Mirchi ka Salan, Chili Peppers in a Peanut Sauce
The idea of chili peppers as the star attraction might make you want to throw in the dinner napkin, but just imagine what a dynamite combination these little firestarters make with a creamy, mild peanut sauce. This Mirchi ka Salan is a dish to love, not one to be afraid of. For one, it's really not as spicy as you might assume. And for another, it's mindblowingly delicious, especially when eaten with a biryani or a naan.
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 8 oz shishito peppers (slit from top to bottom and deseeded, if desired. You can use another mild pepper like cubanelle, banana peppers, pepperoncinis etc. but the weight might differ. You need about two cups of peppers at least.)
- ½ cup peanuts
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 tsp poppy seeds
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 inch ginger root
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
- ½ tsp onion seeds (kalonji)
- ½ jalapeno pepper (minced, optional)
- 2 sprigs curry leaves
- 2 level tbsp tamarind concentrate
- 1 cup fried onions (you can make your own but I just use storebought, like French's. Any brand will do just as well)
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- Salt to taste
Make a paste of the cumin, ginger and garlic with a mortar and pestle or in a food processor.
Heat ½ tbsp oil in a wok or skillet. Add the chili peppers and saute over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until brown spots appear. Remove the peppers to a plate and set aside.
To the same wok or skillet, add ½ tbsp oil and add the sesame seeds, poppy seeds and peanuts and saute until the peanuts look glossy and the sesame and poppy start to change color. Remove to a blender and blend into a very smooth paste with the coconut milk. Set aside.
Heat the final remaining 1 tbsp oil in the wok or skillet and add the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and onion seeds, if using. Once the mustard sputters, add the jalapeno, if using, curry leaves and the ginger-garlic-cumin paste. Saute for a minute or two.
Add the turmeric and coriander powder, stir to mix, then add the tamarind concentrate. and the blended sesame-peanut paste. Mix well and saute the paste over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the paste begins to come smoothly off the bottom of the skillet and appears to ooze oil. This should take about 7-8 minutes.
Add 2 cups of water. Mix well, bring to a boil, then add the chili peppers into the sauce. Bring the curry back to a boil and let it simmer for another 5 minutes. If it looks too thick, add more water.
Add salt. Turn off heat and serve hot.
Calories: 265.95kcal | Carbohydrates: 9.85g | Protein: 4.84g | Fat: 24.53g | Saturated Fat: 13.95g | Potassium: 208.17mg | Fiber: 1.91g | Sugar: 0.34g | Vitamin A: 37.78IU | Vitamin C: 16.21mg | Calcium: 57.07mg | Iron: 2.55mg