Sweet Pepper Zunka

Sweet Pepper Fry in Spiced Chickpea flour

I had a bit of a dilemma naming this dish because it is equal parts sweet peppers and green bell pepper. But in the end settled with sweet peppers because I felt the dish highlighted the touch of sweetness in it. Sweetness from the peppers and from the jaggery I added in the end. Hence calling it Sweet Pepper Zunka!! Remember it is not overtly sweet and you can completely skip the jaggery/sugar and make it as spicy as you like as well.

What is a Zunka ? The zunka has its origin in the Maharashtra / North Karnataka / Goa regions of Western India. The predominant ingredient is the chickpea flour / besan / kadalai maavu. Other tempering ingredients include onions, ginger, garlic and green chilis. Usually no vegetables are added, but I learnt this recipe from a Marathi friend and absolutely loved how well it worked with peppers. I have made it with Scallions, Cabbage and even Okra….works really well.

Usually served with roti or bhakri, the zunka can be paired with any main dish of your choice.

We ate this zunka with a very traditional South Indian tamarind stew called – vathhal kuzhambu. This is one of my favorite combos! Vathhal kuzhambu, steamed white rice and this Zunka ! Yum !! West meets South and it is a match made in food heaven.

I usually toast some chickpea flour in a hot skillet and store it in my pantry to use in varied dishes. It is a great thickening agent as well and helps crisp up dry curries like okra, eggplant, potatoes, etc.,. The reason I toast it is because sometimes it can leave a raw, unpleasant flavor if we don’t cook it thoroughly. Completely optional.

This is how I make Zunka, it is not the traditional style. But I can vouch for the yumminess quotient !! I used coconut oil this time and it definitely added to the umami of this dish…FYI:).

Recipe : Sweet Pepper Zunka

Prep Time : 10 minutesCook time : 15 minutes
Spice Level : 🌶🌶Ease Level : 😃
Serves 4 Dry Curry / Sides

Ingredients :

  1. Green bell pepper – 1 medium – chopped into cubes
  2. Sweet peppers – 5 or 6 – chopped into cubes
  3. Shallot – 1 – sliced thin
  4. Grated ginger – 1 teaspoon – optional
  5. Turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon
  6. Chili powder – 1 teaspoon
  7. Chickpea flour – 1/4 cup
  8. Salt to taste
  9. Oil as needed
  10. Cilantro for garnish – optional
  11. Water – 2 tablespoon
  12. Powdered Jaggery – 1 teaspoon – optional

For tempering :

  1. Oil
  2. Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
  3. Cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  4. Chana dal – Bengal Gram – 1 teaspoon (optional)
  5. Asafetida – 1/8 teaspoon – (optional)
  6. Curry leaves – 4 or 5 – (optional)

How to :

  1. Heat a skillet on medium high, add a tablespoon of oil and let it heat up.
  2. Once the oil heats up, add the mustard seeds, let it crackle. Then add the cumin seeds, chana dal, asafetida and curry leaves. Let the dal turn golden brown.
  3. Next add the shallot, a pinch of salt and the trumeric. Saute until the shallots turn translucent.
  4. Next add the ginger and saute for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the chopped peppers, another small sprinkle of salt, mix, cover and let sit for 2 minutes. Turn heat to medium.
  6. After 2 minutes, open the lid, stir it once and the chili powder. No need to cover it hereon. Let it cook for another minute.
  7. Remember that how crispy you want the peppers is completely up to you. Al dente or soft, cook depending on your preference.
  8. Next add the chickpea flour and mix it up well.
  9. Sprinkle the 2 tablespoon water which will help the flour stick to the peppers.
  10. Drizzle another tablespoon of oil if you desire a nice crispy texture to the flour. Else skip the oil.
  11. Check for salt and add the jaggery if using now. Let it cook for another 2 or 3 minutes until the flour looks well cooked, well coated and no raw smell is left.
  12. Remove to serveware, garnish with cilantro and enjoy.

I hope you enjoy this as much ass we did! thank you for stopping by.

5 thoughts on “Sweet Pepper Zunka

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