Monday, April 12, 2010

Versatile Side-dish...Back to the grass-roots of South-Indian Cuisine

Nowadays, most of the side-dishes I prepare...I try to make as versatile as possible. In the sense, that I try to serve them with breads, rice, dosas, idlis, rotis and so on. I find that by making my side-dishes as flexible as possible and switching around the main dish at a couple of meal-times, whether rice or rotis or bread...all the food I prepare is used up much faster rather than sitting in the cool comfort of the refrigerator for a while.

This side-dish I have here is one of that versatile kind...a simple bell-pepper relish also known in Southern India as thokku...this is bell-pepper or capsicum thokku. It is tangy with a hint of sweetness to it...not too spicy either...atleast my version...though you could of course, enhance the spice level by increasing the quantity of spices used. However you make it, I am sure you will continue to repeat this recipe many times over, as I have been doing...very simple and pain-free prep as well. My mother as well as mother-in-law tend to make this same relish or thokku with many different main ingredients like raw green mango or tomatoes or ginger root...they all appeal to me, equally;) I could eat this any time of day with or without a main dish:))

Notes: I used 2 to 3 tsps cooking oil but if you use a a little more oil, the end-product will stay fresh in the refrigerator for over a week.

Recipe for Sweet & Tangy Bell-pepper Relish(Capsicum Thokku):
Serves: 4
Prep/cook time: 20 mins

Ingredients:
Bell-pepper (aka capsicum) - 4 shredded in thin strips(I used the green ones though you could use any other color)
Tomato - 1 or 2 medium size chopped
Onion - 1 medium size chopped
Tamarind pulp - 2 tbsp
Jaggery - crushed 1tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Asafoetida(aka Hing) - a pinch
Fenugreek(Methi) powder - 1 tsp
Coriander(dhania) powder - 1 tbsp
Chilly powder - 1 tsp
Salt - As reqd
Turmeric - 1/4 to 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - a few(optional)
Cooking oil - 2 to 3 tsp(I used gingelly oil that is til oil though any vegetable oil should work fine)

Method:
In a frying pan, add the oil and mustard and when the mustard seeds start to crackle, add the chopped onions.

When the onions start to turn crisp, add the shredded bell-pepper and all the spice powders/seasonings  + salt and let cook for a few minutes.

When the bell-pepper starts to change color and becomes translucent, add the chopped tomatoes and the tamarind pulp and jaggery.

Let the mixture cook uncovered for a few minutes(should take about 7 to 8 mins on a medium flame)...stir every now and then...also add a little water so the mixture does not turn extremely dry...the end-product should be well-combined...the ideal consistency is somewhat curry-like (though not gravy-like).

Finally, garnish with curry leaves. This relish can be served warm or at room temperature with rice, on breads as a spread or with rotis or Indian pancakes like idli or dosa.

Note: Ethnic ingredients for this dish are available at Asian/Indian grocery stores.

25 comments:

  1. This dish sounds lovely spicy and delicious ideal with rotis and parathas.

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  2. Tempting ...delicious. Ideal side dish for tiffin menus. thanks for sharing dear.

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  3. Delicious looking thokku. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Fantastic thokku, looks prefect with rice and rotis..

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  5. Recipe is so nice, love capsicum and its flavour makes any dish more tasty...lovely one

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  6. Hy dear,

    Plz collect your awards from my blog.

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  7. Hey Meena,
    The recipe looks so delicious...

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  8. Meena,

    Thoku looks really yummy.

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  9. Tasty and spicy dish ..love it with rotis or parathas!!

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  10. This thokku is new to me Meena...looks tasty, this must go well with rice...I have bookmarked this one dear...thanks for sharing this :)

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  11. Very Nice Looking Thokku dear.Spicy and great looking .

    Hamaree Rasoi

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  12. spicy and yumm..That makes a lot of sense when you say, you want to cook versatile dishes...lifesavers...

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  13. love the ingredients..really nice and different recipe

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  14. Mouthwatering, looks tempting and delicious.

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  15. capsicum thokku sounds authentic and real good!!!

    love the addition of jaggery in the preparartion!!! I love all thokkus too !!! nice recipe!!

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  16. Capsicum thokku...sounds delicious.

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  17. Delicious side dish! loved the addition of tamarind and jaggery.Thanks for sharing

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  18. I like Indian food so I do enjoy inspirations like this. Thanks :D

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