Thursday, July 28, 2011

Charred Green Bell Pepper Rice

If there was a challenge of making different kinds of rice dishes, and if there were a South Indian competing in that, he/she would definitely win.  I have not seen any other country/culture's cuisine anywhere closer to what South Indians can make with rice as the main ingredient. Then again, I am nowhere closer to being 'Alton Brown'. So, if I am wrong, forgive me.
I was flipping through the pages of this book that happens to be in Kannada. There was a rice dish called 'Masala Rice'. I modified it quite a bit and added charred green bell peppers to it. Why did I use bell peppers? Because I had lot of them on hand. You could try using grilled zucchini or grilled eggplants instead of bell peppers too. This dish wasn't very spicy for me but then again you need to remember that I am Indian. Go easy on chillies if you cannot handle heat.
One year back - Vangibhath powder, Fenugreek/Methi rice
Inspired from a book called 'Paaka Rasayana' which specializes in North Karnataka Cuisine (A southern state of India)
Green Bell Peppers - 5 huge ones (Or use 8 smaller ones)
Rice - 2 cups (I used sona masoori. If using Basmati, use 2 1/2 cups)
Oil - 4 TBSP divided use
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cashews - 3 TBSP (optional - could also use peanuts)
Cilantro - chopped 3 TBSP
Salt - to taste
Turmeric - two generous pinches
Lime - 1 (to get about 4 TBSP of juice)

To grind into a paste:
Red Onion - 1 huge chopped into chunks (Or use 2 medium ones)
Green Chillies - 9 - 10 per taste
Garlic - 2 pods
Ginger - 1" piece peeled and chopped into chunks
Pepper corns - 1/2 tsp
Cloves - 5
Cinnamon - 2" stick
Cumin - 1 tsp
Coriander - 1/2 tsp (whole not powder)
Wash and rinse the rice very well. Cook in enough water with a pinch of salt and turmeric. Sona masoori rice that I used takes 2 1/2 cups water per each cup of rice. Use water depending on the type of rice. Let it cool a bit and fluff with a fork. Set aside.
Seed the bell pepper and chop into chunks. On a large shallow skillet preferably cast iron one, spread about 1 tsp of oil. Heat it. When really hot, add the chopped bell pepper so that they are in one single layer. You will have to do this in batches. Sprinkle a little bit of salt and let it charr. If you have a grill, you can use that for this purpose. Place an aluminum foil on the top of the bell pepper chunks and place another cast iron skillet on the top to get that burnt texture. Stir once so that all the sides get cooked. Remove from the skillet and repeat with the remaining bell pepper chunks.
Meanwhile, grind all the ingredients mentioned in 'To grind into a paste' section above. Set aside. In a pan, heat remaining 3 TBSP of oil. When hot, add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add cashews. When they are golden, add the ground paste. Sprinkle a bit of salt and let it cook till the raw smell of onion is completely gone. You will have to stir frequently to avoid burning. Add the charred bell pepper chunks to the pan. Stir. Add the rice and mix very well. Adjust the salt if needed. Turn off the heat and add cilantro and lime juice. Mix well. Serve as the main dish as is or with some yogurt on the side.

Enjoy. Pin It


  1. always on the look out for different rice recipes...this one looks really good! good pics too!

  2. awesome pepper the char in peppers...

  3. Bell pepper rice looks so delicious and vibrant.

    Hamaree Rasoi

  4. I agree, that's coz we the eternal rice lovers try n sneak in as many veggies or other fare not eaaten by kids in the form of appealing pulao; nice looking rice

  5. You are right about south Indians making rice varieties! We make soooo many varieties of rice... and even in that variations everyday to bring out a different taste...
    Loved this recipe of using charred bell pepper...

  6. absolutely love the recipe and pics Champa, very inventive :)

  7. a twist to the Kannadiga signature dish of Vangibhath :-) Thumbaa chennagide :)

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