Capsicum rice or Capsicum baath is something I tasted in Mysore in one of the several feasts which were a part of my cousin’s wedding. This was served on the day after the wedding where just the family members from both the bride’s and the groom’s side gathered for a final farewell. And what a meal it was…the taste of this rice preparation lingered on and on…well after we boarded the train to come back home. Some of them were lucky enough to get a ‘packet’ of this to eat on the journey back.
In a few weeks, I was craving for this dish again. I had a bag of fresh capsicums (green bell peppers) waiting to be made into a Capsicum rice. A word of clarification regarding ‘baath’ – while it is pronounced just as you would the English word ‘bath’. It is a South Indian term for a mixed rice preparation, which can be eaten as it is or with a ‘pachidi’ (raita). The same recipe can be used to make Kathrikkai (Vaangi) Baath by just substituting the capsicums with eggplants. You can try this eggplant millet dish prepared along the lines of the Kathrikkai Bath.
The spices used in this are quite similar to my favourite Bisi Bele Baath recipe blogged by Saakshi, which she says is an authentic Hebbar Iyengar recipe.
Capsicum rice is a perfect showcase of Indian spices
Serves 4-6 people as the first course of the meal, which is concluded by Thair Saadam 🙂
Please do not be afraid of the long list of spices that is going to follow. This recipe is a showcase of nearly a dozen Indian spices. The end result is not at all overwhelming, but a beautiful way of showing how Indian spices blend with each other.
- 1 1/2 cups rice jeera rice or pulao rice variety
- 5 large green bell peppers medium dice
- 1/4 cup peanuts
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsps salt
For Spice Mix
- 1/2 tsp coconut oil
- 4 chillies large dried red
- 2 tbsps chana dal (Split skinned Bengal gram dal)
- 1 tbsp dal udad
- handful coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp black pepper corns whole
- one 4 inchs cinnamon long sticks
- 5 - 6 cloves
- 1 cardamom green
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsps sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup coconut grated (fresh or dried)
- 1 tbsp jaggery (optional)
- 1 tbsp tamarind (soaked in water for 10 minutes)
- To prepare capsicum rice, start with cooking the rice. Pressure cook the picked and washed rice with 3 cups water, for 2-3 whistles. Switch off and cool.
- Preparing the capsicum: In a wok, heat a tbsp of oil. Splutter the mustard and cumin seeds. Add the peanuts. Saute for 2 minutes till they change colour. Then add in the diced capsicum, on a low-medium flame, stir fry till the capsicum is softened but still a little crisp.
- Preparing the spice mix for the capsicum rice :While the capsicum is cooking on a low flame, heat another wok on the other burner. Heat oil and add the spices (red chilli through bay leaves - reserving the coconut and sesame seeds). Continuously saute on a low flame till the dals turn lightly golden and everything begins to release its aroma (around 7 minutes) . Remove and cool.
- In the same wok, lightly toast the grated coconut till fragrant - around 2 minutes. Remove onto the above dish.
- Next toast the sesame seeds. When they start popping (in around 2 minutes), remove them too.
- In a mixer, pulse all the above toasted items along with the soaked tamarind and jaggery, till you get a coarse powder.
- Assembling the baath:In a large deep dish, remove the cooked rice and cool for 10 minutes, separating with a fork if necessary.
- Over this add the capsicum-peanut mix as well as the coarsely powdered spice mix, with adequate salt (around 2 tsp). Toss lightly with clean fingertips, until the rice is uniformly coated with the spices and the vegetable mix. Check for salt and adjust accordingly.