Thursday, November 15, 2007

Perun Bhaji or Bell peppers with besan

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Fate and the fact that Fall is almost over gave me a cold, dreary day. To be kind it also gave me colourful red, yellow and green bell peppers. Not that you don’t get them other time of the year but it is always nice to associate winter with colourful veggies and you need to thank Fate once in a while.

And then Fate conspired with Farah Khan to give the likes of me, (which might go up to millions) “Om Shanti Om”. It also put me in a spot where I can act like a true NRI and show my love for “Desh ki Dharti” and contribute towards upping my country’s economy by watching Bollywood Blockbusters on big screens with 100 other Desi Uncles and Aunties who were as mesmerized by SRK’s six packs as was Moi.

Truth be told I loved the movie. Ok, given that I get to watch hardly 2 movies a year, I love any movie, but this I loved the "bestest".

My sense of humor being fed on MTV stalwarts like Cyrus, Udham Singh, Quick Gun Murugan, MTV Bakra and such is definitely not very refined. I love gags and spoofs and more brainless they are the better. I do not do smiles where you just curl up the end of your lips, I want laughs that are on high octane, where you can slap your buddy on the back and throw your head back, sideways and do everything short of ROTFL (Rolling on the thanks that I can’t do). This movie let me do most of that and the lines were replete with my kind of pun which the D does not get. He understood all the humor in this movie though…strange…maybe he is just ageing and getting hang of Bollywood.

And if you have low esteem for all things Bollywood and SRK, I forgive you. You are a young Indian with a fad for all things Intellectual or an older one like the D who still wants to hold on to the previous image, we have all been through that phase and turned up our snooty noses and watched Bergman over Barjatiya, before long you will be on this side of the camp.

The fact that my Dad who tagged everything beyond Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen and Amitabh Bachchan as “baje cinema” (baje = bad) is a fan of Govinda at his current age (no, he is NOT senile, only in his early sixties) proves the above theory.

Let me add in fine prints though, I am not a blind follower of Bollywood and do not like anything they dish out. So do not put Bollywood related Google Ads on my page and please don't ask me to watch "Sawariya" and such

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Not to forget the Red, Yellow & Green Bell Peppers in this ensuing Bollywood drama.

With them I made Perun Bhaji or Bell Peppers with Besan. I know it is a Maharashtrian dish but I don’t know if this is the actual name, but I loved the feel of the name on my tongue so much that I now call it this. Actually I just utter the name even if I am not cooking it.
I first saw it at SJ’s and then at Lakshmi’s. Combined the two recipes and made the third.

As is the norm, I do not have measures. The ones I give here are very very approximate.


Perun Bhaji

What You Need

Bell Peppers/ capsicum ~ 4 chopped in small pieces
Besan/Chickpea Flour ~ 1 cup
Red Chilli Powder ~ 1 loosely packed tsp (adjust according to your heat level)
Dhania/Corriander powder ~ 1 tsp heaped
Amchur Powder ~ ½ tsp

For tempering

Kalonji/Kalo jeera/ Nigella Seeds ~ 1 loosely packed tsp
Hing/Asafoetida ~ ½ tsp

Oil ~ for cooking. I have used Olive Oil and also Canola at times
Salt ~ to taste
Sugar ~ 1 loosely packed tsp (totally optional)

How I Did It


Chop the bell peppers in small pieces
In a bowl add besan/chickpea flour and to it add the r.chilli, coriander, amchur powder and make a dry mix. No water


Heat Oil in a Kadhai/Frying Pan

Temper with Kalonji and Hing

Add the Bell Pepper Pieces and sauté. Cover and cook till they are soft

Add the besan (mixed with the spices) to the capsicum cooking in the Kadhai.

Stir pretty vigorously to mix the besan with the veggie

Sprinkle a little water if necessary or add a little oil on the sides of the Kadhai. This is only if you think the besan is sticking to the sides of the Kadhai.

Add salt & sugar

Do the stir, cook routine till the besan takes on a crumbly texture and the bell peppers are cooked

Trivia: Bell peppers are a great source of vitamin C. Green bell peppers have two times the vitamin C by weight than citrus fruits (oranges, lemons etc.) and Red bell peppers have three times what the green bell varieties have


  1. This looks lovely!!! and quite simple to make too... thanx

  2. bollywood is funny? never heard that one before. actually one really funny movie i can think of is pushpak. but yeah, i'm one of those snobs who hates bollywood.

    peeth perun bhaji is wonderful.

  3. i have eaten this bhaji in my college..then i came home and tried to recreate..which was an utter gave up on it..i will try it again..coz it looks so husband is a damn snob too...i call him desh-drohi ;)

  4. Very nice and new recipe of bell peppers with besan.....really its very nice recipe. Thanks for sharing.:))

  5. OSO was humorous, I liked it to some extent and I was an SRK fan once upon a time but he is acting little bit too much these days. The Manoj Kumar bit was just too much, whatever it is, he was a great actor and there was no need to make fun of him. The South Indian film shooting part was hilarious :D.

    As far as Saawariya is concerned..the movie was damn boring, sets were unrealistic but Ranbir Kapoor is simply superb. He can act, dance very well and looks very good. The end of saawariya was the worst part, that made me mad about the whole movie :(.

    Have you watched Chak de?? It was great. I would give that movie the best movie of the year award :D

  6. ahem... I am the last person on earth you would call intellectual, (hey, my all time favorite movie is Dude, Where is my car... ) but I can't stand bollywood... And SRK has a six pack?? wow, I really need to rent me some dvds...

  7. I know this dish - have made it earlier. Am waiting to see OSO, but don't really care for those Mick Jagger looks SRK has adopted. And I heard Saawariya towels are selling like hot cakes!

  8. as usualu, u crack me up whenever i read ur posts san. wonderful post:) well, i like bollywood movies and i am a big movie buff. i enjoyed first half of OSO. did little S enjoyed the movie?
    i remember trying this dish following some recipe from web but it turned out to be huge flop. it was smelling of besan and i had tried to cook further and dont ask me what happened after that!!! it was before i started my blog and pity i dont have pic of that;)

  9. I was raised on Bergman and other art house films. I still love them, but I also love (NEED) to laugh - and laugh hard. Call me a mixed bag.

    Those peppers are a nice colorful change fr/ the muted veggies (turnips, potatoes, parsnips) that I typically associate w/ winter.

  10. Oh, that Cyrus! My sister was his biggest fan and drove us nuts by imitating him.
    This is one of my favorite bhajis!

  11. the Bhaji looks wonderful, sometime we do see the colorful trioka in the stores sometimes. You sure this recipe is not Ma IL's? Just kidding Sandeepa!

    As far as Hindi movies don't watch too many, SRK bothers me no end but Chak De was good movie, with no one pining and singing around trees! Watch it, you won't come close to ROTFL but atleast you won't feel like like flinging some sharp, heavy object on the screen either in exasperation.

    As for some of us turning snooty, snobby -- if you get a chance watch "Desperate Hours" an old Humphrey Bogart movie (picked this up at our local library) the taut suspense is something that in a 100 years Bollywood , Kollwood or Tollywood will never master.

  12. I don't like the "newly" minted SRK, I used to love him when he was young, new and a great actor!! "Pelvic thrusts" ALA Elvis is not funny at all.
    Anyway, glad you enjoyed it and I do like few Bollywood movies though.Amol Palekar and Shabana made it wonderful before, unfortunately not anymore except very few these days.
    I have posted besan and bellpeppers dish long ago too, I love the dish.Looks great Sandeepa. Besan tatses so good as gravy!:))

  13. rAMYA
    tHANKS DEAR :)

    I knew :D

    This is avery easy recipe actually, need to stir the besan and cook it so you don't get the smell

    Thanks dear, it is quick too

    No, no Sawariya...never :D Chak de, yes I want to watch it, haven't yet

    Why oh Why ?????

    Don't concentrate on SRK or the story, I liked the pun et al

    I wouldn't say I am big Bollywood fan, I started watching major Bollywood only after coming here, home sickness I guess. But I watch some typical movies like the Karan Johar drama kinds and the kinds like Yuva, Cheeni Kum etc.

    While growing up I was brought up on wholesome Indian Art movies too. My parents wouldn't let me go for the Typical "Bollywood" movies. I came to apreciate the art movies after coming of age. And did watch a lot(both Indian & Foreign) in that genre while in college

    But I like a good laugh & some drama too sometimes :D

    Does the sis blog ?


    Like I told Susan, while growing up my parents didn't allow the typical "Bollywood". I never liked them either. I appreciated the alternate kinds and also Hrishikesh Mukherjee etc. kinds, you know NOT the running around trees kind.
    Again while in college we rarely watched Hindi Movies except for maybe one or two a year.
    After coming here and with no parental control, I did watch quiet a few in the initial years :D But I do enjoy some specific Bollywood movies.

    Only thing is these days I hardly get to watch movies at the theater and it is more difficult at home. The three movies I watched this year are "Cheeni Kum", "Ratatouille" and this one at the theater. At home I got to watch "Little Miss Sunshine" and "The Devil wears Prada". But to watch at home I have to wait till 11 at night till S is off to bed on a weekend, because if I am watching a good Holywood movie I need to sit with concentration.

    I do like Hollywood ones. And I do agree the class of most cinema they offer cannot be compared to Bollywood. And there are Hollywood Blockbusters that make me laugh too, almost ROTFL

    That said, the "Om Shanti Om" has spoofs and such which I found very funny. Don't watch it for SRK or the story, you have to just let go and watch such movies.

    very true...he was pretty good in that movie "Kabhi haan Kabhi na"

  14. hey sandeepa!! love that bhaji!!
    Gram flour adds an amazing flavour to any dish right!!!
    fantastic picture!! have a great weekend

  15. hey sandeepa!! love that bhaji!!
    Gram flour adds an amazing flavour to any dish right!!!
    fantastic picture!! have a great weekend

  16. Sandeepa, Besan for the base I have to try it out again. Everytime i try to give my hand on this the gravy smells of besan. I guess i don't fry enough to remove the raw smell that besan gives. I will try out this dish and let you know if i come out in flying colors this time ;-).
    Coming to OSO its a total time pass movie. I along with my two friends went to watch it yesterday leaving back our husbands and we enjoyed it specially the first half with all those bell bottom pants and side locks... hee hee.

  17. thats a lovely diah it look sooooooo yummy and new recipe for me

  18. thats a cute dish..a must try one...sounds easy...nice pic...i too watched OSO..a funny kinda movie ..i'm SRK fan..Hy watch JAB WE MET..nice comedy movie...

  19. Believe it or not, there are lot of Govinda fans in South India. God knows why. Its really hard to come to the recipe after your hilariuos write-up, Sandeepa. Perun bhaji looks very similar to Zunka.

  20. Sandeepa:

    Thanks for bringing a warm smile and some cheer :). Love the bhaji, yaar! Its yummy and always a delight to have. Oh, and hindi movies, they are mostly fun, stressbusters :). Silly ones like Hera-Pheri, Hungama, Hulchul, Andaaz Apna Apna can brighten up a day anytime :). and i am a total SRK fan, so i am thrilled to know that you got to watch the movie and enjoyed it :). While i love and appreciate serious cinema both desi and videshi, i do crave my dose of mindless fun via regualr desi movies too. They both have their own place :-D. I'd let Kurosawa and Priyan coexist in my space :).

  21. i love the colors that bell papper add to the food ...this sounds really simple Sandeepa (that's the ebst thing i lvoe baout your cooking style: u make kitchen novices proud of themselves :D)....i should try it some time and let you know.....for all his faults and shortcomings I love Shahrukh Khan whie my husband can't stand him...for that one reason i'm willing for him to age faster !!! :DDD

  22. Sandeepa, that is the part I don't like have to wait for DDs to sleep before we can watch a movie, and most times being late in the night falling asleep in the middle of a movie. I would watch the old hindi classics if only they came with Subtitles (being Hindi challenged and all, the same reason don't watch comedies they kind of go over the head)

    Not all Hollywoods are great either some are duds. theatre visits are rare :( Ratatouille was our last one too.

  23. The bhaji looks very appetising for Bollywood, Dinesh abhors everything except for me, I've probably watched all sorts...from the Hrishikesh Mukherjee types to the KL Saigal types to the Karan Johar type...I generally love watching films and used to even watch those old classics when the actors used to sing for themselves(!!!think me crazy?I don't care, many before you have thought so :-))and all those Shabana Azma and Smita Patil kinds...hardly watch any Bollywood movies nowadays.

  24. I like the look of this dish. Never had anything like it before.

  25. Hi Sandeepa, don't know what happened to my first comment -- Blogger ate it maybe :) Anyway I've seen bell pepper with besan before, but always the peppers are cut so big -- I like your way much better.

    I can't speak to Bollywood (or even Hollywood!) but I can empathize with the desire for a real belly-laugh, as opposed to a grin ;) Have a great weekend, Sandeepa dear!

  26. yum, love the peeth perun keleli bhaji :) it can be made with a few other veg as well!
    bollywood movies are so much fun to watch with friends, always brings out the humor in everyone :)

  27. This proves that a really delicious dish doesn't have to be complicated. Sometimes the simplest things are the best!

  28. My aunut makes this curry but South Indian style.
    I got my battery charged reading ur post:D hehehe

    Bell pepper curry looks yummy.

  29. What a simple and easy dish. Thanks for the idea. I'm trying this one over the weekend. There's a lot of unused besan in the house.

    And I enjoyed reading your write-up, Sandeepa.

  30. very neat dish lady ...very different ..vegge with besan ....something new to learn about

  31. That explains it. I thought that was a Bengali dish and trying to make sense of its name :-)

    Re: Om Shanti Om, I am no fan of SRK and hate the 'six-pack-abs' look of his (I think he looks like Bruce Lee's cousin now). However, I did like the first half of the movie and Deepika seems promising. Also, it was a great beginning with one of my fav songs from my eary years (the Karz number).

  32. Count me in on the snobs....sure I'll watch an occasional movie, but the cliched stories make it unbearable!

  33. I only go for Hindi movies if they are highly recommended. Thomar kothay jabo?? I can't bear that Shah Rukh fellow... by the way, this dish looks apurba. So easy!!

  34. Hi Sandeepa! This looks yummy ! I'll try it. I love some of the bollywood classics like Munnabhai (the second part was really great), khoshla ka ghosla. But somehow I didn't enjoy OSO, though I love Main hoon naa. Maybe getting a seat in the front row (we were late :p )had something to do with it.

  35. Hi Sandeepa,

    Good to see a fresh blog.

    And I am smiling wide to know that someone like me had to go through the otherwise unavoidable torture called OSO. In fact, I also enjoyed every moment when I was inside the theatre, and on post mortem, realise, it was just the instantaneous pleasure of 'feeling good' or ' just having fun' and no treasure or though to carry forward. Howevr, in today's time, who cares for carry forwards ?

    Thanks for 'Perun Bhaji'... never knew the name, though is often done at home, courtesy my Mashi-in-law from Nagpur, popularising in the family.

    With the new found name, I am sure, it would taste even better

  36. nice post, honeslty there wud be no living indian blood who seem not to know or like SRK, am I right?

  37. Oh I too like non intelectual stupid jokes! :) One doubt though, can jokes or humour be intelectual!? Enjoyed reading your post!

  38. Hi Sandeepa, it's been ages since I saw a hindi movie on the large screen :-( Years ago I used to be a fan of SRK, now he seems a bit sickening! I love your version of the bhaji.

  39. WOW sandeepa
    That was a simple and tasty curry.I can imagine the taste of bell peppers mixed with baesan.mmmmm yummy!!thanks for sharing.

  40. Nice write up Sandeepa. Enjoyed reading it. The dish is great. Viji

  41. Bell peppers are a vegetable that add colour to any plain looking food!!
    this is an interesting and a simple one at that!

  42. Hey dear, I know this is an old post, but just had to comment that I also watched Om Shanti Om recently and had a good laugh out of it, especially when SRK became "Omaswami" battling the giant plush tiger, haha! :) Liked the Filmfare Awards spoof as well! :)

    Where food is concerned, I also saw this recipe on SJ's & Coffee's blogs some time back and made it, but I suppose I din't do it right, 'cos I didn't like mine. :(

  43. nice and simple. have used bell pepper colors only raw till now in salads and the like. this was nice.

    like every good fellini truffaut godard bong, i have viewed bollywood the way a junkie views his stash, hating it but not able to resist it.

    OSO is a riot in the way it laughs at itself. and i think a lot of the humor is lost if you cant get the context. SRK does show up the bollywood hero for the idiot he really is. i thought dard-e-disco could have existed only in vintage mad magazine.

  44. Just made this with mulo, had totally ran out of ideas and this is just the start of mulo season! But the dish turned out super fab. As always, thanks muchhh :)


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