Chiles Rellanos

CHILES RELLENOS- STUFFED FRIED WHOLE CHILLIES WITH TOMATO SAUCE

CHILES RELLENOS- ST

CHILES RELLENOS- ST

Ingredients

FOR 10 PIECES

Stuffed peppers is something Indians are familiar with, be it Bharwa Hari Mirch, besan and coconut stuffed green chillies or paneer stuffed Capsicum. For this classic and much loved Mexican dish use Indian stuffing chillies if Poblanos aren't available. I've used Goa chillies successfully but you can also use Bhavnagiri. Both are mildly spicy, large with a lovely green color. If you want to make a meal of Chilles Rellanos make extra tomato sauce and serve with a portion of boiled rice.

The traditional recipe uses eggs but if you are vegetarian use plain rice flour.

TOMATO SAUCE

1.25 cups white onions, finely diced

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

750 grams red plum tomatoes steamed, peeled and pureed in a food mill (or canned tomatoes pureed)

6 cloves garlic smashed with a rolling pin

1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt to taste

FOR THE CHILES/CHILLIES

10 poblano or stuffing peppers/chillies such as Goa or Bhavnagiri with stalks if possible

1/2 kg monterey jack cheese or a good quality melting cheese grated

vegetable oil (for frying)

BATTER

3 large cold eggs, separated

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon Maida or all purpose refined flour

1.5 cups fresh dried breadcrumbs (for dredging)

cilantro or coriander leaves (to garnish)

Instructions

FOR TOMATO SAUCE

Heat vegetable oil and saute onions on a medium flame until soft. Add garlic cloves and saute one minute. Add tomatoes, sugar, cinnamon and black pepper and cook sauce on a medium flame in a cooking pot about 50 minutes. Allow sauce to thicken. Season with salt. Reserve.

While sauce cooks use a sharp knife to cut a small slit into each chillie. Ensure you only cut into one side and leave the rest of the pepper intact. Cut from one end to the other no more than 1/2-3/4 inch so the ends are sealed.

FOR CHILLIES

On an open flame lightly char each pepper on all sides. Goa chillies are a little thicker and spicier than Poblanos. Flaming them softens the flesh and reduces the spiciness. the smoky flavor is an added bonus! Cool completely.

Gently, using a small spoon remove any seeds. Stuff with cheese and close the sides of the chillies. Cover and reserve.

FOR BATTER

Beat whites to stiff peaks.

Beat in yolks 2 at a time until well incorporated.

Beat in salt and 1 tablespoon of flour until well mixed. Don't over beat.

Dip stuffed chillies into egg white preparation, then roll in crumbs. Repeat this process again, twice for each pepper.

For pure vegetarians dip the chillie in rice flour several times and fry to a crisp.

Heat 2 inches of oil in a skillet. You need enough oil so it just covers each chillie. This way the top cooks as well as the bottom and seals the slit chillie. This prevents leakage when the chillie is turned over in hot oil.

Fry on both sides in 2 inches of hot oil (heated to 350F) until golden and crisp.

Drain in a sieve over old newspapers. Once all chillies have cooled about 5-7 minutes prepare a serving plate with tomato sauce at the bottom. Place the chillies over the sauce. Garnish with coriander leaves if you like. Serve warm.

To reheat the chillies, bake in a preheated oven for 5-6 minutes at 400F.

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