I love Persian food and I’ve been looking and drooling at pictures of Dolmeh Felfel for a while now. Since I don’t eat beef, I wanted to make a vegetarian version of it. American-mexican stuffed pepper recipes usually contain a ton of cheese and rice. I’m not a big fan of cheese and rice together, even at Chipotle, I usually skip the cheese when ordering the burrito bowl. It took a while to get used to the idea of a burrito itself. It’s a bit like eating roti AND rice, no? Digressing.. Anyway, after looking at all those awesome pictures I just HAD to make stuffed peppers for dinner and I knew I wouldn’t rest until I did. The next challenge was to make it with ingredients I already had lying around. I had some cooked plain quinoa lying around and decided to use that up along with some fresh paneer I just made. The result was pretty good. Not too spicy, or too much ‘masala’ but heavy on flavor. See, that’s the thing about Indian food. Most people associate it with being spicy more than anything else. Sometimes it’s good to forget about red chilli powder and concentrate on other ingredients and enjoy it just the way it is. What made the filling interesting and really lifted up the flavors was caramelizing the onions. It took a few extra minutes but was totally worth it. Take a look…
If you don’t have quinoa, you can substitute rice and make the same thing.
This recipe is for 2 large peppers, and can easily be doubled/tripled
- Bell Peppers - 2 large, red is best but I used green
- Oil - 2 tsp + 2 tsp + 2 tsp
- Onion - 1, large, red
- Paneer - 1/2 cup, crumbled
- Quinoa - 1 1/2 cups, cooked
- Green chillies - 2, finely chopped
- Garlic - 2 cloves, crushed
- Ginger - 1/2
- Mint - 5 leaves
- Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
- Cilantro - 1/4 cup, finely chopped, loosely packed
- Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
- Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
- Salt - to taste
- Slice the onions into medium length thin strips. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat 2 tsp of oil and fry the onions on medium high until they turn dark and sweet. This will take about 10 minutes or more. The onions should caramelize well. Remove from heat and place in another dish.
- In the same pan, heat 2 tsp of oil and add the crumbled Paneer. Keep stirring until it becomes golden brown and slightly crispy on the outside but still soft. Set aside.
- Heat another tsp of oil, when hot, add the cumin seeds. Add the ginger, garlic (or paste), fry for a few seconds, add the green chillies and fry for a few seconds again.
- Add the fried panner, salt, chopped cilantro, mint leaves, stir for a minute till soft and then add the cooked Quinoa. Next, add the coriander powder and garam masala.
- Add half the onions to the mixture. Reserve the rest for topping. Stir for a few minutes until well incorporated. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Stuff the peppers with this mixture and top off with the remaining onions.
- In a heavy bottomed pan, pour a cup of water and then place the peppers in them. Cover and steam on medium-low for about 20 minutes. Check after 15 min or so by piercing with the tip of a knife. If it is soft, it’s done.
- Remove from heat and serve
- Preheat the oven to 350 deg F. In an oven safe dish, pour a cup of water and place the stuffed peppers inside standing upright. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes or until done.
- Remove the foil, and broil for 4 minutes (not more!) until the tops of the onions are darker and sides are a bit crispy.