Mirchi Ka Salan
Talk about Hyderabad’s cuisine, and Hyderbadi Mirchi Ka Salan is sure to become a topic of interest there. This is one of the classic Hyderabadi curries with its characteristic lightly tangy and very subtly spiced creamy gravy.
Green Chillies /Hari Mirch – stems kept intact - slit and seeds shaken off
The masalas in this curry are all braised/bhun-na until oil floats on top, which is a critical procedure to draw out flavors from the various spices added to the gravy, and only in the last stages, water is added to give it a gravy consistency.
I have used spicy medium sized thick green chillies for this curry as shown in the picture, which are the usual kind favored. The chilies preferred for this curry should have smooth skin, not wrinkly, medium thick, straight and long and fresh with stems intact.
white poppy seeds/khus-khus
Do not be be under the misconception that as green chillies are being used in this curry, the curry is going to be fiery hot. Do not worry~due to the addition of spices like poppyseeds, sesame seeds, groundnuts and coconut, the gravy has a mellow and creamy attribute which is utmost delicious. Furthermore, the seeds from all the green chillies, which are main reason for the hotness of the chillies, are discarded before being added to the gravy, hence they are mild after being cooked.
Hyderabadi Mirchi Ka Salan - Green Chillies in Sesame Seeds Sauce
The procedure to prepare Baghare Baingan and Tamatar ks Salan is also almost the same as this curry. Also, you can also add any firm fish fillets (Red snapper, Haddock, Cod, etc) to the gravy instead of green chillies to make it a fish curry/Machli ka Salan . There is no difference, except for the fact that in Baghare Baingan, brinjals are used; in fish curry, fish fillets are used; in Tamatar ka Salan, tomatoes are used and in this curry, the green chillies are used.
Hyderabadi Mirchi Ka Salan - Green Chillies in a Tangy-Sesame Seeds Sauce
Green chillies (thick and long, as shown in the picture) – 250 gms in weight
For dry paste/masala:
Khus Khus/White Poppy seeds – 1 tbsp
Till/Sesame Seeds – 1/2 cup/50 gms
Groundnuts/MoomPhalli – 1/2 cup/50 gms
Dry desiccated Coconut – 3/4 cup/50 gms
Dry roasted Coriander seed/Dhania powder – 1 tsp
Canola oil – 1/2 cup
Yellow Onions – 3, large, sliced slightly thick into semi circular rings
Ginger garlic paste – 2 tsp
Salt – 1 tbsp
Red Chilli Powder – 1 1/2 tsp (optional)
Turmeric/ Haldi – 1/2 tsp
Cilantro/ Kothmir – 3 tbsp, finely chopped
Thick tamarind pulp – 3 tbsp
Cumin seeds/ Zeera – 2 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves/ Kariyapaak – 2 sprigs
Mustard seeds/ Rai – 1/2 tsp
Nigella seeds/ Kalaunji – 1/3 tsp
Fenugreek seeds/ Methi dana – 1/8 tsp
1. Wash, drain, then pat dry and slit the green chillies. Shake the seeds off the chillies to remove the extra spiciness (use gloves while you work with chillies to avoid your hands getting burnt with its chemicals). Keep the stems intact. Keep aside.
2. Heat a small non-stick frying pan at medium high heat and once it is hot, dry roast the desiccated coconut, sesame seeds, khus khus, peanuts, coriander seeds and 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, all one by one separately for just 2-3 minutes until they are a few shades darker and remove them into separate bowls. Do not burn the spices. Once cool, rub off the skins of the peanuts. Grind them all separately in a spice grinder to a fine powder or a smooth paste without adding any water and keep aside.
3. Heat a large non-stick frying pan at medium high heat, and as soon as it warms up add the sliced onions. Let the onions sweat and keep stirring them until they are just starting to brown up in color as shown in the picture below. Once the onions are soft and lightly browned in color, remove them to a platter and keep aside. Once the dry roasted onions are cool, puree them in a grinder until smooth. Keep aside.
4. Pour oil in a cooking pot and once hot enough, carefully add the green chillies and cover with a splatter screen. The oil spits as soon as you add green chillies, so be careful. Stir fry them till blisters form on the skins. Using a slotted spoon remove the chillies to a platter and keep aside.
Clockwise from top – Fried green chillies, roasted desiccated coconut, roasted peanuts,
roasted sesame seeds and fried onions
5. In the same hot oil, add remaining 1 tsp cumin seeds, mustard seeds, curry leaves, nigella seeds and fenugreek seeds. Let the spices splutter for a minute. Add the pureed roasted onion paste and immediately cover the pan with a lid for a minute. Lower the heat to medium low and shake the pan to thoroughly mix. This is done for the mixture to absorb all the flavour from the baghaar(tempering). Uncover, lower the heat and add ginger garlic paste and fry for 3-4 minutes. Add the desiccated coconut paste, sesame seed paste, khus-khus paste and peanut paste and stir fry it for 2-5 minutes or until you see that the mixture comes together and starts leaving oil. Add the red chilli powder, salt and turmeric. Mix well and keep stir frying it for a further 2 minutes on medium low heat. Once the raw odor of the peanuts, ginger-garlic paste and coconut is no longer coming, add the dry roasted coriander and cumin seed powder and chopped cilantro and mix well. Pour in 3 1/2 cups warm water and the tamarind pulp. Mix well. Add the fried green chillies and stir. Cover the lid and let cook on simmer for 20-25 minutes while stirring frequently, until the oil has all separated and the chillies well cooked in the masala gravy. Remove from heat and serve the curry.
This is my contribution to Think Spice Think Poppy seeds event being hosted by RV at her blog.
( I am posting this recipe again as due to some problem this post of mine was deleted! )