Thursday, 26 April 2012


Peperone Piccante in Farina die Ceci "Subzi"
Spicy Bell Pepper and Gram Flour Subzi

I stumbled upon this dish whilst browsing along on the information superhighway today... the name caught my attention- "subzi"... isn't that just fun? I took a look at what the story was behind it and thought it sounded easy and fun- my two favorite attributes of any meal!

Basically, subzi is a pan-roasted, spiced gram flour crust for bell peppers. Every version I saw of it used diced peppers- so of course I sliced mine. I also used slightly different spices. Please feel free to look up one of the more authentic recipes if you wish- or stick around a while and read my simplified and easy version. I am all for adapting recipes though and not a fan of passing them on second hand- where is the fun in that? And it's not just girls that wanna have fun you know!

So let's get started. Take 1 cupful of gram flour and add to it 1 tablespoon of garam masala, 1 tablespoon of tandoori powder, 1 teaspoon of turmeric, 1 teaspoon of fennel seed, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin and 1 teaspoon of chili flakes. Stir in well and add a tablespoon of sesame oil. Already we have departed from tradition, but I think that the flavor os sesame goes fantastically with the peppers and chick peas.

Rub the oil into the flour with your hands, so at to get it relatively evenly distributed. Now pout the flour into a dry pan on a moderate heat and stir, stir, stir! After about 4-5 minutes, the flour will begin to change color and you will notice a difference in the smell- it begins to develop a lovely, nutty, chick-pea and spice aroma. You may hear some of the seeds added to the flour popping with the heat! I told you this is a fun dish!

Remove the flour from the pan, wipe it down a little so that you don't have any residues in there that will burn and add a little clarified butter and the mixed bell pepper slices to the pan. Sprinkle with a little sugar, sea salt and lemon juice and sautée for 5-6 minutes until they begin to soften.

Now return the flour to the pan and stir everything together well. The flour will stick to the peppers in part, due to the fact that they are moist, and also it will begin clumping together... which is normal! In fact- you want that!  Because those little lumps of flour and moisture will become lovely, aromatic crumbs of crispy chick-pea flavor!

In order to encourage this, sprinkle the peppers lightly with water and immediately stir everything together... you will soon see more and more little chick-pea clusters. Keep stirring, keep toasting and add a good squeeze of lime juice to the mix- this will really lift the flavors and make everything much fresher and delicious!

After a further 5-6 minutes it should be ready to eat!  I enjoyed a little dip of chopped cucumber, onion, plain yogurt, a drizzle of sesame oil, salt and pepper. The whole thing is healthy, nutritious, cheap, colorful, easy to make and just simply damned delicious!  Serve with a sueeze of lime and a sprinkle of sesame... and enjoy!

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