Sweet pepper appetizer with a Kolhapuri twist
Stuffed Sweet Pepper is one of my favorite appetizers of all time. The sweetness of tiny sweet peppers infused with the spicy paneer stuffing is an amazing combination. Ideal for cold and rainy evenings. It’s very filling and it is also very rich – thanks to the paneer stuffing. But it tastes amazing.
Making this sweet pepper dish more interesting is the introduction of Kolhapuri twist. But first, let me explain what Kolhapuri means.
In India, in the state of Maharashtra, there is a city named Kolhapur. Kolhapur is full of rich history and heritage. Part of this rich heritage is the Kolhapuri Masala. It is the most aromatic masala you’ll ever find. It contains more than 20 spices. You can get Kolhapuri masala at your nearest Indian store or on Amazon.com.
I hope this dish becomes your guilty pleasure just as it is mine.
For vegans, you can enjoy the sweet peppers by substituting paneer with mashed potato or tofu and follow the same recipe.
25 Mini bell peppers (sweet peppers)
220g Paneer (Indian cottage cheese) – grated
1.25 tbsp milk powder
140g onion – finely chopped
1/2 tsp garlic paste
1/4 cup cilantro (coriander) – chopped
35g salted butter
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1.25 tsp Kolhapuri masala
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp oil
1/8 tsp asafetida (hing)
100g Tomato – finely chopped
- Preparing the stuffing for the peppers
- In a saucepan, on medium flame, pour 2 Tsp of oil. Heat it.
- Once oil is properly heated, add salted butter
- Once the butter is properly melted, add asafetida (hing) and finely chopped onions. Sauté the onions till it becomes translucent or slightly brown
- Next add finely chopped tomatoes and sauté till they become soft (about 3-4 minutes on medium flame)
- Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder and Kolhapuri masala and stir it well
- Next add ½ tsp garlic paste and mix it
- Now add milk powder and grated paneer with 1/2 tsp salt. Mix the ingredients properly and lightly sauté for a minute.
- Cover the pan with a lid and cook paneer for about 1-2 minutes. Do not overcook the paneer as we still have some baking left.
- Add cilantro and mix it well.
- Turn off the heat and let the paneer cool.
- Getting the poppers ready …
- Cut the top part of the pepper and remove all the seeds from inside.
- At the edge of the pan in which we cooked the stuffing, you will notice that the paneer has released oil. Scoop this oil with a spoon and drizzle it in the baking tray
- Once paneer is cool enough stuff it in the pepper and place it on the baking tray.
- Brush or drizzle little of the scooped oil on the pepper then sprinkle little salt on the top.
- Pre-heat the oven for 5-10 minutes at 370o Fahrenheit (190o Celsius). Place the baking tray in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove the tray when done. Your poppers are ready to be served. Place them on a plate and serve with tamarind-date chutney or tomato ketchup based on your preference.
- You can adjust the quantity of spice as per your taste.
- Always use little oil in the pan before adding butter or Ghee (clarified butter) as oil prevents the butter from burning fast.
- The oil from paneer is used for baking so that the taste of the paneer masala can get infused in the pepper. And when baking the aroma is strong.
- If you do not want to use the oil in the pan to grease the baking tray then reduce the butter quantity by 10g.
- For Vegans – substitute grated paneer with mashed potatoes or tofu.
- If you like the crunchiness of sweet pepper, you can consume it raw with just the stuffing. No need to bake if you don’t want to.