Menaskai is a mouth watering side dish oftenly made at our home using ripe Mango, Pineapple, Bitter gourd, Capsicum (tastes real good and has a unique flavor..my mother's invention!).
The main ingredient is the Sesame seeds which gives the distinct aroma to the dish. They have to be dry roasted till they are nice dark brown and this step is of prime importance. These are few tips passed on to me by my mother to check if they are roasted well: Pick few seeds (in case you are using black sesame seeds) and crush them with your fingers on your palm to remove their outer skin. The seed within should have turned dark brown spreading the distinct aroma. Also note that the seeds need to be roasted even after they've spluttered for them to be well done. If under roasted, they will give out the raw smell in the curry which is a disaster.
The second main ingredient is the Urad dal/Bengal gram which is used in little excess. Its aroma enhances the flavor of the dish and is a good thickening agent of the dish.
Here is the recipe for Capsicum Menaskai.
Diced Capsicum- 1 cup
Tamarind pulp- 3 tsp
Jaggery- 4 tsp
Grated coconut- 1 tbsp
Sesame seeds- 1 tsp
Urad dal- 3 tsp
Red chillies- 3-4
Coriander seeds- 1/4 tsp
Dry roast Sesame seeds and keep aside. Add a tbsp of oil to a pan and add Urad dal. Fry till golden brown. Add Red chilles and the Coriander seeds. Fry them well. Now add the grated Coconut and some Curry leaves. Grind this to a fine paste with Sesame seeds. Transfer this mixture into a vessel and add turmeric, tamarind pulp, jaggery and salt to taste. Let it boil for few minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate small pan, heat ghee. To this add few grains of Urad dal, Mustard seeds and a Red chilly (cut into peices). When the Mustard starts to splutter, add few Curry leaves and add the diced capsicum. Fry Capsicum till golden brown.
Add to the boiling mixture and mix well. Serve hot with Rice.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2 people