Stuffed Bell Peppers (Shimla Mirch)


stuffed bell-peppersBharwan Shimla Mirch, or Stuffed Bell Peppers simmered in a rich creamy sauce is a cherished entry on an Indian restaurant menu, and is indeed a favorite with many of us! The perfectly grilled bell-peppers, stuffed with vegetables and sauces inspired me to try my own verison at home. And believe me, I couldn't have been more surprised when I saw that the end product was just as delicious, if not better-tasting that the one we eat at the restaurants! I used spiced onion and potato filling, then topped it with some homemade-sauce and feta cheese. I made a separate yogurt-based gravy, slightly modified from regular indian curries, and dumped the stuffed bell-peppers into it!

There are several variations you can try with the stuffing. In fact, I have previous cooked stuffed bell-peppers with tomato gravy too. But this time, I decided to boil the capsicum first before stuffing and baking, and I highly recommend doing so as it softens the hard outer skin and allows the spices and flavors to soak through completely when you bake them. I'm sending these to Pooja for her JFI-Bell Peppers event, and also to Abby for her Vegetables-2008 event.

Ingredients
4-5 small-sized bell-peppers
2 medium potatoes - boiled
1 small onions - finely chopped
1 cup feta cheese - crumbled
10-15 raisins
2 tbsp tamarind chutney
2 tbsp oil
1/2 cup cilantro - finely chopped
1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
salt - to taste
lemon juice - to taste
1/2 tsp paprika or red chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala

For the Gravy
2 cups yogurt
2 tbsp tamarind paste
1/2 tsp sugar - if required
1 cup water (or a little more)
1/2 cup tomato puree
2 tbsp oil
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 bay leaves
salt and lemon juice - to taste
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2-4 tbsp milk(optional)

Method
Boil the Bell-Peppers
Wash and cut off only the top of the bell peppers. Remove all the seeds and pith.

Then put them in a pot of boiling water. Cover and cook for about 10 mins or until they are tender and soft, but retain their shape.

Prepare the Stuffing
Now take the boiled potatoes, mash them evenly and add all the spices for the filling to it. Take a pan, add 2 tbsp oil and saute the finely chopped onions. When they turn soft and glazed, add them to the potato filling mixture. Also add the chopped cilantro, leaving some for garnish, and the raisins.

Stuff the boiled capsicum with the filling. Add 1 tsp of tamaring chutney on the top, followed by the crumbled feta cheese.

Baking the Bell-Peppers
Grease a cookie-sheet with non-stick spray. Now take a cooking brush and apply a thin layer of oil to the outside of the bell-peppers. Now place them at least 2-inches apart on the baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 450 deg F and bake for 40-45 mins(may be longer), until the outer skin becomes broiled and thoroughly cooked. Rotate the baking tray by 180 deg after 20 mins for even distribution of heat. A nice test is to see that it starts peeling, and becomes soft to touch. When a fork or a tooth-pick passes through the skin without much effort, you know that the peppers are roasted and cooked.

Preparing the Gravy
you can serve the above Baked & Stuffed Bell Peppers as an appetizer or a side dish by itself. To make this as an entree, we will add these to an indian-style curry.

Beat the 2 cups yogurt with 1/4th cup of water to form a smooth paste.

Now take 2 tbsp oil, add cumin seeds, and when they start spluttering, add the bay leaves, ginger-garlic paste and the tomato puree. Add all the dry spices for the gravy in the list above, and saute for about 2-3 mins.

Now add the tamarind paste, sugar and the blended yogurt to this mixture and cook everything on medium-flame for 8-10 mins. Keep stirring in between. and add some water as required to form a thick, creamy gravy. Add 2 tbsp whole milk if required just to add to the thickness.

Assemble the Bharwaan Shimla Mirch
Once the gravy is thick enough, remove from flame and allow a to cool a little. Drop one heaped tablespoon fo the gravy on top of each capsicum. Arrange the baked bell-peppers on a serving dish. Now add the gravy all around, or alternately, add the capcicum to the gravy itself, however you wish to present.

Serve these Baked & Stuffed Bell Peppers with some Chapatis or Parathas and Jeera Rice!


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34 comments :

Rachel said...

The boiling the bell peppers to make the skin softer was a nice tip!

sarah said...

that's a neat recipe, I love the filling:) will surely try it this weekend!

~sarah

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Mike of Mike's Table said...

This looks a great twist on stuffed peppers that looks delicious! Also, talk about timing--great minds think alike! ;-)

Cris said...

This is very fancy Mansi! Love it!

Daily Meals said...

Looks yummy...

Swati: Sugarcraft India said...

Lovely post again Mansi..got an award for you..Check it out!1

Uma said...

wow, looks lovely, Mansi! Great way to stuff bell pepper.

ranji said...

oh wow!!they look awesome mansi!!even i posted stuffed bell peppers today:)

Mansi Desai said...

thanks folks, I'm happy you'll liked it, even sarah, mike and cris who don't have the indian taste:) it was indeed a successful challenge and i loved doing it!!

hope all of you can participate in the Monthly Mingle too that I m hosting this month!:)

easycrafts said...

Loved the colour and texture a lot

ANJALI J. said...

this dish looks so delicous. will definately try this out sometime.

Trupti said...

nice recipe manasi

bee said...

this looks delicious!!

Kalai said...

Love the idea of turning this into a main dish with the addition of a gravy. Wonderful entry, Mansi! :)

shriya said...

Looks very yummy and delicious. The filling looks mouthwatering.

Sukanya Ramkumar said...

Hi...
That was a nice recipe....looks delish... love the filling in the peppers... love it!....

Richa said...

d-lish!
u've combined the flavors very well, Mansi!

Divya Vikram said...

love these stuffed peppers..too good

Manasi said...

Yummy! and different!!!

Lisa said...

Breathtaking! As much as I love feta, I imagine paneer figuring in this recipe.

Namratha said...

Good tip on cooking the mirchis before baking, looks good Mansi.

Mandira said...

this looks fab, love the picture!

Red Chillies said...

Very nice recipe Mansi. I am so used to seeing dry ingredients being stuffed in bell pepper. This is different and good.

Jyothsna said...

Boiling is a good tip.

Madhavi said...

WOW this is mouthwatering, looks awesome. Very nice recipe!!!!

SMN said...

Manasi this is not fair its been such a long time i didnt hv stuffed bell peppers..very nice recipe

Shweta said...

That is a very unique recipe. Looks great Mansi!

Annu said...

I never tried stuffed peppers,Your version tempting me to do it:-)

Pooja said...

its a wonderful entry Mansi .thanks for being a part of VoW-JFI :).

abby said...

looks gorgeous mansi, thanks for sharing with vegetables, beautiful vegetables!

Dondon said...

that's new to me...and that looks great..

Khushboo said...

Hi Mansi,
I tried this dish last weekend and itturned out really good. Thanks so much. I am going to try the malai kofta today. I love the indian curry taste..

Thanks
Khushboo

Sandhya said...

I tried this and it was a big hit! Mansi thank you so much for sharing. You can read more about it at http://sandhyas.blogspot.com/2008/08/stuff-bell.html