Capsicum/Bell Pepper Stew

(Coloured Peppers cooked in creamy Coconut Milk and Roasted Spices)

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Prep Time: 10-20 mins
Cooking Time: 15-20 mins

Serves: 4-6

Recipe Source: 100 Vegetarian Curries by Mallika Badrinath

3 large Bell Peppers/Capsicums cut into 1 inch cubes
3-4 cups/1 can Coconut Milk (Keep thin and thick milk separately if using fresh coconut milk)
½ tsp Turmeric Powder
1-2 tsp Jaggery
Extract from 1 small Lime sized Tamarind Pulp/1 tsp Tamarind Paste
Salt to taste

For Spice Powder:
1 tsp Toor Dal/Split Red Grams
1 tsp Channa Dal/Split Chickpeas
1 tsp Urad Dal/Split Black Grams
1 tsp Coriander Seeds
½ tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds (Optional as original recipe doesn't use it)
5-6 Dry Red Chillies (Adjust acc to taste)
4-6 tsp White Poppy Seeds
1 tsp Oil

For Tadka/Tempering:
1 tbsp Oil (Preferably Coconut Oil)
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
3-4 Cloves
2 Green Cardamoms, bruised (Optional as original recipe doesn't use it)
Few Curry Leaves
A big Pinch of Hing/Asafoetida
Heat a pan and dry roast poppy seeds till they turn light golden, about 45 seconds. Transfer the roasted poppy seeds to coffee grinder or mixer jar. In the same pan heat oil and roast all the ingredients till lentils turn golden brown and aromatic. Let the roasted spices and lentils cool completely before you mix them with poppy seeds. Grind these roasted lentils and spices to fine powder and keep aside till needed.
Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds to it. When mustard starts to pop and splutter, add cloves, cardamoms, curry leaves and hing. Sauté for a minute till the spices are aromatic.
Now add peppers and cook them on medium heat till their skin is wilted, about 3-4 mins.
Mix in spice powder, turmeric powder, jaggery, tamarind extract and salt to taste.
Now add 1/3rd of Coconut milk (thin milk if using freshly made coconut milk) and mix well. Cover and cook for 2-3 mins. Mix in the 2nd extract or 1/3rd of coconut milk and cook uncovered in low heat and bring it to gentle boil, about 5 mins.
Now add the tick coconut milk (or remaining 1/3rd) and bring the gravy to gentle boil, about 2-3 mins. At this stage make sure that the peppers are cooked well and they still retain their crunch. Turn off the gas and mix in finely chopped coriander leaves. Cover and let it sit for 5 mins for all the flavours to blend well. Serve it hot with steam cooked rice and enjoy.