Creamy, nutty, spicy with a bit of tang is how one would describe Mirchi ka salan, a culinary delicacy from Hyderabadi Cuisine. Made with green chilies (bhavnagri chilies), peanuts, sesame seeds, dried coconut, aromatic spices and tamarind paste, this perfectly complements the Hyderabadi Biryani or any Biryani for that matter. If kothu or Malabar parotta have their salna, then Hyderabadi dum biryani is always paired with Bagara baingan or mirchi ka salan. Yes, this is tone of the delicious sides you’ll find served with mutton biryani in restaurants across Hyderabad and Telangana.
Are you looking for sides other than Raita and Dal Tadka to serve with your Vegetable Biryani? Mirchi ka salan makes a tasty and satisfying swap that adds a punch to your biryani and pulao. An easy to make recipe that you can also enjoy with flavored rice dishes or flatbreads like paratha, naan or rotis.
Salan is a spicy, nutty, tangy and aromatic Hyderabadi side dish served with biryani. The base of the curry is made with peanuts, sesame seeds, dried coconut, tamarind and spices. There are numerous varieties of salan made with eggplants, tomatoes, large green chilies etc.
What is Mirchi Ka Salan?
Mirchi ka salan is an Urdu term where ‘Mirchi’ means ‘Chilies’ and ‘Salan’ is nothing but a ‘curry’. Mirchi ka salan is a biryani side dish where green chilies are simmered in a hot spicy and tangy curry.
Hyderabadi cuisine like Mughlai has a lot of ace dishes in its culinary treasure trove. Mirchi ka salan is as Hyderabadi as it gets. A traditional recipe usually served during festival like Eid, weddings and other celebrations, it has now been popularized by eateries serving Telangana cuisines.
What makes this chili curry unique?
This isn’t the first Indian dish to feature chilies as the main ingredient. The combination of peanuts, tamarind and sesame with chilies makes it a stand out recipe.
Did you know that mirchi ka salan is similar to a Maharashtrian dish – Mirchi che panchamrut. But the two dishes differ in a couple of ways. For one Panchamrit uses a slightly different set of spices and jaggery. And it is usually served with bhakri or Puran poli.
About this recipe
This mirchi ka salan recipe provides you with a simple yet delightful dish that makes lunches and dinners special. My spicy curry is made with green chilies that are lightly fried and then simmered with aromatics and spices. Like most Indian stews, this dish has a gravy base.
The masala paste gets the creaminess from peanuts, and sesame seeds which also help tone down the heat levels a bit. The curry gets a dose of tanginess with the use of tamarind and a final garnish.
Variations of this dish exist with chefs and home cooks adding their own version of spices and tempering. You can add coconut to further reduce the heat of the chili gravy. Swap in vegetables like beans, brinja,l okra (lady’s finger) or bell peppers for chilis. But keep the recipe consistent with the use of tamarind, peanuts and sesame seeds.
My other recommendation is avoid using hot chilies in this recipe if you can’t tolerate heat. Use medium to mild green chilies instead.
This gravy is great for making ahead and cooking a big batch. It stays fresh in the fridge for 4-5 days, and freezes well. Add more oil to the curry if you plan to freeze it.
How to make Mirchi ka salan (Stepwise photos)
1. Soak 2 tablespoons tamarind in 6 tablespoons hot water. Set aside to soften. Later squeeze the tamarind and filter the juice. On a low to medium heat, dry roast 2 tablespoons peanuts until golden & aromatic. Keep stirring often to fry them uniformly.
2. Add 1½ tablespoons sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon copra (or desiccated coconut). Dry roast on the lowest heat till you begin to smell them nice. Do not burn. Remove to a plate and cool.
3. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the same pan and fry ¾ cup sliced onions until golden, stirring often.
4. Add 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste.
5. Stir and fry until the raw smell goes off completely. Cool this as well.
6. Blend together all the roasted ingredients with 4 tablespoons water to a slightly coarse paste. [you will blend onions, peanuts, sesame and coconut.]
7. Do not make a very smooth or thin paste. It has to be slightly coarse.
8. Rinse green chillis and wipe them dry. Make a cut length wise. They can also be deseeded as I did. You can use a mix of hot and mild chilis too. Fry them in 1 tablespoon oil for 2 to 3 mins until they blister. Set them aside.
Make Mirchi Ka salan
9. Add a tsp of oil. When the oil becomes hot add ½ teaspoon mustard seeds and ½ teaspoon cumin seeds. When they begin to splutter, add curry leaves and fry until crisp.
10. Add the onion peanut paste and pour 1½ cups water. Stir and mix well before the water turns hot to prevent any lumps.
11. Add ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon garam masala, ½ teaspoon red chili powder and filtered tamarind juice. You can also adjust the spice powders to get the desired color for the gravy. Add 2 tbsp. whisked curd if desired, it adds volume to the gravy. I do not use it. Add more water if needed, the gravy must be thin now, it will thicken after cooking.
12. Let it to boil on a low to medium flame for 5 to 8 minutes.
13. When the gravy turns slightly thick, add fried chilies and stir well. Cook on a low heat until the chillis wilt off and the gravy slightly thickens. Taste test and adjust salt and tamarind juice. Salan thickens further upon cooling so it has to be slightly runny but yet thick.
Mirchi ka salan is ready to serve with biryani or pulao.
- Choose chilies that are low on heat otherwise the salan turns too hot.
- Roasting peanuts on a low to medium flame is key to a flavorful and aromatic salan. So ensure they are roasted well to bring out the aroma of roasted peanuts.
- Sesame seeds are another ingredient used to lend a unique nutty aroma. If you do not have them then just replace them with coconut.
- Traditionally tamarind is added to lend a slight tang to the mirchi ka salan. However it can be replaced with lemon juice while serving but you will miss on the flavors.
- You can make the salan ahead and refrigerate. When needed just bring the mirchi ka salan to a rolling boil and then add the fried chilies.
- Instead of chilies, you can also add some boiled or sauteed veggies to make vegetable salan.
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 2 tablespoons peanuts
- 1½ tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoons desiccated coconut or copra
- 2 tablespoons oil (+ 1 teaspoon)
- ¾ cup onion sliced thin (1 medium onion)
- 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
- 6 green chillis (less hot or a mix)
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 1½ to 2 cups water (adjust as needed)
- ½ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- 2 tablespoons tamarind (small lemon sized ball)
- ¼ cup water to soak tamarind
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon garam masala (more if preferred)
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder or as needed
- Soak tamarind in ¼ cup hot water. Let it soften and later squeeze to extract some juice. Filter the tamarind juice to a small bowl and set aside.
- On a low to medium heat, dry roast peanuts until golden & aromatic,
- Then add sesame seeds and coconut. Fry until they begin to smell good. Transfer and cool them.
- In the same pan, heat 1 tbsp oil and saute onions until golden.
- Add ginger garlic paste & saute until the raw smell disappears. Cool this as well.
- Blend together all the roasted ingredients and onions with ¼ cup water. Make a thick slightly coarse paste.
- Rinse the green chilies and wipe them dry. Make an slit lengthwise and deseed the seeds.
- Heat oil 1 tablespoon oil in the same pan and fry chilies for 2 to 3 minutes until they blister. Set aside.
Making mirchi ka salan
- Heat another teaspoon oil in the same pan. Add mustard seeds & cumin. When they pop, add curry leaves and fry until the leaves turn crisp.
- Turn down the heat and add the onion peanut and coconut paste.
- Pour water. Stir and make a thin gravy. Incorporate the paste with the water to make a gravy before the water turns hot.
- Next add chili powder, tamarind juice, garam masala and turmeric.
- Stir and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes until slightly thick. Add fried chilies and simmer on a low heat until they wilt. Taste test and adjust salt and tamarind if required.
- Salan turns thick further upon cooling so turn off when it is slightly runny but yet thick.
- Serve mirchi ka salan with any biryani.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
Mirchi ka salan recipe first published in September 2015. Updated and republished in January 2022.