Rich in nutrition and colour, the ubiquitous capsicum is part of every favourite dish

Capsicum comes in a variety of colours — red, yellow and green — and is also known as bell pepper. It has many nutritional and medicinal properties and is also an important ingredient for many dishes. Capsicum can be chopped, cut into rings, cubed, blanched, shredded and sliced. It can be used in raw salads, marinated and tossed into pasta and noodles, and in stir-fries. Because they can be hollowed out they are good for stuffing. The rich colours of the vegetable not only enhance its visual appeal but also add flavour to the food.

Here are some easy-to-prepare recipes with capsicum:

Stuffed capsicum

Ingredients

6 medium-sized capsicums

For the stuffing

1 cup crumbled paneer

1/4 cup boiled green peas

1/2 cup grated cheese

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp finely-chopped green chillies

2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

Oil for cooking

Salt to taste

For the gravy

1/2 cup chopped tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped onions

6 pieces of garlic crushed

1/2 inch ginger grated

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp chilli powder

2 tsp fresh cream

Oil for cooking

Salt to taste

Method

Cut the tops of the capsicum and scoop out the centres. In boiling water drop the capsicum and remove after few minutes. Drain and keep aside. Heat oil in a pan and fry cumin seeds for a minute. Add all the stuffing ingredients except cheese and cook for few minutes. Keep aside.

Now combine tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic with little water and cook on a low flame till the tomatoes are soft. Allow to cool completely and blend the mixture to smooth puree. Keep aside. Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. When they crackle add tomato puree mixture, chilli powder, salt and cook for five-10 minutes. Add cream and simmer for one -two minutes. Keep aside. Stuff the capsicum with the stuffing. Arrange them on a greased baking dish. Pour the gravy on top. Garnish with grated cheese. Bake in a hot oven at 200 degree C for 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Capsicum masala

Ingredients

3/4 cup chopped capsicum

1/4 cup boiled mashed potato

1 tsp milk

1/4 cup curd

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp garam masala powder

2 tsp gram flour

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 pieces garlic crushed

Pinch of asafoetida

Oil for cooking

Salt to taste

Method

Combine the potatoes, milk curd, turmeric powder, chilli powder, garam masala, gram flour, salt and half cup water in a dish and mix well to form a smooth mixture. Keep aside. Heat oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds, crushed garlic, asafoetida and fry for one minute. Add chopped capsicum and cook over low flame for few minutes till it is soft. Add the prepared mixture and cook covered over a low flame for five-10 minutes stirring occasionally. Serve hot.

Capsicum pickle

Ingredients

1 kg capsicum

100 gm coriander seeds

100 gm yellow mustard seeds

25 gm of anise

25gm fenugreek seeds

1 cup strained lime juice

Salt to taste

Method

Slit the capsicum into four half-way through. Powder coarsely anise and fenugreek seeds. Mix together lime juice, spices, salt and fill into each capsicum. Put in an airtight jar and set aside for one week.