Sweet and Spicy Capsicum Bhaji

Mallika Basu - Sweet and Spicy Capsicum Bhaji

Posted 7th June 2011

My social life has taken a battering. No surprise there. But when an invite appeared for a big 4-0 knees up, I could hardly pass it up. There I was in my new 70s wooden platforms. Drinking Pimms on a boat. Dancing to Electronica. Smiling as I waited for a taxi in biting wind. Thrilled as I leapt into bed well past midnight. And then the kids woke up at 5:30am. The man and I valiantly took it in turns to nurse sore heads and play doting parents. As I lay starving stretched out on the once-pale cream rug being prodded with lego pieces, I remembered the glimmer of hope in the fridge. Introducing my new secret weapon: K ji. Nanny extraordinaire. Superlative cook. This is the roti-making, cumin seed/mustard seed loving soul I have been waiting for my whole life. (The kids love her too) On Friday, I trialled her very own Capsicum Bhaji recipe - spicy bell peppers sauteed with gram flour, with just a hint of sweet and sour. It took 20 minutes to make. She expertly rolled the rotis and together we stashed the results into the fridge. The keyword here being result! I slowly felt life return as I shoved warm rotis stuffed with K ji's special into my parched mouth. A much needed lie-in or two and I'll be ready for another big night. Maybe. PS = Bheja means brain, and Bhaji means fry. Thank you Sandeepa, for inspiring this post's title!

Slice the peppers and onions into cubes and set aside. In a non stick pan, dry roast the gram flour for about five minutes.

In another non stick pan, bring the oil to heat on high. When it’s hot, add the asafoetida and seeds. As they sizzle up, add the onions, peppers and chilli powder. Now stir the whole lot, mixing the spices and cookign the onions and peppers.

When they have softened, mix in the roasted gram flour, the lemon juice, sugar and salt. A teaspoon of salt should do the trick. Mix the whole lot together until the gram flour is golden throughout. The spoon onto a plate and eat with warm rotis or toasted pitta bread.

One last tip – this rocks even more the next day, so make extra and savour!

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