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Recipe: Stuffed Indian Peppers

I love Indian food and to be honest, that’s one (of the many)  reason I’ve been in India for so long. The Indian diet suits me perfectly: full-fledged vegetarian meals, well seasoned with lots of lentils, vegetables, rice, yogurt and homemade bread.

In the meantime, I already master the art of Indian cooking quite well and in fact the Indian home cooking is not very complicated to prepare. The only difficulty: you have to FEEL the cooking. Normally no Indian housewife meassures quantities or time. It is rather done by the senses! This can be a bit unusual for us, being used to have exact quantities and timings!

Two days ago I tried a somewhat complicated recipe for the preparation of stuffed peppers. I felt like cooking and was looking for a nice and somewhat challenging occupation for the evening and had found it with this dish!

Here is the recipe that consists of 5 steps. First, prepare the two different basic sauces. Then make the filling for the pepper pods, later you fill them and finally the final tomato sauce is prepared.

Some of the ingredients are a bit exotic. You get, however, all the spices in the Asia shop. Otherwise, you can also replace the mango powder with some lemon juice and the dried fenugreek leaves can also be omitted!

To this dish Indian Naan Bread taste very well. But rice will do as well.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients (also for final sauce):
6 medium-sized peppers
2-3 teaspoons cream or yogurt
1.5 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala spice (Indian spice mixture, to be replaced by curry powder)
1 teaspoon fenugreek leaves (dried)
1 teaspoon fresh chopped coriander
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon oil
Salt to taste

For the first sauce:
2 onions in thinnly sliced
8-10 Cashew Nuts
1 teaspoon oil

For the second sauce:
4 tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon tomato paste
2 cm ginger
4-5 Garlic Cloves
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon mango powder
a pinch of turmeric
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon oil

For the filling:

2 medium potato, cooked and stamped
1/4 cup peas
1/4 cup finely diced Paneer cheese, if not available: feta, mozzarella or tofu
2 teaspoons freshly chopped coriander
1 small finely diced onion
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon mango powder or some juice of a lemon
1/4 teaspoon cumin+1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves
4-5 almonds chopped into larger pieces
2 tablespoons raisins
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon oil

Preparation of the first sauce:

  • Heat a teaspoon of oil in the pan and fry the onion, till brownish, then set aside
  • Soak the cashews in warm water for 15 min
  • Use a little water to grind the roated onions and cashews with the blender into a fine paste

Preparation of the second sauce:

  • In a frying pan, heat the oil and add the chopped ginger and garlic. Roast for a minute until light brown and add the chopped tomatoes and fry until the oil separates from the mixture. Add coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric, mango powder, salt and tomato paste and roast for a minute. Cool down the mixture and blend to a smooth mass.

For the filling:

  • Boil and stamp potatoes.
  • Cook peas until soft
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan and roast the cumin and fennel seeds in the hot oil, add the dismembered cashews and the diced onion till they took some colour
  • Mix the potato stamp and peas well together
  • Add chilli powder, mango powder, cumin powder, garam masala, fenugreek and salt and fry for a minute, then turn off the stove
  • Add the cheese, raisins and freshly chopped coriander and mix well

For the stuffed peppers:

  • Remove the heads of the pods, the cores and the white
  • Oil the peppers from both sides and place them in a refractory baking table lined with aluminium foil
  • Add a teaspoon of the red sauce (sauce 2) to all the pods, then fil them with 1 tablespoon of filling. Always alternate this process until the peppers are filled completly, the last layer should be the potato mix. The sauce keeps the stuffing from being to dry and gives an extra flavour.
  • Brush the filling with a little butter and bake in the preheated oven at 180°C for 15 to 20 min until the pods become lightly brownish

The final sauce:

  • Heat a teaspoon of oil and butter in the pan and roast the first sauce (onion cashew sauce) for a few minutes
  • Add the second sauce (tomato sauce) and cook until the oil is cut off from the mixture
  • Add the cream or yogurt, chilli powder, garam masala, salt and fenugreek and simmer for a few minutes
  • Arrange the peppers on a serving plate and pour the sauce over
  • Decorate everything with coriander

Enjoy your meal!