Making up with Mirchi ka Salan

The first weeks of November saw me go back to the world of 9 to 5 and my son going into deep disillusionment. He had believed that his mommy was going to be there ‘always, always’. Turns out mommy just goes out all day, comes back only in the evening and spends just a couple of hours a day with him. His solution, make for lost time on weekends. So, the last two weekends saw me juggling to do the things that need to be done around the house with a 2 year old attached to the hip, literally. All of this has , of course, taken a toll on the kitchen. It was feeling real neglected.As I entered into the world of planned meals and easy to cook recipes, the past two weeks had seen me sticking with the basic food and really not venturing too far from the roti-dal-sabzi menu. The kitchen was not happy. Yes, disillusionment was just around the corner. Having trouble dealing with one kid who had already decided it was time to force the issue, I decided that making up with my kitchen was the smart thing to do. So, when Aayush, finally trusted me enough to get a shut eye (I guess, he just thought, I would disappear again if he slept), I decided to venture into the world of Hyderabadi food with its much touted Mirchi ka Salan.

MirchiKaSalanNow, I dont claim to be a connosieur of andhra food. In fact, the first time I heard about Mirchi ka Salan was through an Andhra-ite friend of mine. When ‘M’ described it to me, I knew I was going to like it. I mean, fried peppers in a peanut sauce, How can you go wrong!!! It was time to give it a taste. So, armed with a recipe, I forged into the world of Hyderabadi Cuisine.

I went with jalapeno peppers for this dish, though, she had suggested using anaheim. Let me tell you, I should have gone with the Anaheim. Wowee!! Cleared up all our sinuses for sure! Leftovers a couple days later were just too hot for consumption. The next time I would probably remove the innards of the chillis if I decide to stick with jalapeno. Phew!! The gravy is simply fabulous. Not just simply fabulous, but simple and fabulous. My husband suggested putting chicken pieces in the gravy along with the peppers next time. I like the idea and will try it soon, though, ‘M’ thought it was blasphemy to meddle with the perfect Mirchi ka Salan. Sorry, Dear. πŸ™‚

For those of you who haven’t tried this dish, I would certainly recommend it. Try it once. Go for the milder peppers before you venture into the more hots ones. The gravy is a keeper for sure!!

Here’s the recipe as I tried it and as ‘M’ makes it.


Deep/Shallow fry

4 Jalapenos/Anaheim Peppers (Deseeded, if you don’t like things too hot


Ghee/Peanut or Corn Oil

Keep aside. I removed the outer skin of the jalapenos even though ‘M’ doesn’t. Just a personal preference. Wrap the deep fried Jalapenos in a paper towel till cool enough to handle to completely cover. Then just wipe the skin off. The steam does most of the job that way.

Make the salan paste. Grind to a fine paste

ΒΌ cup Roasted Peanuts
ΒΌ cup Dessicated Coconut
1” Fresh Ginger, chopped
1 tsp Sesame Seeds

Add to the paste

1 tsp Asafoetida


2-3 tbsp Ghee/Peanut or Corn Oil

Add the salan paste and cook it till the oil leaves the paste. This takes quite a while and you need to keep stirring it as the peanuts have the tendency to stick. Very important to cook it that long to keep the peanuts from tasting raw. Take the time. Juggle the kid to the other hip(Of course, he is up by now). Sing him a song and take a few seconds away to keep stirring it.
Add a few drops of water, if it starts sticking too much. I did this in a cast iron skillet set on medium/medium-low heat, took about 15 minutes and 2 splashes of water.Once the paste starts leaving the oil (you will actually see the layer of oil separate and its quite gratifying), add

Β½ cup yogurt, whisked smooth
Tumeric/Haldi, a pinch
Salt, to taste

According to ‘M’, thats the proportion. The peanuts,coconut and yogurt go in a 1:1:2 ratio to make the ‘perfect’ salan. The rest can be eye balled. Keep stirring until the oil separated again. A lot quicker this time. Add

2 tbsp Tamarind paste
Water, enough to make it a sauce consistency

Cook for a couple of minutes till the water and tamarind blend with the paste to make a smooth sauce. Add the fried peppers. Bring to a boil and remove from flame. Garnish with

2 tsp coriander leaves, chopped finely

Mirchi ka salan is ready. I served it with hot chapatis and rice, though traditionally, it is served with Hyderabadi Biryani. That, though, is another post. πŸ™‚


36 thoughts on “Making up with Mirchi ka Salan

  1. Mirchi ka salan looks good! I’ve never tried to make this at home. Only had it at restaurants. The recipe you’ve posted does not seem too complicated. Will try it sometime. Thanks for sharing!

    lemme know how it turns out!

  2. I can almost feel my tongue burning πŸ™‚ …… sound amazing Vee. πŸ™‚ Nice to see you back. I can understand what you mean by juggling the house, the little one and the job. πŸ™‚

    Well, juggling is the key word there, rooma πŸ™‚

  3. We just finished having dinner and guess with what..Mirchi_Ka_Salan..a la carte..Followed your recipe to the T except for the fact that I made it with 2 jalapenos and 1 capsicum cut into strips.Altho’ I told my DH that it is a side dish and that we should have only a little bit (something like an achaar)..we both gobbled it like an entree..We just had it with plain rice..and thought I will hold off on the Biriyani until I see a recipe from you on that.Thanks again for sharing the recipe in such great detail.

    P.S. It so happened I was actually juggling my 9 mo daughter Manya from one hip to the other trying to separate the oilfrom the salan paste which took 27 minutes at my end..but it was worth the wait.

    Hey, nice to know it worked out for you!! Isn’t the dish amazing!!..Such simple ingredients, too.
    Btw, love the name Manya!!

  4. I made some gravy, and dunked a handful of peas into it… this recipe is definitely a keeper… very easy uncomplicated gravy… and utterly delicious… thanks for sharing! planning to make ‘baingan ka saalan’ soon

    Lemme know how it turns out!

  5. Congratulations on the new job. And good luck with it too πŸ™‚
    Since I am a wuss when it comes to spicy things I will try your recipe with banana peppers. Thats the only way I can eat it πŸ™‚
    Take care

    I think Jalaopeno, deribbed would work great. But, hey, to each his own. I never thought i would find a jalapeno hot, but by god it was!

  6. Hi Vee, i am a great mirchi/mercha fan, I have never tried this dish before. It will go to the top of my ‘to cook list’. Its great to know more about other dishes from various indian regions….thanks for sharing…now tell me, do i need a kid on my hip, when i am cooking or is it optional…~grin~…peace

    oh I am sorry, Dilip, but its not at all optional. I am afraid you have to go through the rigours to get something good. πŸ˜‰

  7. Hi Vee,

    Congratulations on going back to 9-5 world.:)

    I like mirchi ka salan. Nice recipe.

    We, in our home prepare little bit differently. Peanut, sesame but no coconut. and we also add just a tiny bit jaggery to the masala to bring a hint of sweetness to the sauce.

    hmmm, jaggery, that sounds interesting. btw, what peppers do you use?

  8. milder peppers definitely work better for me…we also put in fried whole tomatoes and fried baby eggplant to this dish in hydrabad…..same recipe for sauce….

    if you use baby eggplant….quarter the eggplant to the stem, but leave the stem on so the eggplant still stays “whole”….this will allow the flavors of the sauce to be absorbed.

    oh..I like the Fried tomato thing. I think I am going to try it this weekend. What kind of tomatoes do you use?…like the small cherry ones or the plum ones?

  9. well well girls.. i have been searching for the perfect dum ka biryani for years.. had it in almost all the hotels in hyderabad .. right from road side hotels in old city to grand kakatiya.. but that perfect taste.. somehow eludes me.. now i have taken upon myself to prepare it at home. share the secret, if ya know, about the dum ka biryani ka recipe.

    I haven’t eaten the authentic Hyderabadi Dum ka biryani yet, but I have a killer pressure cooker chicken biryani recipe, if that interests you. Recipe can be tweaked to cook in the oven at the lowest temperature until the house smells like … Well…”Biryani” πŸ™‚ …Well see, now you have made me hungry!!!

  10. any medium sized tomato should work….i think plum is your best bet…..beefsteak are too big and cherry tomatoes may just fall apart

    I have a long, drawn out hyderabadi biryani recipe…i can email it to you if you want rather than post here

  11. Hi,
    I loved ur blog. Tried gatte ki sabzi and mirchi ka salan. Today I hope I can get time to make methi matar malai. I loved the mirchi ka salan. I deseeded the mirchi and had burning fingers for 2 days but I didnt mind much coz the resut(mirchi ka salan) was very tasty. I added just a small potato and some sugar to the gravy. It was khatta, meetha, tikha all at once. πŸ™‚ loved it. Thanks for all the recipes and specially your style of explaining them. Keep posting them.

  12. Vee-
    When I made it, I used jalapenos with seeds too…yeah, it’s on the top end of my tolerance for heat….but still very good…the blasphemous addition of chicken sounds [in a whisper] like a great idea! πŸ™‚ So, Anaheim-strength chiles are often used eh? Now we find out…..or do you think habaneros or bhot jolokia would be better? πŸ˜‰

    I tried it with the chicken and jalapenos. The chicken kind of cuts away the heat, bringing the heat to tolerable levels. But, a lot of people I talked with after ‘the incident’ πŸ™‚ , advocated the use of anaheim. No one thought chicken was a good idea. Which is why, I immediately went ahead and did it πŸ˜‰ .

    Habaneros and bhot jholakia’s?? .. go ahead, pel. Give me your address first, so that I can have the local firestation at hand when you eat it πŸ˜€ A good friend that I am.

  13. Ha ha! No…you first! πŸ™‚
    Seriously though, I do make a fresh salsa called Xni Pec from the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico: habaneros, onions, citrus juice, salt and wee pinches of this and that… I have it with tortilla chips, the endorphin rush is a blast….a few martinis help…but if I made this dish with them, I’d ending up diluting it with a ton of rice…and that’s no fun. The fire department stopping does sound fun however….oddly enough, a friend knew this guy who was a firefighter who bragged about loving hot food, so I passed some of this xni pec to him; his wife said he took a big scoop and then a second later ran upstairs to the bathroom and stuck his mouth under the bathtub faucet in total agony… poor thing.
    I’m going to be a rebel like you and try murghi mirchi ka salan next time πŸ™‚ …with one of the milder chiles that is…

    XniPec, 1 habarnero, 2 tbsp Lemon juice, 2 tbsp orange juice and Lots of sweet onion and tomatoes. That’s the way I make it and about the only way I can have it. I notice you, on the other hand, talk about habarneros as in plural! Poor firefighter.. On the other hand, a few martinis might help πŸ˜€ . I have to make those lychee martinis, now. Darn Manisha!

  14. Oh…Maneeeeshi hit you with the lychee-tinis too eh? Those do sound good though don’t they?
    I can’t believe you know about xni pec!!!! You are the first person ever!!! Traditionally its made with Seville(bitter)oranges you know(?)…the orange and lemon/lime combo approximates the flavour….I remember in Phoenix(Tempe actually) they have streets lined with ’em…and no one does anything with them! The rind is pretty intensely scented though…Melissa’s online produce has them for shipping in like Dec-Jan only…but yeah, last time I made about 3 cups of it- I use about equal habaneros to onions- and gave most of it away to a bunch of young guys who thought they’d “seen it all” as far as hot food is concerned…have you ever “sprung it” on someone for the first time? The face is photo-worthy…

  15. Lets just say I am not as sadistic as you are πŸ˜€ I serve it complete with warnings,disclaimers and sour cream on the side.
    Equal Habarneros and onions. [He is mad , I tell you.] πŸ˜†

    I once had this bright idea about making salsa with Habarneros. I googled to see if anybody else had this idea and the results thereof. I found the XniPec. I gingerly tried it out with one habarnero and decided that was as hot as we can take it. Do you make it often? I don’t.. Once a year maybe after a really bad cold πŸ™‚ I have heard of seville oranges, never had one though. Do you get them at the regular grocery store around your place? Never seen them around here…

  16. Nope! We ain’t got ’em ’round here neither…unless the Mexican markets might have them in season. I make it like twice a year- yeah, that stuff can wake the dead, let alone a cold. You are so nice to serve it with warnings and sour cream. Being nice doesn’t really come naturally for me…ever try chicken marinated and cooked in sour cream with chipotles in adobo? Smoky taste, pretty colour, manageable heat level…good with flatbreads.
    I made a cooked-and-strained salsa with habaneros and black krim(purple) tomatoes last year(salsa picante)…a more mellow, blended flavour than xni pec, which is classified as a salsa cruda (ie:fresh salsa).

  17. two negatives in the same sentence, pel. Tch, tch. Does cooking mellow down the habarnero or is it all that tomato ?
    A mexican restaurant in my area serves up a killer Chipotle Chicken. I do not bother making my own, its that good. we go there almost everyother weekend. The spouse orders the enchilada in mole sauce (which is very good, too) and I order the chipotle chicken. Yum!!

    Manisha, [Shakes my head]. There are drinks with tomatoes in them. It is called Tomato Juice or in your case, Bloody Mary πŸ˜†

  18. Well.I like bloody marys…virgin marys too…it’s a good deal; some places give you a whole plate of different pickles on the side, so it’s like lunch. For my people, it’s a sunday tradition, if anyone is awake or not busy that is.

    That restaurant sounds great…you two always order the same thing??!

    That cooked sauce is pretty hot…a drop will make your face warm, but the flavour is…the flavours all blend into one…in contrast to the fresh sauce where things are sharp, perky and still independent.

    Manisha…I bet tomato juice with goda masala and vodka would be interesting…well, wait..what’s in the saar?

    Definitely not vodka πŸ˜€
    When you go to a restaurant that often, you have your ‘usuals’.

    I love tomato in every other form, so I tried the bloody mary, fully expecting to like it. But, didn’t. I tried the tomato juice thereafter and hated that stuff, too. I love Tomato Soup, though. Go figure!

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