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.
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 minutes||Cook time : 15 minutes|
|Spice Level : 🌶🌶||Ease Level : 😃|
|Serves 4||Dry Curry / Sides|
- Green bell pepper – 1 medium – chopped into cubes
- Sweet peppers – 5 or 6 – chopped into cubes
- Shallot – 1 – sliced thin
- Grated ginger – 1 teaspoon – optional
- Turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon
- Chili powder – 1 teaspoon
- Chickpea flour – 1/4 cup
- Salt to taste
- Oil as needed
- Cilantro for garnish – optional
- Water – 2 tablespoon
- Powdered Jaggery – 1 teaspoon – optional
For tempering :
- Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
- Cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
- Chana dal – Bengal Gram – 1 teaspoon (optional)
- Asafetida – 1/8 teaspoon – (optional)
- Curry leaves – 4 or 5 – (optional)
How to :
- Heat a skillet on medium high, add a tablespoon of oil and let it heat up.
- 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.
- Next add the shallot, a pinch of salt and the trumeric. Saute until the shallots turn translucent.
- Next add the ginger and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add the chopped peppers, another small sprinkle of salt, mix, cover and let sit for 2 minutes. Turn heat to medium.
- 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.
- Remember that how crispy you want the peppers is completely up to you. Al dente or soft, cook depending on your preference.
- Next add the chickpea flour and mix it up well.
- Sprinkle the 2 tablespoon water which will help the flour stick to the peppers.
- Drizzle another tablespoon of oil if you desire a nice crispy texture to the flour. Else skip the oil.
- 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.
- Remove to serveware, garnish with cilantro and enjoy.
I hope you enjoy this as much ass we did! thank you for stopping by.