This delicious Hyderabadi-style capsicum curry is just what you need to spice up your dinner time. It is made with ground peanut paste, white sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onions, ginger and garlic, desiccated coconut and spices. Serve this rich capsicum masala with biryani or pulao or any Indian flatbread like roti, paratha or naan.
Table of Contents
About This Capsicum Curry
My Capsicum curry is inspired by gravy or Curry Recipes made in the Hyderabadi cuisine. It has delicious, complex, mouth-watering flavors. Tamarind adds a distinctive sour taste while the peanuts and sesame seeds add rich nutty flavors. The addition of capsicum and onions adds a sweetness to the gravy that balances out all the flavors in the gravy to make a delicious lip-smacking capsicum masala curry!
I use a mixture of green and red bell peppers to make this recipe. However, you can use one color or two different colored bell peppers depending on what you have. For a more colorful gravy use the entire trio of green, red and yellow bell peppers/capsicum.
The ingredients used to make this curry are sauteed first and then ground into a paste. Sauteing the spices and seeds releases the aroma in the oil and makes the curry very flavorful.
You will love this gravy recipe as it tastes so good. I have sauteed all the masala ingredients together rather than separately and I did not fry the capsicum separately either. The results are just as tasty using this method.
Capsicum curry can be served with roti, paratha, steamed rice, biryani or pulao.
How to Make Capsicum Masala
Prep Capsicum and Roast Spices
1. Rinse and slice capsicums/bell peppers. They should have a medium width. Make sure they are not too thin or thick and remove the seeds. Alternatively, you can cut the capsicums into small square pieces.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan. Add 2 tablespoons of peanuts, 1 tablespoon of white sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds and 1 teaspoon of white poppy seeds (optional).
3. Fry the ingredients on low heat for 3 to 4 minutes stirring regularly.
4. Add 1.5 teaspoons of chopped ginger and 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic and sauté for one minute.
5. Then add 1.25 cups of chopped onions.
6. Mix and stir very well.
7. Saute the onions until they turn translucent or light brown and add a pinch of salt, to help the onions cook faster.
8. Next add 3 tablespoons of desiccated coconut. Alternatively use 6 tablespoons of fresh coconut.
9. Mix and stir again very well.
10. Continue to stir non-stop and saute for 7 to 8 minutes on low heat or until the coconut turns golden. The whole mixture should turn light golden or golden.
Making Masala or Curry Paste
11. Leave the roasted mixture to become cool completely. Then add the mixture to a grinder or blender jar and add 1 teaspoon of tightly packed seedless tamarind.
12. Grind or blend into a smooth paste with ½ to ⅔ cups of water. Then set the curry paste aside for later.
Cooking Capsicum Masala
13. Wipe the pan used to fry the nuts and seeds. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in the same pan. Lower the heat and add ½ a teaspoon of black mustard seeds.
14. Once the mustard seeds begin to crackle, add 7 to 8 fenugreek seeds and 7 to 8 curry leaves. Sauté for 5 to 6 seconds.
15. Add ⅓ cup of tightly packed chopped tomatoes.
16. Sprinkle a pinch of salt for seasoning and to help the tomatoes cook faster.
17. Stir and saute the tomatoes until they soften and become pulpy.
18. Next add the sliced capsicum/green bell pepper.
19. Stir and sauté bell peppers for about 3 to 4 minutes on medium heat.
20. Lower the heat and add the ground curry paste that you set aside previously.
21. Add ⅛ teaspoon of turmeric powder (about 2 to 3 pinches) and 1 teaspoon red chili powder.
TIP: For a spicier taste add 1.5 to 2 teaspoons of red chili powder instead.
22. Mix very well.
23. Sauté for about 2 minutes on low heat. Stir continuously to prevent the paste from sticking to the pan.
Making Capsicum Curry
24. Next add 1 to 1.25 cups of water.
25. Combine very well.
26. Add 1 teaspoon of powdered jaggery and salt to taste. Swap ½ to 1 teaspoon sugar or brown sugar with jaggery if you are out of jaggery.
27. Add ½ teaspoon of garam masala powder.
28. Stir and simmer the capsicum curry on low to medium heat for about 15 minutes or until the capsicum slices are cooked.
TIP: If you prefer the capsicums slightly crunchy then do not cook the curry for too long.
29. Stir from time to time while the gravy simmers. Once you see oil floating on top of the gravy it is done. Finally, check the taste and add more salt or powdered jaggery if necessary.
30. Serve capsicum masala hot or warm with roti, paratha, naan, pulao, biryani or simple steamed rice. You can also garnish the curry with fresh coriander leaves for more flavor.
- Capsicum peppers: Use fresh capsicum peppers for this recipe. I added green and yellow capsicum peppers but feel free to use one, two or three different colored capsicums. Slice capsicum peppers into medium sizes or dice them. You also have the option to cook the bell peppers for a long or short amount of time depending on whether you prefer soft or crunchy peppers.
- Paste: After adding all of the roasted ingredients to a grinder make sure the paste has a smooth fine texture. This will ensure that the capicum gravy has the perfect texture.
- Gravy: Make sure you taste the gravy as you go along and adjust the seasoning to your taste. While simmering the gravy mixture, stir at regular intervals to make sure that it does not burn. The consistency of the curry is medium, however you can make it slightly thin or thick by adjusting the amount of water.
- Veggies: In place of capsicum, you can make this dish with vegetables like eggplants (brinjals), cauliflower, potatoes and okra. For okra sauté them first and then add towards the end once the gravy is cooked through and you see oil floating on top of it. To make the dish more filling you can also add some potatoes with the capsicum.
Tamarind and jaggery give this masala gravy recipe a delicious taste. Leaving tamarind and jaggery out of this recipe will change the flavor but feel free to skip them if you want.
Tamarind gives this dish a distinctive sour taste. If you don’t want to use tamarind you can use lemon juice instead but be aware that lemon juice will add a different taste to the curry. Add ½ to 1 teaspoon of lemon juice when the curry is done. The more lemon you add the sourer the curry will taste.
The gravy may be dark because the masala was roasted for too long. Also, browning onions for too long can result in a darker-colored gravy.
You can use brinjals to make this curry or even potatoes. I have tried both and the curry tastes just as good! Another option is to use okra but saute the okra first and then add once the gravy is done.
Both these words capsicum and bell pepper are meant for the same vegetable. In America and Canada, capsicum is called as bell pepper.
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Capsicum Curry | Capsicum Masala
For curry paste
- 1.25 cups chopped onions – 175 to 200 grams or 2 medium to large
- 1.5 to 2 teaspoon chopped ginger or 1.5 inches
- 1 to 1.5 teaspoon chopped garlic or 4 to 5 medium-sized
- 3 tablespoons desiccated coconut – can swap with 6 tablespoons fresh coconut
- 2 tablespoons peanuts
- 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon poppy seeds (khus khus) – optional
- 2 tablespoons oil – neutral flavored oil or peanut oil
- 1 teaspoon tamarind – tightly packed and seedless
- ½ to ⅔ cup water for making curry paste
- 2 tablespoons oil
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- 7 to 8 fenugreek seeds
- 7 to 8 curry leaves
- ⅓ chopped tomatoes – tightly packed or 1 small to medium tomato
- 2 cups sliced capsicum – green or red or yellow bell pepper, 200 to 250 or 4 to 5 medium sized
- ⅛ teaspoon turmeric powder or 2 to 3 pinches
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder
- ½ teaspoon Garam Masala
- 1 to 1.25 cups water
- ½ teaspoon jaggery powder or add as per taste
- salt as required
- 1 to 2 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves – for garnish, optional
- Rinse and slice the capsicums. Make medium width slices. Not too thin or thick. Remove the seeds also. You can even cut the capsicum in small squares.
- Chop the onions, ginger and garlic and tomatoes.
Preparing curry paste
- In a pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the peanuts, white sesame seeds, coriander seeds and poppy seeds (optional).
- On a low heat fry these nuts and seeds for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Then add the chopped ginger and garlic. Sauté for a minute.
- Next add the chopped onions. Mix and stir very well.
- Saute the onions till they turn translucent or a light brown. Add a pinch of salt, so that the onions cook faster.
- Next add the desiccated coconut. Mix again very well.
- On a low heat, continue to stir non-stop and roast for 7 to 8 minutes, till the coconut turns golden. The whole mixture should turn light golden or golden.
- Let this roasted mixture become warm or cool completely. Then add the mixture in a grinder or blender jar. Also add the tightly packed seedless tamarind.
- Grind or blend to a smooth fine paste adding water. Keep this masala paste aside.
Making capsicum curry
- Wipe the pan in which we sautéed the nuts and seeds and add 2 tablespoon oil. Heat the oil. Lower the heat and then add mustard seeds.
- When the mustard seeds crackle, add fenugreek seeds, 7 to 8 curry leaves. Sauté for 5 to 6 seconds.
- Then add tightly packed chopped tomatoes.
- Sprinkle a pinch of salt for the tomatoes to cook faster.
- Stir and saute the tomatoes till they soften and become pulpy.
- Now add the sliced capsicums or bell peppers.
- On a medium heat, stir and sauté the bell peppers for about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Lower the heat and add the ground nuts and seeds paste.
- Add turmeric powder and red chili powder. Mix very well.
- Sauté for about 2 minutes on a low heat. Do stir often as the paste can stick to the pan.
Cooking capsicum curry
- Add 1 to 1.25 cups water. Combine and mix thoroughly.
- Add the powdered jaggery and salt as per taste. Then add garam masala powder. Swap raw sugar or brown sugar with jaggery if you do not have jaggery.
- Stir and simmer the curry on a low to medium heat for about 15 minutes or till the capsicum slices are cooked. You can keep the capsicum slightly crunchy if you want.
- When you see oil specks on top, the capsicum gravy is done. Do stir at intervals when the gravy is getting simmered.
- Serve capsicum masala curry hot with paratha, roti, naan, rice, pulao or biryani. If you prefer you can garnish the capsicum curry with some coriander leaves.
- You can use any capsicum or bell pepper- green, orange, yellow or red. Or use two colored or all three together. Including three to four varieties of capsicum make the curry more flavorful and colorful.
- The consistency of the gravy is medium, but as you prefer make it slightly thin or thick by adjusting the amount of water.
- If you do not have tamarind, use lemon juice. Add ½ teaspoon lemon juice or as needed once the curry is cooked. If you have tamarind paste, add ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon of it.
- In place of capsicum, you can make this curry with eggplants, potatoes, cauliflower and okra. For okra sauté them first and then add towards the end once the curry is cooked through and you see oil floating on top of it.
- Omit poppy seeds if you do not have them.
- This recipe cannot be scaled due to its complexity. If you want to make a larger or a smaller batch, try eyeballing the ingredients as you go on working on the recipe.
Nutrition Info (Approximate values)
This Capsicum Masala post from the blog archives first published in May 2015 has been republished and updated on 12 August 2021.