Food Story: Minnie & Capsicum (bell pepper) Peppercorn Stew

Thank goodness it’s Friday, right? Well, strap yourselves in for a great time because I have a real surprise for you, today. Minnie, from The Lady 8 home, has generously & graciously agreed to share one of her food stories with us. Like me, Minnie is fairly new to food blogging; however, she has come out of the gate swinging and doing a fantastic job. Her blog has a lot of information on recipes, gardening, do-it-yourself tips and how to manage a home. Minnie also recently won our first Food Photo Contest with her picture A blueberry whipped cream cherry twister parfait with ‘Weins wine cellar’ calender from California. Her newest Food Photo entry Exotic Rose Almond Ice Cream Shake is up and ready for voting so please feel free to stop by and help select our next winner. I know you’ll love Minnie’s food story and her blog so stop by soon and visit. In the meantime, sit back and enjoy Minnie’s food story … 

Minnie - The Lady 8 Home

Minnie – The Lady 8 Home

My very first guest post! Yeah!! Thanks CJ for giving me the opportunity. You rock! I am honored to be guest posting here.

A tiny weeny intro: My name is Minnie – Free-lance writer, Editor, Cosmetologist, Event manager with a public relations background. I blog at thelady8home.com. My portfolio includes being a wife to a fabulous man, who is as famous for wearing his heart on his sleeve for me as he is for losing his temper and finding it minutes later; Mom of two amazing human boys who are the light of my life and two K9s (a boy GS and a girl Rottweiler) who are a part of my heart. My 4 kids keep me busy all day long. I also have 4 fish that I take care of in a koi pond. My son has named them Nemo, Opti, Fishy and Rex, and only he can tell them apart :D

But most of all, I am a big time foodie. I love to eat, cook, feed and eat out. Spinning stories is another of my longtime loves.

In India, where I come from, a girl tends to lead quite a sheltered and pampered life. Leaving her parents’ house unless she is duly married and ‘well settled’ is discouraged. Even more so if she is a student in a local college, or works in the same city as them. If she is residing outside her parents’ city of residence for college or for a job, then she goes to live in a Girls’ hostel, whose rules and regulations are even more fun than an average Indian parent’s (e.g. 6 pm curfew and absolutely no male visitation, never mind that she might be 30 years old and completely independent otherwise).

In both cases, she doesn’t cook much. At home her Mom pampers her (she has more important stuff to do anyway – like study/work, shop, hang out with friends and generally look pretty) and she often has help like cooks and cleaning ladies. At the hostel, she often does not have a place to cook and she must eat at the hostel canteen. If she is lucky, she might get a paying guest accommodation or share a room rent with other girls in a house, but in most cases, kitchen is rarely an option. Then she gets ‘dabba’ from dabbawala’. Translated, she orders lunch and dinner boxes from the local caterers who cater to such individuals. Lucky girl, don’t you think?

Roles change in a flash the moment she gets married. Somehow she is expected to acquire super cooking skills overnight and feed the entire clan delicious dishes, which is then proclaimed with pride, typically by the presiding matriarch of the family, ‘my bahu (bride) has made this with her own hands’. (Well, I don’t know anyone who uses someone else’s hand to make anything, still that’s the way it’s always said).

I wasn’t any different. In due time, as my marriage came near, I started on some crash courses on cooking. I acquired cook books, jotted down notes, watched cooking shows on TV and even enrolled in some cooking classes. However, most of us know that kitchen experience is the best teacher, which, unfortunately didn’t start for me until after I got married. That’s when my cooking disasters started.

One of my earliest disasters was this complete vegetarian dish. It had no name other than being called a ‘stew’. Thanks to a well-wishing relative, I learned that my Father-in-law loved this particular item. I took pains to learn it, only to discover later that no one was impressed with my finished product, including myself. This particular stew must be made in a certain fashion for it to taste just right. And it came from the man himself – my Father-in-law, who himself happens to be an amazing cook and the creator of the said stew in today’s blog post. The day I first tasted it as it is supposed to be made, it totally blew me away.

The combo of bell peppers, black peppercorns and cauliflowers add a fantastic dimension to this stew. Eventually I named it Capsicum Peppercorn Stew.

Capsicum Peppercorn Stew by Minnie (The Lady 8 Home) - Food Stories Follow Me on Pinterest

Capsicum Peppercorn Stew – The Lady 8 Home

Capsicum (bell pepper) Stew flavored with Black Peppercorns

Serves: 4
Prep time: 2 Min
Cook time: 25 Min
Difficulty level: 2/5
Nutrition: Low in cholesterol; High in: dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C. This stew is also very rich in antioxidants.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Red bell pepper cubed into 1″ pieces
  • 1 cup green bell pepper cubes into 1″ pieces
  • 2 potatoes halved
  • 1 large onion cut into 4 equal pieces
  • ½ cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 cups large cauliflower florets (#1)
  • ½ cup carrots
  • 2 tomatoes halved
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp whole black pepper corns ( #2)
  • 1’ cinnamon sick
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Few fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
  • Salt to tatse
  • 1 tsp clarified butter (optional) – if you don’t have it, its ok, skip this step. But DO NOT substitute with butter.

Instructions:

  1. In a deep large pan, heat oil.
  2. Put all the ingredients in (except for clarified butter), and stir for 30 seconds.
  3. Fill the pan with water to top the vegetables.
  4. Bring to a boil.
  5. Partially cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.
  6. Check to see if the vegetables are done (refer to #1 below). If not, continue to simmer till the potatoes are cooked through.
  7. Add ghee (clarified butter), take it off the flame and serve hot.

Note #1: Half way through, pick out cauliflowers because that can get overcooked. Add them back when the rest of the vegetables are done, simmer for 1 minute and switch off the flame.

Note#2: Whole black peppers can be a nuisance and many people don’t like biting on them. When added in large quantities, they can be impossible to pick. In this dish, they play a very crucial role as they impart the flavor without making it hot. So I use a small metal tea infuser to lock in the whole black peppers and drop it into the simmering soup. Before serving, simply pick it up and discard. You can use it to cook all kinds of whole spices. You can buy these online from Amazon.

Capsicum Peppercorn Stew by Minnie (The Lady 8 Home) - Food Stories Follow Me on Pinterest

1. Mixed Veggies for Stew – The Lady 8 Home

Capsicum Peppercorn Stew by Minnie (The Lady 8 Home) - Food Stories Follow Me on Pinterest

2. Toss Them Around in Oil – The Lady 8 Home

Capsicum Peppercorn Stew by Minnie (The Lady 8 Home) - Food Stories Follow Me on Pinterest

3. Top with Water – The Lady 8 Home

Capsicum Peppercorn Stew by Minnie (The Lady 8 Home) - Food Stories Follow Me on Pinterest

4. Black Peppercorns in Infuser – The Lady 8 Home

Capsicum Peppercorn Stew by Minnie (The Lady 8 Home) - Food Stories Follow Me on Pinterest

5. Cooking with Infuser – The Lady 8 Home

Capsicum Peppercorn Stew by Minnie (The Lady 8 Home) - Food Stories Follow Me on Pinterest

6. Take Out Cauliflower – The Lady 8 Home

Capsicum Peppercorn Stew by Minnie (The Lady 8 Home) - Food Stories Follow Me on Pinterest

7. Cover and Cook – The Lady 8 Home

Capsicum Peppercorn Stew by Minnie (The Lady 8 Home) - Food Stories Follow Me on Pinterest

8. Take Out Infuser – The Lady 8 Home

Capsicum Peppercorn Stew by Minnie (The Lady 8 Home) - Food Stories Follow Me on Pinterest

9. Stew is Done – The Lady 8 Home

Capsicum Peppercorn Stew by Minnie (The Lady 8 Home) - Food Stories Follow Me on Pinterest

Stew is Served – The Lady 8 Home

This stew can be served by itself or with rice. Personally I love to eat it with rice.

Happy Eating!

Minnie – The Lady 8 Home
Blog: http://www.thelady8home.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Thelady8home
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thelady8home
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/thelady8home/

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What do you think?

  1. Something special from your side that’s why you are making some special dishes !! That is good to be take in a month I think that is good to take it !! Thanks

  2. What a fascinating insight into your culture, Minnie. Thanks for that and for a delicious recipe.
    Joy recently posted … Facelift for my new sitesMy Profile

  3. What an interesting story! I love learning about new cultures and how others lives are different from mine now and growing up. The life of a young woman in India is quite interesting, and compared to the fact that I moved out at 17 and lived on my own until I got married 3 years later, it very, very different! You definitely have moved past those limitations and you seem like one very independent and confident woman as well as a good cook! This stew looks delicious! I love the large chunks of vegetables and the broth looks so rich and scrumptious!
    mjskit recently posted … Purple Yam Ice Cream by Wok With RayMy Profile

    • Thank you for your lovely words MJ. I was as independent as they came, and did a lot of independent stuff that was not a norm for girls from my background. I guess I was blessed to have parents who had very broad outlook. So I had an ideal childhood, where I was pampered, protected, but learned to exercise my independent thoughts. Independence is also has a lot to do with the state of mind. And eventually found a soul mate who let me fly.
      Minnie recently posted … Capsicum Pepper Stew – spices and herbsMy Profile

    • I found this food story fascinating, as well. Recently, I’ve been reading a lot of food stories related to Indian culture but no one explained it quite like Minnie. She did a great job!

  4. Yum, this stew sounds so amazing. I was never taught to cook either; I learned as a matter of survival.

    And on a completely nerdy note, you can buy a DeathStar tea infuser from Think Geek.
    Kim recently posted … White Chocolate Chip CupcakesMy Profile

    • Thanks Kim !! I love tea infusers. They are so multi purpose!
      I have a confession to make…..you know, I embellished a bit ……in reality there is a very large female population in India still who are made to learn cooking at a very early age. All their education is geared towards fetching a good ‘groom’. They go to college not to make a career, but to get the degree so that they can get married to a degree holder……They don’t have a bad upbringing or a bad life, but their life is so male centric that they never learn to be truly independent.
      Minnie recently posted … Capsicum Pepper Stew – spices and herbsMy Profile

    • I was never to taught to cook either, Kim … Thx for stopping by :-)

  5. CJ, THANK you for the fabulous, and totally rocking introduction :D More than that, for the opportunity to me to guest post here. I don’t know if I will bring you any traffic, but I will sure bring you a lot of happy smiles when I come here and a heart full of thanks for all the kind words you have written here :D
    Minnie recently posted … Capsicum Pepper Stew – spices and herbsMy Profile

    • Minnie … Happy smiles and heartfelt thanks have arrived & I thank you so much … Thx so much for sharing your food story with us … You’re welcome here anytime :-)

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