Recipe: No Onion, No Garlic Broccoli in Red Pepper Gravy


During the 10/11 days of Navratri, I do not eat food which has onions and/or garlic added to it. So this means, we’re usually cooking traditional south Indian Brahmin food, which does not incorporate these two vegetables. After a few days of cooking traditional dishes, I was bored and so decided to make something north Indian, but to make these gravy-based vegetables without onions and garlic is a challenge. I also had two heads of broccoli which were going to spoil soon so I experimented with this dish which tried to replace garlic and onions with asafoetida and cashew nuts and sesame seeds. It was a hit and even though I made enough for the whole day, we only ate for a single meal and I had to make something else for dinner!


No Onion, No Garlic Broccoli in Red Capsicum Gravy


  • 2 heads broccoli, cut into florets, washed and kept aside
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp carom seeds/ajwain
  • 4-5 cashew nuts
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder or sabzi masala powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped roughly
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tbsps oil
  • Coriander leaves to garnish


  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and add 1 tsp cumin seeds.
  • When it splutters, add the coriander seeds, fennel seeds, carom seeds and cashew nuts.
  • Let the cashew nuts brown and then add the red bell peppers and the tomatoes.
  • When the tomatoes start to dissolve, switch off the gas and add the sesame seeds.
  • Let it cool completely and when cool, blend it into a fine paste.
  • In another clean pan, heat the remaining oil and add the balance cumin seeds.
  • When it splutters, add the asafoetida and turmeric and stir for a couple of seconds.
  • Now add the washed broccoli heads and stir-fry for a few minutes till the broccoli gets coated with the spices.
  • When the broccoli is half cooked, add the blended paste and season it with salt, red chilli powder and garam masala powder or sabzi masala.
  • Add water if the gravy is very thick and dry and bring it to the consistency you want.
  • Cook this gravy and the broccoli for a few minutes. Do not overcook the broccoli and keep it slightly al-dente.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with any rice or flat bread.



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