Capsicum Rice - Finely chopped capsicum, sautéed until tender, mildly seasoned and mixed with rice. Simple and quick one pot meal. Perfect for the summer weather when you don't have to fret in the kitchen. It is so light and easy on the stomach. Pair with any spicy side dish to make it wholesome.
The highlight of this dish is that it is not masked by abundant Indian spices. I have kept the flavours simple as I wanted to highlight the capsicum aroma. I have seen that this veggie falls under the category of either you love or hate it. There is no middle. If you are in the latter category, slightly reduce the amount of capsicum. If you love capsicum, then this is a real treat!
Ingredients Required to make Capsicum rice
Rice Variety: Different varieties of rice grains are available in India to make a pulao or any mixed rice variety. Basmati rice is the most common variety used across various Indian cuisines. In the South, 'kalanada sadam', which means mixed rice, is a common lunch menu. We use short grain varieties like jeeraga samba, sona masoori, or Ponni raw rice. In general, any non sticky rice variety, long or short grain works.
Capsicum / Bell Pepper: You can use any variety of bell peppers for making this dish. Though green capsicums are commonly used, red and yellow in combination with green can be used. I suggest not to use the coloured variety separately as the rice may be too sweet for the Indian palate.
Peanuts and Cashewnuts: It is a common practice to include nuts like cashews and peanuts, and lentils like urad dal and channa dal (in south Indian style rice dishes) to give a surprising crunch each bite. It gives a wonderful sensory experience.
Spice and Seasonings: The main variation in capsicum rice comes from the type of spice you use. This dish is so versatile that you can whatever you find in your pantry. Below are few of the varieties that I have tried. As per my personal experience, I would skip using cumin powder or garam masala as the flavour might overpower the flavour of capsicum.
- To make a South Indian style capsicum rice, use kari podi as the flavouring agent. Also add few fennel seeds while doing tadka.
- If you want to make it as a pulav, add cinnamon stick, bay leaf, black cardamom and cloves before adding the onions and skip the ingredients mentioned in tadka.
- A little bit of black pepper powder with one green chilli is another simple variation you can try.
- Substitute white pepper powder instead of black pepper powder for a different taste.
Tips to making the Capsicum rice
- Keep the flavours simple to enhance the flavour of the capsicum.
- Always cook capsicum al dente. If its over cooked it loses its taste. When the capsicum turns translucent, it is the key that the veggies are almost cooked.
- Do not cook capsicum and rice together in a pressure cooker.
- If you don't have basmati rice, you can substitute with any non sticky rice variety.
- Add salt while cooking rice, especially for pulav and rice varieties. It tastes good.
- Always soak basmati rice for sometime to ensure even cooking.
- Adding oil while cooking rice helps in separating the rice grains. The cooked rice will not be sticky.
Capsicum Rice - Finely chopped capsicum, sautéed until tender and seasoned with white pepper powder. Nothing more nothing less. Simple and quick. Perfect for the summer weather when you don't have to fret in the kitchen.
- 1.5 cups jeeraga samba rice
- 1.5 cups water
- Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon ghee or cooking oil
- 2 tablespoons ghee or oil, divided
- ½ cup peanuts or cashews
- 128 grams onion (1 large), finely chopped
- 1 green chilli, slit lengthwise
- 600 grams Capsicum / Bell Peppers (Mix of green, yellow and red) or 2.5 cups finely chopped capsicums
- Salt to taste
- Coriander leaves for garnishing
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
- ¼ teaspoon kasoori Methi, crushed
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- 2 teaspoon pav bhaji masala or any sabzi masala refer notes
- ½ teaspoon white pepper or black pepper powder
Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. Then soak it for about 15 minutes. Drain the water.
In a pressure cooker, add the rice, little salt and 1.5 cup of water. Cook for 10 minutes on medium-high heat. You can also use a pan to cook the rice. It will take more time.
Heat a skillet or kadai, add a teaspoon of oil and fry the cashews or peanuts on medium high heat until they become golden brown. Remove using a slotted spoon. Keep it aside.
- Add the remaining ghee and once they are hot, add cumin seeds and let it splutter.
Then add the chopped onion and green chilli. Sautee until the onions turn translucent. Do not brown them.
- Then add the chopped capsicum and fry until the capsicum become tender to bite. It takes about 10 minutes if they are evenly and finely chopped.
Add salt and the spice seasonings you prefer. Mix well. Cover and cook for a minute for the flavours to mix well.
Finally garnish with coriander leaves and roasted cashews or peanuts or both. Mix well once again and turn off the flame.
Serve with raita or gravy or vadam/fryums or papads.
- The cooking time of rice varies with type, quality, brand and age of the rice.
- For Basmati and Jeeraga samba variety, soaking the rice helps in even cooking of the grains.
- You can substitute the basmati rice for any long grain or short grain rice variety
- Adding oil to the rice keeps the grain separate after cooking.
- Salt enhances the taste of the dish. Just add little.
- Substitute white pepper powder with black pepper powder, if you don't like or don't have it.
- To make a South Indian style capsicum rice, use kari podi as the flavouring agent. Also add few fennel seeds.
- If you want to make it as a pulav, add cinnamon stick, bay leaf, black cardamom and cloves before adding the onions. It gives a different taste to the dish.