds and let them pop.

4. Add the sliced/chopped tomatoes and fry till they get mushy.

Then add the onions and fry till they turn soft and translucent.

5. Next, add the microwaved potatoes

and the bell peppers.

Fry the vegetables till the bell peppers are soft-crisp and the potatoes are done.

Add salt to taste and 4 tbsp of the masala powder.

6. Mix the masala powder with the vegetables.

Now add the cooked rice and gently mix with a large metal spoon till the masala vegetables are evenly distributed.

7. Taste for salt and add more masala powder if required, mixing it in. Once the rice is thoroughly warmed, turn off the heat.

8. Serve the bell pepper rice with any raita and poppadums or crisps.


g said...


the link to the recipe is not working. am looking forward to reading it since the only fresh thing in my fridge right now is peppers!

Shammi said...

G: Thanks for telling me about the duff link. I've rectified it :)

Vaishali said...

You sure have a great collection of recipes with bell peppers. One was the Sambar, which I looooove. And another is this, which I am sure tastes great with that combination of spices. You know what...if I were you, I would have made a series with all those recipes...and named it something like...mmmmm...Bells pep her...or something like that.
I think my creativity has started oozing in all directions. I better stop. :-)

Food for BMS said...

Hi Shammi, Came here via "Happy Burp" been here couple of times earlier. Your mom's recipe is interesting. I have tried something similar using garam masala and sambhar powder without the potato and tomatoes. I think the fresh ground spice does make a lot of difference. And the tangy taste of tomatoes. Moms definitely know how to kick it up a notch. A must try for me :)

Me said...

I hopped and skipped here from another blog and I am going to invest many hours trying the recipes on your blog.

Sugandhi Vivek said...

hi shammi,

i like all your recipes, especially the cakes you make are really good. thanks for sharing

Aahaar Vihaar said...

Hi Shammi,
I like the way you picturize each and every step in making a dish. Will try your bell pepper rice for sure.

Anonymous said...

This looks great - I bought peppers to make it, but have a question...

I don't have a microwave. Should I just boil the potato sticks for a bit? How "done" are they supposed to be before going in?

Anonymous said...

Diane: The potato sticks can be boiled, if you dont have a microwave. They need to be about three-fourths done, - not to the fall-apart stage.

Swapna said...

Wow..I just love bell pepper in anything, and my husband doesn't like it much..which gives me all the more reason to add it in every dish:)..This rice looks great..Nice step-by-step pics

magicrna said...

wow! this is so proffesional!!!! I am quite intimidated to even write a comment. But I am certainly going to check out all the recipies and try them out...the pictures themselves are so sumptuous!!!!!
*licking lips in anticipation*

Terri the terrific said...

Shammi, I made it last night and it rocked! But, what do I do with the extra masala?

Anonymous said...

Swapna: Thanks! :)

Magicrna: You must not have had a look at some of the REALLY gorgeous food blogs :) But thank you for the kind compliments! Hope the recipes you try are to your liking!

Terri: Keep the extra masala for next time? :) It's only powder masala, so it should keep for a few weeks in a tightly sealed container.

Anonymous said...

Hi Shammi ,
Thanks for visiting my blog :)
I love one meal dishes, and this bell pepper rice is perfect spicy and tasty too.
I am book marking this recipe :) I intend making some extra Dry masala so that I can make this rice at short notice :)

Anonymous said...


I tried this recipe yesterday and its great..nice instructions.. Am in search of more one-dish meals as its easier with a small baby to look after and this was perfect.. thanks..


Suganya said...

Long time no see?

shree said...

Hi Shammi

Tried this recipe and it came out great. Thanks for sharing :)

Unknown said...

hello, tried this rice and it came out well.......! only thing is that my 4yr old daughter did not like the capsicum , so next time i will avoid the capsicum.