Maharashtrian Green Chile Thecha

Photo by Annada Rathi
  • Prep time
    5 minutes
  • Cook time
    25 minutes
  • Makes
    1/4 cup
Author Notes

Thecha means a hot, sometimes super hot, green chile peppers chutney. Thecha comes from the Marathi (my mother tongue) word for “to pound.” And that’s how thecha is made, by pounding cooked or uncooked green peppers – with or without additions like garlic, lime, cumin seeds – in a mortar and pestle. It is a fireball of heat and paired with sorghum bread called bhakri is classic farmer food of Western India. It is another one of those dishes for which every fan has a story or a favorite recipe. —Annada Rathi


  • 13 pieces

    Thai chile peppers

  • 2

    medium sized cloves of garlic peeled

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    cumin seeds

  • 1/4 teaspoon


  • 1/2 teaspoon

    vegetable oil

  1. De-stem the peppers, wash them, wipe them dry.
  2. Pour oil in a skillet – cast iron or nonstick. Add peppers, garlic cloves and turn the heat to medium to low.
  3. Cover the skillet, preferably with a glass lid. Saute the peppers to avoid burning.
  4. The peppers will soften and get a transparent and a brown char and the garlic cloves will get a patchy brown spots too.
  5. Turn the heat off after about 20 minutes or so. Let the peppers cool down.
  6. Throw the peppers, garlic, salt and cumin seeds in a mortar and pound with a pestle till the peppers and garlic disappear into a coarse, thick paste. Store thecha in a glass bottle, will last for 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator. If you find it dry, pour a swirl of olive oil on top.
  7. There are many ways to eat thecha. Mix thecha with a few drops of lime juice and 1/2 a teaspoon of olive oil, to eat with naan or roti. Spread a thin layer on pizza base before the tomato sauce for a heat kick. Add a pinch to black bean soup. Mix with Greek yogurt and make a dip for sweet potato fries.

To some people’s frustration, I like to talk about food before cooking, while cooking, while eating and of course after eating.

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