Capsicum Rice
This is a South Indian version of a Bell Pepper Pulao / Pilaf. A burst of aroma is the characteristic of this dish, from the freshly toasted and ground spices. Try this with plain yogurt or raita.
Servings Prep Time
4serving 15minutes
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
4serving 15minutes
Cook Time
For Spice Mix
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. In the same wok, lightly toast the grated coconut till fragrant – around 2 minutes. Remove onto the above dish.
  5. Next toast the sesame seeds. When they start popping (in around 2 minutes), remove them too.
  6. In a mixer, pulse all the above toasted items along with the soaked tamarind and jaggery, till you get a coarse powder.
  7. Assembling the baath:In a large deep dish, remove the cooked rice and cool for 10 minutes, separating with a fork if necessary.
  8. 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.
Recipe Notes


This is best prepared 3-4 hours in advance of the meal, as the flavours are at their very best after few hours of sitting around.

Our accompanying raita was made from golden pumpkin, finely chopped, microwave cooked, mashed and mixed with yogurt and a standard mustard-curry leaf tempering. You can also do a ripe-banana raita or a simple cucumber raita. Take care to keep the raita simple and spice-free as the rice is already brimming with spices.



Next and final course was Thair Saadam, which needs no introduction to any Indian. The quintessential yogurt and rice without which no traditional meal ends in Tamil-land. For a daily meal, rice and yogurt are mixed with deft fingers and eaten with a pickle or sambar (if leftover from the first course). On some special days, yogurt rice is brought pre-mixed to the table with a delicate tempering.

I used half broken wheat and half rice for this preparation today (no special reason). Mash with plenty of yogurt (half milk and half yogurt if you are going to leave it out to sour, or lots of milk and tiny bit of yogurt if it is going to be consumed after several hours as the milk will set to curd along with the rice, and our Tamil grannies know how to time this to perfection).

Season with salt.

In a tadka ladle or small wok, heat a tsp of oil. Add bits of minced green chillies, bits of minced fresh ginger, mustard seeds, curry leaves and a pinch of asafoetida. Turn over into the yogurt rice. Give a stir.

Serve chilled with your favourite pickle. (My current favourite is Tomato Thokku from Grand Sweets)

Lunch Series so far

Day 1 – Vengaya Sambar, Vendakkai curry, Potato Roast

Day 2 – Peerkangai thuvaiyal, Red Chauli

Day 3 – Keerai Milagoottal, Cabbage curry

Day 4 – Capsicum Baath, Pumpkin pachidi, Thair saadam