Mirchi Sabzi

If you read my recipe posts regularly you are probably sick of hearing about the overwhelming bounty from my plot at the local community garden this year. The majority of my garden was taken up by nightshades: tomatoes, eggplants and peppers. Among the most productive pepper plants were the two Hungarian Hot Wax I planted. They produced early in the summer and kept going into the fall, each plant laden with mid-sized glossy peppers featuring bright, medium heat. We used them in all kinds of ways but one of our favourites was this simple recipe I improvized for lunch one day when eyeing yet another massive pile of ’em that had made its way back to our kitchen. There are very few ingredients here and it comes together very quickly but the flavours are very nice. Put it together with a bowl of dal and some chapatis and you’ve got yourself a very nice meal.


  • Roughly 1/2 lb Hungarian Hot Wax peppers or similar, cut in half lengthwise and seed.
  • 1/2 tspn cumin seeds
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tspn haldi/turmeric powder
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt
  • Neutral oil of choice


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons or so of oil in a a large shallow pan over medium heat.
  2. When the oil shimmers add the cumin.
  3. As soon as the cumin splits (but before it scorches) add the sliced onion and mix. Saute till the onion begins to soften.
  4. Add the sliced peppers and salt, mix and saute till the peppers, change colour and begin to shrink a bit (3-5 minutes).
  5. Add the tomato, mix and saute, stirring often till the tomato has completely broken down.
  6. Add the water, bring to a high simmer, cover and cook for another 5 minutes or so—you don’t want the peppers to soften completely.
  7. Uncover the pan, taste and adjust for salt.
  8. Serve with dal and chapatis or rice.


  1. If you don’t have Hungarian Hot Wax peppers any medium-hot pepper will do.
  2. I’ve also made this with a mix of hot and sweet peppers. You could make it with all sweet too I suppose but it needs some heat to balance the sourness of the tomato. So if you go that route add 1/2 tspn or so of a hot chilli powder.
  3. The texture/consistency of the gravy is really up to you. If too thin for your liking when you uncover the pan just let it reduce till you get it where you like it. If too thick, add a bit of water and simmer for a few more minutes, uncovered.



2 thoughts on “Mirchi Sabzi

  1. My childhood memory consists of buying paneer mirchi ki sabzi from restaurant from a hotel near my home and my mom cooking rotis, and the subzi was very tasty. Maybe I will take your recipe and try and add paneer to it. Thank you


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