Curried Potatoes and Capsicum

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Winter is almost over, and so are the winter vegetables. Even though you get all vegetables all year through but to have one during its original time of harvest means a lot to me. Capsicum is one of them. I love capsicum. The subtle taste of chili in capsicum and of course its smell drives me crazy.

alu capsicum 1

Potato with capsicum is a very North Indian dish. But, it feels great to have this rich and spicy curry in a cold winter evening. You can pair it with chapatis or parathas, or just have it with warm white rice and dal.

Alu Capsicum Tarkari

Indian, Side, Winter recipe, Capsicum curry, Potato curry, North indian side dish, Vegetarian recipe
Cooks in    Serves 2
  • 1 large potato
  • 1 capsicum
  • ½ of medium size onion
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon mustard oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Chop the potato and capsicum to one inch size pieces.
  • Heat oil in a wok, add the cumin seeds, as the seeds start sputtering throw onions and fry till they turn translucent, 1-2mins.
  • Add the potatoes and toss to coat the oil
  • Add the turmeric and chili powder, season with salt. Fry for 1-2 minutes till the spices turn a shade darker
  • Pour in water and cook covered till the potatoes are half done. Add the capsicum now and cook till the vegetables are cooked.

alu capsicum 2

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Aloo Achari/ Potatoes Sauteed in Pickle

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Have you ever watched that scene from Dhanni Meye, an old Black and White Bengali movie starring Jaya Bachchan, then Bhaduri. In the middle of the hot and humid afternoon, this young bride with all her zeal to steal pickles climbs up the asbestos roof and picks up her favorite mango pickle from the jar, set in the sun for sterilizing. On seeing this, her mother-in-law shouts at her, but the young girl continues eating the pickle unaware of anything going around her.

This might have been just a scene from some almost forgotten Bengali movie, but I’m sure almost everybody has tried stealing pickle from the jar. Raw mango, lemon, mixed vegetable and the count goes on for the number of pickles you can get in the market. My grandmom always liked preparing her pickle rather than buying from some grocery store. Now, when I am thousands of miles away from home my exposures to pickles are limited to “Mother’s” or the “Homemade” brands.

Pickles had always been a compliment to go along with dal and fries  or even with saag bhaja. Other than enhancing the taste, pickles are nutritionally beneficial as they contain high amounts of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), a very good antioxidant and are also high in iron, potassium and manganese. It is also considered as a good source of dietary fibers.

Suchismita, our guest for today has sent us a tasty and tangy recipe of achari alu – alu sautéed in achar/ pickle. If you are a potato hater, then you can replace it with paneer/ cottage cheese.

Suchismita, was born and brought up in Kolkata. Now, she has shifted to USA. Her passion for food and photography has made her to take the toll and explore the various combinations of ingredients. If you are in US or UK and searching for that taste in achar, then try out the various pickles in Amazon , they are pretty good or even the nearby Indian store. Check for another guest post (oler kofta) from Suchismita.

Serves 4


  • 4 large potatoes cut to bite size pieces
  • 1 onion, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon nigella/kalonji/ kalo jeera
  • 2-3 dry chilies
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 tablespoons of pickle of your choice
  • 2 tablespoon vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon sugar


  • Boil the potatoes till half done, peel off and keep aside
  • Heat oil in a frying pan and toss the potatoes till lightly brown. Keep aside
  • Throw in nigella, dry chilies, cumin
  • As the spices start sputtering add the chopped onion and sauté till the onions turn pinkish in color
  • Drop in the potatoes along with pickle
  • Pour in the vinegar as you can smell the aroma of the pickle and spices coming out
  • Add sugar and pour in little water to let the potatoes take in the spices
  • Cook covered till the potatoes get soft


Hot Tips – If you are replacing paneer with potatoes then cut the paneer in 1” cubes, slightly fry the pieces and drop them in salted warm water so that the paneer gets soft and the salt gets inside the paneer cubes. You can also try it with baby potatoes.


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Cauliflower Broccoli Gratin – woo the opposite sex

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This post describes how to cook an exotic dish, Cauliflower Broccoli Gratin, in easy steps. A perfect recipe to woo the opposite sex. But before the recipe, I’ll talk about why an amateur cook like me even dared such an elaborate preparation. Skip ahead 3 paras if you’re just interested in the recipe.

Preparing Cauliflower Broccoli gratin

Preparing Cauliflower Broccoli gratin

Newbie trying Exotic dish, and succeeding

Having a domestic help, for almost everything that is non-core to your life, is an amazing experience. Wake up in the morning, and ask – Bhaiya, chai pilao. Aur haan, do ande ubaal do aur ek glass dudh bournvita. [Get me some tea please. And yes, boil two eggs and a glass of milk bournvita]. Ask him/her to prepare Rajma chawal for lunch and kadhi, roti and Gakar ka Halwa for dinner. Heavenly!

My all rounder domestic help left for home (for Holi) 3 weeks ago. Life has never been this dude-you-have-to-cook. So, started with. No, its not Maggi or Chana Daal or Fried Rice. Ladies and Gentlemen, fasten your seat belts. Its Cauliflower Broccoli Gratin. An expert level dish prepared by a nube. Not exactly inspiring. But surprise! It turned out well.

So, have no fear. If I could do it, I’m pretty sure anyone else can too. I’ve also tried Egg Maggi Noodles and Dimer Devil or Deviled Eggs with reasonable success. Amateurs, you can try these too.

Recipe in 10 words

Bake ingredients, crust to form a golden crust at top.

Gratin Ingredients

Gratin Ingredients

About Gratin

Hint: Grate means to scrape.

Gratin is a food preparation technique where you put a layer (of breadcrumbs, grated cheese and butter) above an ingredient mixture (of vegetables e.g. cauliflower, broccoli, potato, tomato, carrot etc), bake it till a golden crust forms at the top. You can try a meat based ingredient mix too.

Read on for how to prepare a vegetable based Gratin in easy steps.

Ingredients of Cauliflower Broccoli Gratin

  • Vegetables – I used Cauliflower, Broccoli, Potato, Tomato, Carrot
  • Cooking Oil (sunflower, Mustard, Olive whatever suits you)
  • Cheese (Cheddar, Parmesan whatever)
  • Milk
  • Maida
  • Bread crumbs
  • Onion
  • Pepper (optional)

Preparation steps

  1. Prepare the ingredients
  2. Prepare cheese sauce
  3. Pour over the ingredients alternating layers of cheese sauce and bread crumbs
  4. Bake it
Preparation for Gratin

Preparation for Gratin

Prepare the Ingredients

  • Separate small florets of cauliflower and wash it
  • Ditto for Broccoli
  • Cauliflower takes longer time to boil than Broccoli. So, first boil the cauliflower florets in water, and add some salt.
  • After 5 minutes, add Broccoli florets. Let them boil for another 7/8 min
  • Drain water and keep aside
  • Cut the other vegetables – tomato, carrot etc (you may grate the carrots if you want)

Prepare cheese sauce

  • Cut the onions into small pieces (doesn’t really matter whether you have arcs or random small pieces)
  • In a bowl, add 2 spoons of Maida
  • Add small quantity of milk and stir. Keep adding milk (total 1 cup) and stirring meanwhile.
  • Grate the cheese
  • Heat some cooking oil in a pan. Add the cut onions
  • Pour the milk maida mixture and add grated cheese
  • Heat and stir the mixture. Stop when it thickens. Keep aside.
  • Heat the oven at high temperature (I did it at 200 degrees C for 10 min)
Buttered Tray

Buttered Tray

Before being Oven-ed

Before being Oven-ed
Preparing before baking

Preparing before baking

Pour over the ingredients alternating layers to cheese sauce and bread crumbs

  • Apply butter on the oven tray
  • Spread the ingredients (vegetables) uniformly over the buttered tray
  • Pour a layer of cheese sauce
  • Add a layer of bread crumbs
  • Repeat the above two steps
  • Grate some cheese atop the mix

Bake it Baby

  • Open the oven door and insert the tray (be careful, the oven is too hot!)
  • Bake it for 20 min at 200 degrees C
Gratin is ready

Gratin is ready

Tada. Your exotic Cauliflower Broccoli Gratin is ready. Devour it with ketchup and Oregano (as a friend says, Everything tastes good with Oregano).

I used it as a Birthday base instead of a Cake. 🙂

Acknowledgements: Sudeshna (help over phone) and google (laptop was open with several links open in the browser while I prepared this dish)

Further Reading: Cook to Bang

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Paneer Bhurji for Bachelors

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If you’re a bachelor, chances are that you like spending the minimum amount of time in the kitchen. If that’s the case, this paneer recipe is just for you. [Here’re some more quick Indian recipes – Microwave Fried rice and Breakfast with egg series].

For this preparation, I bought fresh paneer from sweet shop. You can also use the packaged paneer or even try making some paneer (chana, chenna) at home.

Easy way of making Paneer at home

Boil a liter of milk, and pour 4 tablespoons of lime juice in it. Separate the curd from the whey. Put the curd in a soft cloth, preferably muslin and drain out the excess water.

While the cheese is inside the cloth, place it over a perforated metal can or box and place a heavy weight over it so that the cheese gets firmer and any extra water gets drained out. The more you press it, the harder it becomes.

Preparation time: 10min
Cooking time: 10min
Serves: 3-4

How to make Paneer Bhurji (Paneer Jhuri Bhaja)


  • Indian cheese (paneer): 300gms
  • Potato (Aalu): 2 medium sizes
  • Green peas (Matar, Mator shuti): ½ cup
  • Tomato (Tamatar): 1 small, coarsely chopped
  • Turmeric powder (Haldi Powder, Halud guro): ½ teaspoon
  • Chili powder (Lal Mirch Powder, Lal lankar guro): ¾ teaspoon
  • Green chili (Hari Mirch, Kancha lanka): 2 -3 (optional)
  • Ginger paste (Adrakh paste, Ada bata): 1 tablespoon
  • Sunflower oil (Sada tel): 3 tablespoon
  • Salt to taste


  • Slice the potatoes into thin two inch long pieces, wash and drain out the water
  • Grate the paneer in a grater. Alternately if you are using fresh curd cheese then just press with your palm to make it fluffy
  • Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan, and throw in the potatoes
  • As the potatoes get half cooked, add all the spices, tomato, peas and mix well
  • Cook for 2-3 mins more and pour in the grated paneer
  • Mix and cook for 2-3min more
  • Take out of flame and serve with roti, paratha or rice and dal

How to make Paneer Bhurji in Microwave

You can make the same paneer bhurji in microwave as well. Put in 2 tablespoons of oil and potatoes and cook covered for 4 min in microwave high (100%). Mix all the spices, tomato, peas and cook uncovered in microwave high for 2mins. Add the grated paneer and cook uncovered in microwave high for 3 more minutes.

Further Reading – Bengali Style Matar Paneer, How to make paneer

Personal Note: Kalyan had been doing a lot of cooking these days. Thanks to his cook, who has gone back to his native for a fortnight, or probably a little more. Office, cooking, phone calls from home and time for his girl friend – takes away a lot of time, leaving almost nothing for his own personal leisure. So, I thought of suggesting him a quick and easy recipe for dinner. I could have done it just by getting him a call or personal mail. But, I’m sure there are hundreds of bachelors or even spinsters who frantically search for some quick and easy recipes for beginners.

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