In the heart of Maharashtra, where flavours dance in harmony with spice, there exists a culinary masterpiece that tantalises our taste buds and showcases the diversity of regional cuisine. Meet the delectable ‘Peeth Payroon Dhobli Mirchi Chi Bhaji’, a dish that not only reflects the vibrant spirit of Maharashtra but also celebrates its rich and diverse culinary heritage.
‘Peeth payroon’ means ‘coated with flour’ and ‘dhobli mirchi chi bhaji’ means ‘stir-fried green peppers’. So this dish is essentially a stir fry of green peppers or capsicum or bell peppers, coated with besan or gram flour. The green peppers used can be mild like we get in Europe or ever so slightly spicy as found in India. The dish works wonderfully with both types of pepper.
And since the fresh green peppers offer a gentle warmth, the art here lies in achieving the perfect balance, where the inherent flavour of these peppers is not masked by overpowering spices. So in my recipe, this dish is kept fairly minimalistic and simple.
Which type of green peppers should I use for this stir fry?
The best green peppers you can use in this dish are the ones you grow in your own garden. I tend to grow them in the warmer months in the UK from May through to mid-September. Homegrown produce has the best flavour and you know that it is pesticide and chemical-free if grown organically.
But, green peppers are easily available in supermarkets in the UK. Try to pick ones which are not too big or with thick flesh. The smaller the pepper the denser its flavour. So go for quality rather than size.
Personally, I don’t have strong opinions about including seeds in most vegetables. As an advocate of low-waste cooking, I tend to happily include them where suitable. The seeds have flavour and a lovely bite to them. However, if they’ve turned brown please discard them. So including seeds in this stir fry is one’s personal preference.
How does this stir-fry taste?
‘Peeth payroon’ which translates to ‘gram flour’, is the secret ingredient that transforms the peppers into a flavourful symphony. The gram flour along with roasted ground peanuts releases a nutty aroma that’s both comforting and inviting. The blend forms a velvety coating that envelops chopped green peppers, creating a harmonious balance of flavour and textures. The mild heat of peppers, tempered with the earthy notes of gram flour, is further enhanced by a medley of spices but since they’re only added sparingly, they wonderfully complement the inherent warmth of green peppers. Turmeric adds its sunny hue, while cumin seeds and asafoetida contribute their own distinctive flavours. It’s a symphony of flavours where each ingredient plays its part. In my recipe, contrary to the norms (as I am inclined to bend the rules) I also add some juicy cherry tomatoes. They lend a mild acidity as well as sweetness to what is, otherwise, a somewhat dry dish. Simply morsel it up wrapped in a hot chapati and chomp it down whilst it’s still hot. You’ll be in seventh heaven whilst still on earth!!
But the magic of “Peeth Perun Dhobli Mirchi Chi Bhaji” doesn’t end with its taste. It’s a journey through time and tradition, a dish that has been lovingly prepared in Maharashtra’s kitchens for generations. It embodies the warmth of home-cooked food and the spirit of sharing. So every household has their own variation of this dish in Maharashtra.
How should I make this green pepper stir fry?
First, wash the peppers, pat dry and chop them into medium-sized chunks. Over a medium flame, make a tempering of cumin seeds and toss in the chopped peppers until they’re lightly fried in oil.
Next, add turmeric and chilli powder followed by asafoetida. Toss in a few chopped cherry tomatoes and fry for a couple of minutes before cooking under a lid for another 2-3 minutes.
Add roasted ground peanut and gram flour and mix well. I like to add besan or gram flour towards the end once the pepper is par-cooked to avoid overcooking the flour and making the dish too dry. Cook covered for another 2-3 minutes until the flour-coated peppers are cooked just beyond al dente. Season with salt. Garnish with coriander and serve hot.
- Green peppers/ green bell peppers/ capsicum / Shimla mirch / dhobli mirchi/ bhopli mirchi – can be easily sourced from any Asian fruit and vegetable store as well as any supermarket in the UK. If you’re lucky enough to have warm weather you can even grow them in your garden.
- Cold-pressed rapeseed oil – this has become my favourite neutral flavoured oil, especially for Indian dishes. Having a reasonably high smoke point it’s suitable for frying at high temperatures. It also scores well nutritionally due to a high unsaturated fat content as well as being low in both saturated fats and aldehydes which can form cancer-causing compounds when heated. Another benefit for me is that it is locally produced in the UK, with its bright yellow flowers creating a spectacular display across the fields of southern England every summer. Look for cold-pressed on the label; this means that the oil has been extracted naturally from the seeds. Some mass-produced rapeseed oils are extracted using solvents, some are even bleached.
- Gram flour/chickpea flour/ besan – this can be easily found in any Indian grocery store as well as many supermarkets in the UK. I usually go with either the Natco or TRS brand.
- Cumin seeds, asafoetida, turmeric powder, chilli powder
- Roasted ground peanut – I have shared the recipe to make a stash of this peanut goodness at home. You will need whole peanuts with skin on for the recipe. Alternatively, you could grind the salted peanuts you get in supermarkets.
- Cherry tomatoes – preferably from your garden in season. Failing that, from the supermarket.
How to store peeth payroon dhobli mirchi bhi bhaji?
This dish is best enjoyed and served hot. But you can also refrigerate it for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
Can I cook this stir fry with yellow, red and orange pepper?
Green peppers have a lovely warm and spicy flavour which works well with besan. So it’s best to cook this stir fry with green peppers only.
This green pepper stir fry is:
- vegan and gluten-free
- a great source of vitamin C, vitamin K and antioxidants which help in improving bone density, immunity and reduces the risk of skin cancer.
- comes together in under 30 minutes
- tastes delicious with chapati or roti.
Green Peppers And Gram Flour stir fry / Peeth Payroon Dhobli Mirchi / Peeth Perun Bhopli MirchiCourse: MainCuisine: MaharashtrianDifficulty: Easy
200g, 2 green peppers/capsicum/Shimla mirch/dhobli mirchi (washed, pat dried and chopped)
2 tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil
½ tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp asafoetida
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1½ tbsp besan or gram flour
1 tbsp roasted ground peanut
3 cherry tomatoes (chopped)
10g chopped coriander for garnish
Salt to taste
- In a karahi over a low to medium flame, heat the oil. Once hot, crackle the cumin seeds.
- Toss in the chopped green peppers and fry for a couple of minutes.
- Add the asafoetida, turmeric and chilli powder and mix well for a minute.
- Stir in the chopped tomatoes and mix well for another minute or so.
- Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until the oil starts separating from the tomatoes. Take care not to burn the peppers and spices.
- Stir in the roasted ground peanut along with the besan and cook covered for another 2 minutes over a low to medium flame ensuring the flour doesn’t burn.
- Season with salt. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot with warm chapatis.
- You can choose any cooking oil you like. The benefits of cold-pressed rapeseed oil are mentioned above. You can use sunflower oil in its absence.
- You can also add mustard seeds instead of cumin seeds in this stir-fry. I like both. So feel free to use either.
- Ensure the spices and the peppers don’t burn whilst frying before adding tomatoes. So cook them over a low flame and add a tablespoon of water if needed.
- Ensure the besan doesn’t burn. Part of the reason for adding it towards the end of cooking is so that the besan is toasted well enough without getting burnt.
- IMO tomatoes serve a great purpose by adding a little moisture and tanginess to the dish. However, feel free to skip them, if you prefer.
- If using a steel karahi, ensure the spices and the flour don’t get burnt. To prevent any charring, cover the karahi with a steel plate filled with water whilst cooking.