The other day I bought some chilli peppers, they were sitting prettily in a wicker basket at the counter of local grocery shop, waiting to be picked up by the people like me who has some strange fascination for chilies.
It was kept as an assorted chilies, some are turning red while others are having various shades of green, some are pablano, Italian sweet chilli or jalapeno and some are tiny with red and pinkish hues, quiet unknown for me.
Back home in India, we used to relish the pickled chilies or mirchi ka achar, where good quality of mirchi or chilies are chosen with great care, and then stuffed with pickle spices , drenched in hot mustard oil and infused with the flavor of fennel, cumin, mustard etc. The other way to enjoy it as an appetizer, where the jalapeno or korean chilies are coated with seasoned chickpeas flour and then deep-fried in hot oil, and on an overcast monsoon day you can relish these hot mirchi bhajjis with a cup of coffee…some of the simple pleasures in life. No discussion of chilies can be ever completed without mentioning the celebrated mirchi ka salan from the cuisines of Hyderabad. The lip smacking dish successfully wins every heart whether you love or hate the chilies.
As I cruise through many more global cuisines, I came across some very amusing stuffed chillies recipes and the one which deserves special mention is the sweet chili appetizer that I have tasted in a local Italian restaurant. One preparation was where chilies are stuffed with minced meat and laced with cheese, the other was stuffed with cheese and wrapped with smoked bacon. Both were appetizing and at the same time quiet amusing.
Leaving apart the heat, which is its inherent trait, chilies are very versatile and very accommodating, they can be literally stuffed with anything your heart desire, minced meat, cheese filling, mashed potatoes, eggplants, tofu or even coconut and can be cooked in many ways, braised, pickled, curried, fried, crisp etc.
The kind of filling which I have used here in these stuffed chilies, is very savory keeping in mind the festival time and you can either snack upon them or served as an appetizer and am sure your guest will love them.
Chili peppers : 4
Grated coconut : 4 tbsp
Red onions (thinly sliced) : 1 medium
Candied ginger : 1 small packet
Raisins : a handful
Bread crumbs : 1 tbsp
Shredded cheddar or Parmesan cheese : 1/2 cup
Olive oil : 1 tbsp
Salt and pepper to taste
Preparing the chillies : leave the stalk intact and cut (lengthwise) the chili in half with a knife, take extra care while handling the chilies. Discard the seed and membrane with the help of a knife or spoon. Do not touch the seeds and membrane with your hand.
Drop the chilies in boiling water for couple of minutes, drain and let it dry. Blanching the chilies, this way will reduce the heat or spiciness of chilies.
Preparing the filling : Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan, and then brown the sliced onion for few moments.
Once the onions are browned evenly, add the grated coconut, candied ginger, raisins, seasoned it well with salt and pepper. If you wish, you can add little cumin powder also.
Stir for few moments on low heat. Take off the heat and add bread crumbs in it. Mix them well.
Let the filling cool slightly before stuffing the chilli peppers.
With the help of a tea-spoon, fill the halved chilli peppers with coconut mixture and topped each of them with cheese.
Bake in a preheated oven at 350 F for 15-20 minute or until the cheese melts.
Serve the stuffed chili pepper immediately.
Dont forget to send your recipes to Healing foods coconut
You might also like curried chillies or Hyderabadi mirchi ka salan
Enjoy and have a happy weekend