Stuffed pepper pakoras (mirchi pakoda)- vegan, gluten free
|This badly-lit picture shows the stuffing as well as the outside. Make sure you put plenty in!|
A word about the filling: Purists beware because I kind of invented it; it's a sort of cross between my favourite kachori filling (nuts and coconut) and the North Indian stuffing (not potatoes) but with Gujarati spices. The recipe makes enough stuffing for at least 8 large peppers or maybe even 12 or more smaller ones. If you are going the whole way and doing the pakora thing then be sure to choose the long pointed sweet peppers (either green or red is fine) not bell peppers.
1 cup split yellow mung dal (with 4-5 cups water)
1/2 cup peanuts, ground coarsely
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
2 tabs Gujarati dal masala (we used Mangal brand)*
2 tsps grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsps salt
1 tsp turmeric
plus oil for saute-ing (i used rice bran, as it's stable at high temperatures)
... and don't forget the peppers themselves; you'll need anything from 8 to 12 according to size. Plus some oil for deep frying.
Find a good basic recipe here. You may wish to substitute some of the gram flour for plain wheat flour, and you may wish to leave out the chilli as the stuffing is quite spicy.
- First prepare the stuffing; cook the dal in the water. It should become soft and absorb the water, but not be over wet. I'd recommend keeping an eye on it, adding more water a little at a time and only if absolutely necessary.
- While the dal is cooking, slit open the peppers, leaving the cure little stalks on. Bake them at 200C until soft but not overcooked (avoid charring them). Remove from oven and set aside.
- When the dal is soft, fry the coconut, peanuts and spices briefly in about a tablespoon of oil and stir in the dal, turmeric and salt.
- Stuff the peppers by gently pulling them open at the slit, filling them generously and pressing the edges of the slit as close tooether as you can. Be careful, as the peppers will tear easily.
- Whisk up your pakora batter, heat the oil and deep fry each pepper. If like me you have a small pan, just fry one at a time. Remove and drain when brown and crisp, as shown in the picture.
- Serve hot with a tomato and mint sauce. or your favourite dipping chutney- tamarind (imli) is also very good with these.