Sunday, May 1, 2011

Green Bell Pepper Gothsu (sour and spicy sauce)

The recipe is again one from my lunch room. Not from the friend who has provided the most recipes for the lunch room series. The friend is in India now trying to get what is called a H1B visa stamping.

From what I understand the H1B visa is issued here in the US but the stamping apparently has to happen in the person's country of birth. The exploitation by employers who sponsor someone a H1B visa are numerous. These employers are the bottom feeders who don't create any jobs but make money supplying the cheapest labor to employers who do not want to sponsor these visas. Don't for a minute think these are small businesses these are huge multinational companies who want to be able to hire and fire people generally called contractors. Hiring these kind of workers frees them from some of the legal requirements of having permanently employed workers.

As the number of years it takes to get a Green Card getting longer and longer a lot of these H1B visa holders are pretty much slaves to these employers who have found weaknesses and latched on to a system where the people who they employ don't have any easy legal recourse. It almost seems that illegal immigrants are much better off in this system than H1B workers. Failing to pay proper wages, having one amount listed in the papers and paying partial or incomplete payments are just common practices.

The sad part is what enables these employers to get away with these abuses is the employees themselves are willing to bend rules and do whatever it takes to get employed. From inflating the years of experience, cooking up projects and companies that exist only on paper, having someone else take the interview to get a job - the array of abuses are sometimes too hard to believe.

So here is the relationship. It is a hard one to keep track of. There is the company that has the employee(person on a visa doing work) on its payroll. The employer and employee in most cases have never met face to face. This company is selling the skills of its employee to a vendor who in turn sells it to another vendor. At the end of this chain is the preferred vendor who has the contract with the end client - the business which actually has the requirement for a worker. Most times the client is unaware of the treacherous route the worker took to get there. They do not care in most cases, they just want a body to do the work for a short period and get the heck out.

While in most states of India the obsession to work in the US has subsided greatly, Andhra being the only exception it seems to me. There is enough blame to go around. These kind of workers do bring down the rates of native born workers as well as those workers who are unwilling to inflate their resume or work for peanuts.

Now that I have totally digressed I will rein myself back and give you the recipe. I have cooked with bell peppers sliced lengthwise, larger cubes but never chopped into tiny cubes. And so the curry that I saw and tasted with these tiny chopped cubes intrigued me. The friend who shared the curry did not cook it, was cooked for her by her cousin. Anyway I tried to recreate it from taste. It was also very similar to the brinjal curry my grandma and mom make for ven pongal. Recipe here. I added tomatoes for the recipe but it is not required.

Green Bell Pepper Gothsu
1. 2 green bell peppers innards removed and chopped into tiny cubes (about 2 cups)
2. 2 cups onions chopped fine
3. 1/2 cup of finely chopped tomatoes or 1 1/2 tbsp tomatoes (optional)
4. 1 1/2 cups of tamarind pulp from a small lime sized piece of tamarind
5. 1/2 tbsp of chili powder or 1 tbsp of sambhar powder
6. 1/2 tsp of roasted methi powder
7. salt to taste
8. seasonings: split urad dal, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves
9. 1 tsp of oil

1. In a wide mouthed pan heat oil add urad dal and when it starts to brown add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds and when it starts to splutter add curry leaves
2. Now add the onions and let it brown nicely
3. Add the chopped bell peppers and saute for about 8 minutes or so
4. Add the sambhar powder and salt and mix it in well followed by the tomatoes if using
5. Saute for about 4-5 minutes. Add the tamarind pulp
6. Add salt close the lid and let it cook till everything comes together and most of the moisture has evaporated

Serve with white rice.


  1. Never thought of making gothsu with bell peppers,looks delicious and interesting..

  2. Love your recipe dear. We make something similar called Launji, but never add tamarind to it.

    I very agree with your thoughts on the whole H1B and employment and rates going down issue :(

  3. Hi Indo, after a very long time I am coming back here. Hope things are fine at u're end. Will start blogging soon.


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