There’s a rather surprising secret ingredient in this stuffed peppers dish, served with Indian-style potato croquettes and two dips.
2 large peppers (preferably red, yellow or orange), cut lengthways, seeds removed
1 medium Maris Piper potato
3 tbsp vegetable oil, for frying
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp smoked paprika
150g/5oz closed cup mushrooms, finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 handful grated mozzarella cheese
salt, to taste
1 breakfast wheat biscuit (such as Weetabix)
1 tbsp chopped fresh chives, to garnish
4 medium-sized potatoes
vegetable oil, for deep frying
1 tsp black mustard seeds
¼ tsp asafoetida
1 small piece ginger, grated
1-2 green chillies, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 carrot, grated
salt, to taste
handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
1 lemon, juice only
3 tbsp plain flour, plus extra for dusting
3 tbsp gram flour
100ml/3½fl oz water
5 pieces white bread, made into breadcrumbs
For the green dip, grind the coriander, mint, cumin and green chilli using a pestle and mortar to a fine paste. Add about a cup of soured cream and salt, to taste. Set aside.
For the red dip, heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onion and garlic. Fry gently for two minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, chilli powder, ground coriander, tamarind paste and salt, to taste, and cook for a further two minutes.
Add the muscovado sugar and remove from the heat. Leave to cool and blend in a food processor to a smooth paste. Set aside.
For the stuffed peppers, place the peppers and whole potato on a plate and microwave on medium for three minutes. Set aside the peppers and peel and lightly mash the potato.
Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and garlic and fry gently for 2-3 minutes. Add the cumin, cinnamon and smoked paprika and cook for another two minutes.
Add the chopped mushrooms and salt, to taste. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Stir in the tomato purée and the reserved mashed potato and two-thirds of the cheese. Add salt, to taste, and remove from the heat.
Stuff the peppers with this filling and top with the remaining cheese and the crushed breakfast wheat biscuit.
Place the peppers on a plate and microwave on medium for 5-6 minutes, or until piping hot throughout. Sprinkle over the chopped chives to garnish.
For the potato bondas, place the potatoes on a plate in the microwave and cook on high power for five minutes - the potatoes should be soft and the skin should come off easily. Mash the potatoes roughly and set them aside.
Heat one teaspoon of the oil in a frying pan and add the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the asafoetida, ginger and chopped green chillies. (Caution: keep well away from the pan while the seeds pop in case they go in your eyes.)
Fry for a few seconds and add the chopped onion and turmeric. Fry for a further minute and then add the grated carrot.
Mix well and add the reserved, mashed potatoes. Add salt, to taste, and the coriander and lemon juice, and mix thoroughly. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Once the mixture has cooled, shape it into round balls using your hands. Heat a frying pan two-thirds full of oil for deep frying. (CAUTION: Hot oil can be very dangerous. Do not leave unattended.)
Mix together the plain flour, gram flour and enough water to make a thick consistency in a small bowl. Dust each ball with a little plain flour and dip it in the batter. Coat the balls with breadcrumbs and deep-fry until golden-brown. Carefully remove and place on a plate lined with kitchen paper.
For the salad, arrange the carrot, salad tomato and lettuce on a plate.
Whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl, and add salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad.
Serve the stuffed peppers with the salad and potato bonda. Arrange the chopped cherry tomatoes around the edge of the plates.
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