Mirchi ka salan is the greasy gravy like dish served most often with Hyderabadi biryani. Yes, the same stuff which I normally ignore when I eat my biryani. But served on its own with rice or chapatis, it is quite yummy. The curry also is reasonably healthy as it is made with peanuts, sesame seeds and fresh coconut. These large light green chillies are not hot. They are also used to make another South Indian favorite — mirchi bhajjis.
The same recipe is used for a favorite of my husband’s baghare baingan or curried aubergines. The tastes are different because the vegetables leave their own unique flavour in the curry. Otherwise the recipes are the same. This one takes a little time to make so make sure that you cook slightly larger quantities because the leftover definitely taste better.
About 12 big light green chillies that are cleaned, dried, slit from the middle and the seeds discarded
1 large onion sliced
1 tbsp. ginger paste
1 tbsp. garlic paste
1 small fresh coconut cut in small slices
2-3 tomatoes made into puree or paste
1 tbsp. tamarind soaked in warm water
1 tsp. red kashmiri chilli powder for colour
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
salt to taste
For the dry masala
2 tbsp. coriander seeds
1 tbsp. cumin seeds
10-12 black peppercorns
1 piece cinnamon
4 tbsp. peanuts roasted
2 tbsp. white sesame seeds roasted
For the tadka/seasoning
1 tsp. oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
A few curry leaves
First, apply a little salt over the slit and cleaned chillies. Now shallow fry them for a minute or two. Don’t over cook them, just get them glossy and golden. Now take out and keep aside. Now take a tbsp. of oil, fry onion and coconut in it till golden brown. Keep it aside. I also fry my ginger, garlic and tomato paste along with the onion. Now make their paste with fried coconut.
Dry roast the peanuts, sesame seeds, cinnamon, cloves, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and black peppercorns making sure they don’t over roast. Powder them together.
Take the wet paste in the kadhai/wok. Add a little water if it is too thick and fry it some more. Now add the roasted spice mix to this and cook some more. Tip in the fried chillies in to this. Add turmeric powder, kashmiri red chilly powder and salt and some more water to keep the curry thick. Cover and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes. Now I add in the tamarind water for a bit more sour taste. You can skip or add more as per the taste you prefer. Let it cook out for a couple of minutes. Now, heat oil for the tadka or seasoning. Add in the mustard seeds and wait for them to sputter. Add in the curry leaves and tip it into the curry.
Then taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot. It is tangy, spicy and finger licking yummy. Try it!