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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Aloo Jhol / Aloo - Tamatar ki Jhol

I have eaten this aloo jhol in my sister in law's home a few times, cooked by her husband who happens to be from Uttar Pradesh. I had no idea what it was called then but it turned out to be aloo jhol. Aloo jhol meaning a thin potato gravy has it's origin in Uttar Pradesh and the dish is cooked in the neighboring regions as well. It is one of the popular dishes to pair with pooris in the region and I guess it is their version of potato masala. At first glance, a south Indian style potato masala and this jhol may appear similar because of the ingredients used. However with a couple of extra additions, aloo jhol differs distinctively taste wise from aloo bhaji. 

The dish is quite simple and easy in terms of preparation and uses just the basic ingredients found in any Indian pantry. Garlic can be included in the preparation though it was not added in the version I had eaten before. Add a little amchur / dry mango powder if preferring the curry to be a little tangy. I cooked the curry in a kadai, a small Indian version wok but the final stage of cooking potatoes can be done in a pressure cooker too for a quick version. Or the potatoes can be boiled in a microwave while the onions and tomatoes are getting cooked and then added to hasten the preparation. The consistency of the curry was thinner in my sister in law's place but mine looks thicker as I mashed a few potato pieces since my husband prefers the curry that way.

2 - 3 tsp. oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. ginger paste / finely grated ginger
1 green chilli, chopped
1 big or 2 small onions, chopped fine (I had about 2/3 cup.)
1 tomato, finely chopped (About 1/2 cup)
Turmeric to taste
Salt to taste
2 big sized potatoes (2 heaped cups of cubed potatoes)
Chili powder to taste
1/2 tsp. coriander powder
1/2 tsp. garam masala
Cilantro to garnish

* Heat oil in a pan and ad cumin seeds. When they start to brown add ginger and green chilli. Saute for few seconds and add onion. Cook until onion turns translucent and then add tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes turn mushy.
* Add turmeric, salt, chili powder, roasted coriander powder to the pan and mix well. 
* Next add peeled and cubed potatoes and about 2 cups of water to the pan. Cook on medium flame until the potatoes turn soft. Add  1/4 cup more water if needed at the final stages of the cooking. 
* Finally sprinkle garam masala and stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonigs if needed. Simmer for a couple of minutes more.
* Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve.


Monday, November 4, 2019

Dilli ki Aloo Chaat

This aloo chaat from Vaishali has been on my to do list for a long time as I wanted a local and authentic take on the dish. Aloo chaat is a chatpata snack born on the lanes of  Delhi and obviously aloo or potato plays the key role in this dish. There are variations in this dish, some served with chutneys and some come with the addition of other vegetables and fruits. In this version, the boiled potato cubes are fried on a griddle using a generous amount of oil and then sprinkled with kala chaat masala, a spice mix unique to the city. Vaishali had come up with her own spice mix to mimic this kala chaat masala taste. The quantities were not mentioned in the original recipe as the spice powders can be added to suit one's taste. I made it on a spicier side and used an air fryer to keep the chaat guilt free.

Potatoes, peeled and cubed
Oil to fry
Black salt
Red chili powder
Yellow chili powder
Black pepper powder
Roasted cumin powder
A pinch of powdered sugar
Lemon juice
Tamarind water

* Boil the potato cubes and drain. Fry the potato cubes on a griddle until crisp. (I brushed potato cubes with oil instead and used air fryer to fry potato pieces.)
* Transfer the fried potato cubes to a wide bowl.
* Next mix and add all the spice powders and salt to the fried potatoes, according to taste. Toss the potatoes well to coat.
* Drizzle lemon juice and tamarind water over the potatoes and toss one more time. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.
* Serve immediately.


Sunday, November 3, 2019

Batate Thoy

Batate thoy is a traditional Konkani side dish made with potatoes and is prepared along the lines of a dali thoy recipe. The lentils in the latter is replaced with potatoes here and made into a thin soupy or a rasam consistency. This batate thoy needs only minimal ingredients and there is not even addition of turmeric to make it look vibrant. However in spite of it's dismal looks, batate thoy makes a delicious side dish to go with rice if the dish is kept on a spicier side. 
 It can be loosely dubbed as a potato saaru or rasam though no lentils or any spice powders are used. This thoy comes handy when one runs out of vegetables or looking to make something easy and quick. The potato lends the thickness to this dish though it is kept on a thinner side. The cooked potato can be mashed very finely or coarsely if one wishes to see pieces and bits of potatoes while eating. 
1 big sized potato (About 1 cup cubed potato)
1 tsp. oil
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1 or 2 green chillies
1 or 2 dried red chillies, broken into bits
2 or 3 pinches of asafoetida powder
Few curry leaves
Salt to taste
Cilantro (optional)

* Peel and cube the potato and cook until soft. (I cooked the potato cubes in a microwave adding about 3/4 cup water.)
* Mash the potato cubes without discarding the water used to cook. They can be either mashed finely or crumbled leaving some bits of potatoes as I did.
* Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When they start to sizzle and pop, add chillies and saute for few seconds. Then add asafoetida and curry leaves. 
* Then add the mashed potatoes along with the water used to cook the potatoes and salt. Add some more water to make it thinner, a consistency similar to that of a rasam or thinner soup. (I added about 1 and 1/4 cups of water.)
* Bring the mixture to a boil and lower the heat. Add cilantro leaves if using and simmer for a couple of minutes more and turn off the stove.
* Serve hot with rice.

Saturday, October 19, 2019


Chegodi is a traditional snack item from Andhra cuisine that is shaped like a ring. The Tamilnadu version is called kola vadai. They may also bring to mind a somewhat similar looking snack from the neighboring Karnataka region called kodubale but the resemblance ends there. Chegodilu, the plural for chegodi are made using just plain rice flour with basic seasonings while kodubale is made with combination of rice flour and all purpose flour, which I realized just now that they are not posted yet in my blog. Another version uses peanut powder as well, as shown here which makes them super crunchy and addictive. 
Despite their popularity online, I would say that chegodilu are not frequently prepared anymore at homes compared to other chakli varieties. However they make a great festive or tea time snack and are quite easy to prepare if choosing to make a small batch. There is also a version made with all purpose flour alone. I had tried making chegodilu with jowar flour too but that recipe still needs some tweaking. Chegodilu can be made bigger and thinner than what I have made. Peanut oil is used traditionally to fry these but I used canola oil here. Any flavorless oil works fine. 

Ingredients: (Yield - About 28)
1 cup water
1 cup rice flour
1 tsp cumin seeds and/or carom seeds
Salt to taste
Chili powder to taste
1 tsp. butter / solid ghee or 2 tsp. oil
Oil for deep frying

* Bring water to a boil in a pan and turn off the stove. 
* Meanwhile combine flour, cumin / carom seeds, salt, chili powder and ghee in a mixing bowl. Next add the hot water carefully and mix well with a spoon to combine. Use a ladle if the dough quantity is more. Don't use hands to mix since the water is hot.
Alternatively, the ingredients can be added directly to the hot water pan and mixed. The first method works best when one is used to eye ball the quantities of ingredients rather than working with measuring cups. One can add only as much water as needed to the flour mixture to make a stiff dough.  

* Let the dough come to room temperature or hot enough to handle. Knead the dough to just make sure that it is mixed well once it is safe to handle.
* Heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat. When a small pinch of dough is put into the oil, it must immediately swim to the surface  meaning the oil is at the right temperature to fry. If the dough sinks to the bottom of the pan then the oil needs some more heating. There is no need to bring the oil to a smoking point.
* While the oil is heating, shape some chegodilu. Pinch a marble sized dough and roll into a ball. Shape it into a log of uniform thickness. Bring the edges together and join them to make a ring. Repeat the process with the remaining rings. 
(The logs I made were about 1/2 cm thickness and about 5 inches long. Chegodilu can be made bigger and thinner than mine. Also one can shape only as many rings as needed to fit the frying pan while the rest of the dough can sit covered.) 

* Add the shaped rings to the frying pan and fry on low medium heat, flipping intermittently until it turns golden brown through out.
* Remove the fried chegodilu with a slotted spoon, draining as much oil as possible and transfer them to a plate covered with paper towel. Repeat the process of shaping and frying rings with the remaining dough. Adjust the temperature as needed as you proceed with frying. The temperature may need to be increased between each batch as the temperature of the oil falls down.
* Let them cool and store them in an airtight container. (Mine were gone in one sitting.) 

Friday, October 18, 2019

South Indian Mixture / Chow Chow

This mixture -  a melange of various flavored / textured / sized sevs (chickpea flour based snack), fried thick poha (flattened rice), fried chana dal (Bengal Gram), boondi along with a tempering of peanuts, cashews, curry leaves and turmeric makes a great snack for festive occasions like Diwali to share with some one or just to munch on as an afternoon treat. My medley here is influenced by south Indian style spicy mixtures available back home in every nook and corner and these kind of medleys also go by the name 'chow chow' in some parts of Bangalore which literally means a mixture / medley. It brings to mind the popular breakfast combo from the region which is called chow chow bhath for the same reason since it is a medley of savory khara bhath and the sweet kesari bhath. This can be easily customized according to one's taste preferences. Mixture in the first picture doesn't contain boondi or fried chana dal and the second image is of another variety where they were included. If need those 'khatta meetha' mix kind of flavors, add a pinch of citric acid and powdered sugar as needed and also some toasted raisins. It won't remain south Indian hot and spicy mix kind anymore though. I don't recall exactly but when we were kids, I think the store bought kind used to include fried dal moth as well.
I am not giving the recipe here since I have already posted recipes for sevs, fried poha aka chivda and boondi. Check my 'Snacks' page if looking for these recipes or any other snacks. I usually have sev, fried chana dal and plain boondi on hand and so making this kind of mixture is not a big deal. If starting from scratch, this recipe does demand some time and patience. There is no hard and fast rules about how much quantity of each variety of fried snacks should go into this mix. Combine varieties of plain and spicy sevs, fried thick variety poha, fried boondi (not the sweet kind), fried chana dal and any extra kind if you prefer in a mixing bowl. Heat 2 or 3 tsp. of oil in  a small pan and fry peanuts and / or cashews and curry leaves. Add turmeric before turning off the stove. Add this to the mixing bowl and toss the bowl well and taste the mixture before adding any seasonings. If you think curry leaves are going to be discarded, wait until the tempering cools down and crush the toasted leaves into bits. No one minds eating the flavorful tiny bits of the leaves. Keep in mind that some of the fried stuff like sev / chana dal are already spicy. Add salt as needed and shake the bowl to combine. Add a bit of chili powder or fried dry red chillies only if the mixture needs to be more spicier.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Protein laddu

My parents used to subscribe a variety number of magazines while we were growing up. The subscription also extended to some of the kids' classics like chandamama and balamithra in Telugu versions  which were exclusively for me. Remember this was way before the kids started to glue on to television sets and I was content with my books and the neighborhood friends. Probably in guise, my parents were trying to see if I can pick up reading and writing skills in Telugu which eventually I did though I have never lived In Andhra and besides ended up being a bookworm. Meanwhile, my young and energetic mother would try the recipes from those magazines which caught her attention. Nowadays she sticks mostly to tedious, tried and tested traditional kind of snacks / sweets when it comes to festivals which I don't even dare to try. 

Nowadays she has this habit of noting down making my father note down any interesting and easy recipes that she come across on cooking shows or any magazines. It is done, keeping me in my mind as she knows that I like to try new dishes as long as they are easy and quick ones. This laddu recipe was one among the bunch that came from her a while ago. I tried a couple and this laddu was surely a winner in terms of taste and nutrition though they look rustic. They faintly reminded me of sunnundalu which are dear to me. I don't need to go on singing the virtues of these laddus as the ingredients speak for themselves. My daughter who doesn't like sweets in general had liked these and that is surely a winner recipe to me. As far I go, I am unable to stop myself from popping one into my mouth every time I am near the laddu container. 😋 Try these easy, yummy laddus for this Diwali and I promise that you wouldn't be disappointed.

I tried a small portion of the recipe and still got about 16 standard size laddus. The new peanut packet was misplaced and had only a handful in the bottle which filled up to 3/4th of a 1/4 cup measuring cup. I therefore measured my ingredients based on that but interchanging quantities slightly shouldn't affect the final product. If one is confused with the measurements I have provided, just use one measure each of lentils, peanuts and nuts and double the flours' measurements. Use jaggrey and ghee accordingly.  Also I need to mention that the jaggery I used was a sweeter variety and the laddus were sweeter with the amount of jaggery I used. One may need to adjust the jaggery quantity since the amount of jaggery used in the recipe depends upon the sweetness of the jaggery being used and the preferred sweetness of laddus. 

Ingredients: (Yield - 16 laddus)
3 tbsp. moong lentils (yellow moong dal) 
3 tbsp. black lentils (urad dal with husk)  
3 tbsp. peanuts 
3 tbsp. almonds
3 tbsp. cashews (I replaced half with pistachios.)
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. wheat flour
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. finger millet flour / ragi flour
1 and 1/4 cup powdered jaggery
4 - 5 tbsp. melted ghee
* Toast lentils in a pan individually on low flame until moong starts to turn slightly reddish and the black lentils start to change their color as well. Transfer them onto a plate.
* Next toast almonds and cashews individually. Transfer them to the lentils' plate.  
* Next add peanuts and toast on low flame until done. Let them cool and rub between your palms to remove the skin. Or for a quicker version, toast them in a microwave as I did. It takes around 3 to 4 minutes in a microwave to roast this small quantity but giving one or two intermittent breaks is recommended to avoid them from burning. This step can be avoided if using toasted and skinned peanuts.
* Toast flours individually on low flame until they start to change color slightly. I toasted them without adding any ghee but if preferred, it can be done so. 
* Let all the toasted ingredients come to room temperature.
* First the lentils need to be ground since they take longer than the rest of the ingredients. We like to keep our sunnundalu a tiny bit coarser and so I opted to do the same here as well. They can be ground very fine if one chooses to do so. It depends upon one's preference how the texture of these laddus should be. (I did use my blender for this part and continued the next steps in my food processor.)
* Next finely grind peanuts and the other nuts that are being used. Add the flours at the end and just pulse to combine.
* Finally add the ground jaggery and run the blender / food processor until the mixture is combined well.

* Transfer the mixture to a wide plate and run your hand through the mixture and break any lumps if present.

* Add ghee in increments to the mixture and keep working it into the dough. 

* Mix well so that ghee uniformly coats the mixture. Stop adding ghee when a small portion of the mixture can be easily shaped into a ball without breaking. (Initially about 3 tbsp. of ghee can be added and then the rest in increments and as needed. Mostly 1/4 cup should be enough.) 
* Make lemon sized balls out of the mixture and store in an airtight container. 


Saturday, October 12, 2019

Bandh Samosa / Bun Samosa

I had prepared this dish to be a part of the regional snacks for the 'Indian Sweets and Snacks' themed September marathon but held onto it once I saw this month's blogging marathon theme of 'stuffed dishes'. This bun samosa seems to be a signature street food dish of  Kasauli, a hilly town in the north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. I came across this recipe when my husband was browsing through a YouTube video featuring street food from the region and the snack seemed to be right in our alley. We love samosa chaat and this bun is a part of that chaat wrapped in a toasted bun. What can go wrong with that, right? And so I got some buns and samosas from the store immediately and tried these delicious samosa buns. 

The shopkeeper in the video was selling these jamun buns as well to our surprise. He mentioned in the video that decades ago, a south Indian customer requested him to make that bun after giving him the directions for the recipe. He has been selling jamun buns ever since and the other shoppers have also caught on and now jamun bun has become a hot commodity along with bun samosas. My brother in law's family lived in Kasauli during 80's for a considerable amount of time and so we even wondered for a moment whether my brother in law was that customer by any chance since we haven't heard jamun buns outside of my husband's hometown. 😀

These mess free buns make a lip smacking snack or a mini meal on it's own. If one loves samosa chaat as we do, then this bun is for you. In this bun preparation, samosa, chole and the green and sweet chutneys all go inside a bun and then the bun is toasted using a generous amount of butter. For the uninitiated, samosas are a deep fried pastry with a spicy potato and pea filling while chole is the spicy chickpea curry where as the chutneys are the standard flavor boosters in most of the chaat items, a major portion of the Indian street food. Bun samosa is therefore also called as bundh samosa as the stuffing is encased inside the bun. The word 'bundh / bandh' means closed in Hindi. I used store bought buns, samosa and sweet chutney which makes the preparation relatively quicker and easier than starting from scratch.

4 burger style buns 
Green chutney as needed
Sweet chutney as needed
4 samosas
About 1 cup chole masala
2 tbsp. butter
* I opened the burger bun for pictures sake but the buns can be cut open only slightly and the samosa and curry can be stuffed as in a pocket. Spread green and sweet chutneys liberally on one side of the bun.
* Slightly mash a samosa and place it over the chutney side.

* Pour over a ladeful (about 1/4 cup or as needed) of chole curry. I made it slightly thicker but the consistency of the curry can be like the regular one.
* Cover it with the other side of the bun.
* Heat a griddle and melt a little butter over it. Place the bun over the griddle and toast until golden brown on both sides. Repeat the stuffing and toasting parts with the remaining buns. Serve them immediately.

This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon #105 under 'Stuffed Dishes - Buns' theme. Check what other marathoners are cooking, clicking at the link.


Friday, October 11, 2019

Stuffed Idlis / Sandwich idli

I cooked and clicked three dishes in advance for this week's  'Stuffed dishes' theme only to toss them away and cook something else again this week. That's what I do somehow when I plan ahead and so I blissfully keep procrastinating most of the time. 😉 These stuffed idlis are replacing the momos I prepared earlier under stuffed dumpling category.

My husband recently watched a television cook show where the chef used the ubiquitous and the popular Indian potato curry as stuffing in some unusual dishes. He suggested to try them out only to get a negative response from me. Later I was mentioning the incident to my mother who also started wondering who in the world enjoys those dishes. Then the topic moved to these stuffed idlis and I felt the inclination to try these for the first time though I have seen other stuffed idli versions before.

I had prepared potato curry a couple of days ago and coincidentally I happened to have some idli batter on hand as well. And these idlis happened on a whim during our lunch time though lunch was already on the table. See how crazy we bloggers sound? 😀 I was not even thinking about blogging these this week but still took some pictures in case. 

The potato curry used for stuffing needs to be a dry preparation and the recipe can be found here. I have used idli batter made with idli rice and skinned black gram aka urad dal but any idli batter of one's choice can be used here. The idli moulds are filled with the batter up to half, a small portion of curry is placed at the center and batter is poured over it to cover and then steamed, resulting in a idli, stuffed with spicy potato curry giving the bland idlis a delicious touch. This can make a mess free snack / lunch box item for little ones without the need of any side dishes. If serving adults, keep the curry on a spicier side, spicier than one usually prefers to balance the blandness of idlis. Otherwise the taste of the idlis would be mediocre. Also serve it along with some coconut chutney or sambhar to make it more enjoyable. 

Fermented idli batter
Potato curry
Ghee / Oil to grease idli plates

* Heat water in a steamer or a idli cooker or a cooker base. 
* Grease the idli moulds. Pour batter into a mould, filling only up to half of it. Take a big lemon sized portion of curry and gently pat into a disc shape. Place it at the center of the mould and pour extra batter over it, enough to fill the mould. (More curry can be stuffed than shown in the picture.)

* Repeat the steps with the remaining batter and the curry.
* Place the idli stand in the steamer, cover the lid and cook on low flame until done. If using cooker, don't put on the whistle. Add extra water to the steamer if water evaporates in the middle of steaming, taking care not to pour over the cooking idlis. One way to figure out if the idlis are done is to touch the idlis with moist fingers. If they don't stick then idlis are done. If they are sticking then they need more steaming. (I usually steam for about 20 minutes on low flame while making idlis.)
* Turn off the stove and let them sit for about 5 - 10 minutes before removing them from moulds.
* Enjoy the stuffed idlis with chutney and/or sambhar.

This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon #105 under 'Stuffed Dishes - Dumplings' theme. Check what other marathoners are cooking, clicking at the link.


Thursday, October 10, 2019

Senagapindi Gutti Vankaya Koora / Eggplants Stuffed With Chickpea Flour

Stuffed vegetable preparations are relished across India and some vegetables like eggplants, bitter gourds and capsicum are the preferred choices when it comes to these kind of dishes. Today's version is for eggplant lovers. Stuffed eggplant preparations are called gutti vankaya koora in the states of Andhra and Telangana. A gutti literally means a bouquet, vankaya being eggplant and koora is curry / subzi in Telugu language. The 'tti' sound in the word gutti is pronounced as 'thi' as in 'thick' with a stress. The 'vanka' in vankaya rhymes with lanka as in Sri Lanka. Gutti vankaya koora comes both in dry and gravy versions. A typical dry version is prepared in the way I have given below but there are several stuffing choices one can choose from, making this curry a versatile one. 

Also some versions use up all the stuffing mixture to stuff into eggplants with no extra powder left unlike my version. In that case, the eggplants may need a little sprinkling of salt at the end. I added about a tsp. of super spicy chilli powder in the recipe which is perfect for people like my husband who eat very spicy food. People who prefer it to be less spicy need to adjust the quantity as needed. The extra stuffing mixture added to the curry at the final stages makes the curry delicious and keeps it on a spicier side.

My mother's kitchen is a onion - garlic free zone and so, she prepares dry gutti vankaya versions or simple eggplant curries throwing in curry leaves and coconut, the typical south Indian way. Today's version used to be a common preparation in my both grand mothers' kitchens and still is a regular one in my mother's and aunt's places. It is by far the simplest preparation I have seen when it comes to preparing the stuffing - no toasting, no grinding and no cooking involved. You just mix chickpea flour / senagapindi, salt and chili powder and use it as a stuffing. My mother follows her mother and uses an iron kadai / wok to prepare curries like these and so at the final stages, the left over stuffing mixture is fried to the point where it looks like it got accidentally burnt. My mother was telling me that she prepares it so since she grew up enjoying the curry made that way by her mother. The powder looks  black though it doesn't taste like burnt powder. We used to relish that powder alone with some hot rice and ghee when we were kids. My paternal grand mother used to fry it only until it turned reddish like I did. Apart from what color the remaining stuffing mixture is fried to, the recipe is same in both my mother and father's side of the families. Even little kids who cannot eat the stuffed eggplants can enjoy the fried stuffing mixture alone with rice and ghee.

4 small sized eggplants
2 Tbsp. oil 
Ingredients for stuffing:
1/4 cup chickpea flour / senagapindi
Salt to taste
1/2 to 3/4 tsp. spicy variety chili powder (or to taste)
1 tbsp. oil (optional)

Sieve chickpea flour into a bowl and add the remaining stuffing ingredients. Mix well to combine.
* Wash eggplants and wipe them dry. I haven't removed the stalks here but they can be cut off if preferred. Keeping the base (the stalk side) intact, make two cuts in each eggplant vertically from the opposite side, making a + shape. In case the stalks are removed, make the  '+' cut from that side. Fill them with the chickpea flour mixture as shown. You can fill as much as the eggplants can hold without spilling. If the filling gets spilled over the surface of the eggplant, wipe it clean.

* Heat a pan and add oil. Drop the eggplants carefully. Rotate each eggplant in the oil holding the stalk so that they are coated well with oil.
* Lower the flame, cover and let it cook until all the eggplants are done. Keep rotating the eggplants in between for uniform cooking. By this time, the eggplants loose their color and are tender to touch. Sprinkle a little salt over eggplants only if needed.

* When they are done, transfer the eggplants onto a plate. Add the remaining stuffing mixture and cook on low medium flame. The little oil present in the pan would be enough to fry the mixture and in case, one can add a tsp. extra if preferred. This powder when fried should be on a dry side. 

* Keep stirring until it starts to change the color, about 5 minutes or so. 

* Add the eggplants back to the pan and gently mix.

* Remove and serve one or two eggplants along with the chickpea flour mixture in each plate, with warm rice and ghee.

This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon #105 under 'Stuffed Dishes - Vegetables' theme. Check what other marathoners are cooking, clicking at the link.


Saturday, October 5, 2019

Capsicum Gravy Curry

The final dish of the week under the theme 'easy side dishes' is this yummy curry where capsicum is cooked in a spicy, flavorful gravy made with peanuts and sesame seeds. This gravy happens to be my personal favorite and can be used as a base for other vegetables as well. The base is perfect without being nauseatingly cloying and the powder can be prepared in advance. The peanut and sesame seeds combo add body to the gravy and tastes rich without the addition of any cashews / nuts or cream which happen to be a constant presence in such gravies. 

2 to 3 tsp. oil
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 big onion, finely chopped / 1/2 cup minced onion
1 big or 2 small tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 inch ginger piece
1 green chili, finely minced
A pinch of turmeric powder
1 big sized capsicum (I had slightly more than 1 cup chopped capsicum.)
Salt to taste
Chili powder to taste
A pinch of sugar //stevia (optional)
3/4 cup water or as needed
Ingredients for the paste:
1/2 tsp. coriander seeds
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. white sesame seeds
1/4 cup toasted and skinned peanuts

1. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When the mustard seeds start to splutter, add onions and saute on low heat until they start to brown.
2. Mean while, toast coriander seeds, cumin seeds and sesame seeds together and saute until the coriander seeds start to change a shade of color. Transfer them to a plate and let them cool. If not using pre-toasted peanuts, place them in a microwave safe bowl and toast for 5 to 6 minutes, giving short breaks in between to avoid burning. Or toast on stove-top in a pan on low flame. Let them cool and rub between your palms and remove the skins. Grind all the ingredients together to a fine powder.
3. Grind tomatoes, ginger and green chilli in a blender. If not able to run the blender, use a little quantity of water to grind.
4. Add the above tomato paste and turmeric to the onion pan and cook until it slightly thickens.
5. Next add capsicum pieces and salt. Cook until capsicum is almost done. 
6. Add the peanut mixture powder from step 2, chili powder, sugar if using and water. 
7. Continue to cook on low flame stirring intermittently. Taste and adjust any seasonings if needed. Also adjust the water quantity if needed to form a gravy with consistency on a slightly thicker side. Cook until the gravy thickens, about 6 - 8 minutes.
8. Serve it hot with rotis / phulkas.