Mama’s Punjabi Recipes – Hatch Pepper Di Sabzi (Sauteed Hatch Pepper)


In the southern US, a large green pepper which is very hot is usually available during the summer months in large quantities. These are called “hatch peppers” and for six weeks are plentiful and really inexpensive. In India, these types of peppers are not available, and the closest thing is bell peppers which aren’t as big as they are in the US. They are called “Hatch” because they are grown in the Hatch valley, which is an area along both sides of the Rio Grande River in New Mexico.

Hatch peppers are part of the Capsicum family and produce large spicy seeds inside the top part, just below the stem. Their color can be green, although some varieties can turn yellow, orange or brown. The hatch peppers can range in heat from very mild to some which are spicier than jalapenos, but most of those available at local grocery stores are mildly spicy.

So, though not a typically Indian vegetable, I have cooked it in a Punjabi style and the dish not only tasted good with a nice fresh aroma but had the crunchiness similar to cooking with bell peppers. It can be combined with other vegetables like onions and potatoes and the peppers are large enough to be stuffed with mashed potatoes, rice or even minced meats.

This recipe is easy to prepare and can be made fast in 10 minutes – 5 minutes on high heat and 5 minutes on low heat – and is a tasty side dish that can be eaten with roti or paranthas. Some people even eat it with pasta. So, if you don’t have much time to cook, try this easy, fast and nutritious recipe.

15 large Hatch Mirch (green Hatch peppers)
½ cup besan (chick pea flour)
3 tbsp tael (olive oil or vegetable oil)
1 tsp sarson ke til (mustard seed)
½ tsp ajawain (carom seeds)
½ tsp haldi (turmeric powder)
Spices to taste: namak (salt), mirch (red pepper), lasan (garlic powder), garam masala, amchoor (mango powder)

1. Wash the Hatch peppers and dry with a soft cloth. Slice them lengthwise and remove the seeds and the top stalks and keep them in a plate to one side. Some people may want to cut them into small or medium pieces.

2. In a frying pan heat the oil over a medium flame. Throw in the mustard seed, turmeric and hatch peppers, stir to mix. Cover and let it cook in its own steam for 10 minutes over high heat.

3. Take the cover off and check for tenderness. The Hatch peppers should not become too soft, but should stay slightly firm. Stir gently to make sure it doesn’t stick.

4. Now add the besan, salt, pepper and ajawain and mix to coat. There is no need to add any water. Cook uncovered for 5 minutes on low heat. Check to see that the besan is cooked and the dish is dry of water then turn off the heat. The dish is ready to eat.

Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the old-fashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur, India before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. People have often admired her cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her mid-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share some of her delectable Punjabi recipes.



In India and many other countries where refrigerators are still not available in every household, it is very common to find the grains in the closet become infested with small insects of various types and people there are aware of this problem. Some of these insects love dark but warm places and others prefer more humid and cooler environments. These insects can quickly eat into the kernels of the wheat, rice or lentils and eat into a large part of them, leaving dust and sticky webs that nest with their larvae.

Even though we live in environment controlled homes, the same infestation can happen with grains which are stored for a long time inside the pantries, even if they are kept inside plastic or glass jars with lids. To avoid this, it is important to store the lentils, rice, flours, beans and other grains in plastic bags and place them in the refrigerator drawers, but not in the freezer section.