Aaloo Shimla Mirch’ is a side I have been making at least twice a week since I have been married. But there was a time when I made this every alternate day – for 4 months! Yeps! Not that I loved it so much, nor that I hated any other vegetables..but the sole reason – I did not know how to make anything else! This was nearly a decade ago, when a ‘homely’ girl (who was at home munching down mom-cooked-meals post college and later post-work) like myself was transported to the US for an onsite assignment. I was reassured of the availability of food on the day I landed – welcomed with paratha and daal cooked by a colleague. Before I could settle down comfortably and assume the next meal would be dished out from the kitchen to my plate – I was shoved to Walmart and Fresh Farms with a clear message – ‘help yourself please!’. Now, I was 23 and cooking aaloo ki sabji everyday would have revealed to my colleagues that I knew nothing more, which would have made me ‘talk of the
town office’. Gobhi, beans, spinach were beyond me and chole, rajma paneer were like aiming for the stars. It was only this humble capsicum that I figured could save me. I deduced all I need to do was make aaloo ki sabji and add these to it. It cooked fast, so would never remain raw / uncooked. If it betrayed me, I would say I like it crunchy. It does’t release lot of water, it doesn’t need to be ‘chopped fine’, no onion, no tomato – all in all a safe bet. I would buy two big ones every weekend and cook half of it at one time – that made it four times in a week!
My dear friend S who was doing her MS in the US in those times, would call and ask – ‘ so, what’s cooking?’. Me –‘aaloo shimla mirch’. After a few days of the same reply, she wondered – ‘how come you are cooking aaloo shimla mirch ALL the time? You like it so much?’. Dear S, I don’t remember what I told you that time, but big chances are that if you still call me and ask, you may get the same answer! 🙂
Aaloo / Potatoes – 4 big (peeled, washed, cut to bite sized chunks)
Shimla Mirch / Capsicum – 4 big (washed, deseeded, chopped to bite sized chunks)
Oil – 1.5 tbsp
Jeera – 1 tsp
Ajwain – 1 tsp
Haldi – half tsp
Red chili powder – 1 tsp
Dhane-chi-pood / Coriander Powder – 1 tbsp
Garam Masala / Kitchen King Masala – 1 tbsp
Salt – as per taste
1. Heat oil in a wok / non-stick pan.
2. When hot, add jeera, ajwain and let them splutter for a few seconds.
3. Add haldi, red chili powder and give it a stir to blend them with the oil.
4. Put in the potato and shimla mirch chunks, mix gently to coat them with the oil mix.
5. Cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes / till the capsicum wilts.
6. Open and add salt. Cover and cook again for 5 minutes/ till the time potatoes are cooked through and soft.
7. Finally, open and sprinkle the magic ingredients – coriander powder and garam masala.
8. Cook for 2 minutes in the open, so that the moisture evaporates and the deal looks crisp and shiny.
9. Serve with rotis, or pack for lunch.