Food enthusiasts don't just cook. They try to live food as much as they can. They read food books, spend hours on the Internet browsing through food sites and blogs, and watch food shows on the television. I do all of those; so even if I go on a hibernation here on the blog, I am not away from things culinary.
Discovery Travel & Living airs some fantastic foodie shows, one of which is Planet Food. The show features the cuisine of a country in each new episode, with the host sampling the best and most popular food items of that region. It's a zesty show, and you're almost there with the host, tasting the amazing fare on offer. I rarely miss it. And sometimes, I even cook some of the samples they show. Today's post is an account of one such adventurous venture that didn't go wrong. Thankfully.
This dish belongs to Mexico. It's roasted green bell pepper stuffed with kidney beans. You can use any other type of bean too; I used this one because it's widely available in India. And since it has some nutritional advantages to it, I am also entering it into Kalyn'sWeekend Herb Blogging.
Armed with those facts, we should now proceed to cook this deliciously simple dish, right? So let's get going!
Roasted Capsicum stuffed with Kidney Beans (Serves 2)
Green Bell Pepper/Capsicum: 2 medium sized Kidney beans: 1 1/2-2 cups Onion: 1 large, coarsely chopped Garlic: 4-5 big cloves, minced Ginger: 1 inch block, grated Tomato: 2 medium, chopped fine Green chili: 1-2, finely chopped Asafotedia/Heeng: A pinch Mixed Italian herbs: 1/2 teaspoon Salt: To taste Oil
1. Wash the kidney beans in running water. Soak them in a pot and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and let the beans soak for 5-6 hours.
2. Once the beans have been nicely soaked, cook them in a pressure cooker along with the onion, garlic, and ginger. Add some salt. Cook for 5-6 whistles. Turn off the heat.
3. Once the pressure has been released, take out the beans on a large bowl, with as little of the soup as possible.
4. Heat oil in a wok. Add the heeng, the chopped tomato, and the green chili. Fry until the oil gets separated.
6. Now add the kidney beans to this mix. Add a little of the water in which you earlier cooked it. Add the mixed herbs and some more salt if needed. Stir well. Cook until the water has evaporated. Turn off the heat and keep aside.
7. Wash the green bell pepper nicely. Cut the top part and scoop out the seeds. Now coat it with a layer of oil and roast it over fire. Let the skin turn all black. Don't worry, only the outer skin will get charred, the pepper will still remain nicely edible.
8. Turn off the heat. Let the peppers cool a bit. Now with the help of a knife, peel out the outer, charred layer of the pepper. Do this carefully, or you might end up slicing the pepper a bit deeper than desirable.
9. Now stuff the pepper with the cooked kidney beans with the help of a spoon. Fill it to the brim.
Bingo! Your pepper is ready to be eaten. Serve with roti or bread, or just eat as a snack. This tastes really nice. The soft and mushy beans are a great contrast to the crunchy bell pepper. Add to that the smoky flavour of the pepper itself. A complex layer of tastes packed within a compact food item. Do try it; you will be surprisingly delighted.
Our regular readers by now know I live in the coast of Peru where, of course, fish is an important and welcomed ingredient in many homes. It's interesting though that I was never such a big fan of fish. As a child I frowned whenever my mother made something apart from canned tuna... with one exception.
There was this dish I loved, it was called Garden Fish (I never knew why) and I always knew it was coming when I saw my mother cutting fish into those dice-sized cubes. This is a simple one for all the fish lovers, with an assortment of vegetables (carrots, peas, bell peppers). The fish cubes are previously fried and then mixed with the rest of the ingredients. You can serve it with some rice the way we do at home.
I have to say, after all these years I've changed my views towards fish, I actually love tuna and salmon and trout, but Garden Fish will forever be this tradition which never fails to bring back those childhood memories.
Wanna take a look at it?
Ingredients (for 6):
1 kg. fresh fish 1/2 cup flour 1/2 cup bread powder salt & pepper 1/2 cup oil 1 chopped med-size onion 1 tsp. minced garlic 1 green aji in stripes 1 med-size chopped tomato 1 red bell pepper in stripes 1 choclo (maize) 1 carrot 1/4 kg. peas 1/2 kg. potatoes
1. Season the fish with salt and pepper, cut in small cubes, dunk them in the bread powder and flour and fry.
2. In 3 tbsp. oil fry onion, garlic, ají, salt, pepper, tomato and half the bell pepper. When it's well cooked add the choclo grains and carrot; let cook for 15 minutes then add potatoes (and more water if needed). Cook on low heat.
3. Finally, add the fried fished cubes and the rest of the bell pepper; mix and remove from the heat.
I hope you get to try this evocative dish and I hope you enjoy it :)