This is based on a vegetarian national treasure, mirch salan, a Hyderabadi dish of fat, large green chillies in a peanut and tamarind sauce.
Dry-roast the peanuts in a small frying pan for a minute and pour into a spice grinder. Add the sesame and cumin seeds to the pan and dry-roast gently until the sesame is golden. Pour into the spice grinder with the coconut and grind to a powder; don’t worry about any chunks.
Heat 4 tbsp of the oil in a pan and add the onions; sauté until golden. Meanwhile, with a stick blender, blend the ginger and garlic with a little water until smooth. Separately, blend the tomatoes until smooth. Add the ginger and garlic to the onions and sauté until the garlic colours. Add the tomatoes, ground spices and salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 10–15 minutes, until the masala releases oil back into the pan. Brown this paste, over a highish heat, for three to four minutes, then stir in the ground nut mixture. Add 400ml of water, return to a boil and simmer for eight minutes. Add most of the tamarind, then adjust the seasoning and tamarind. It should be a slightly chunky, creamy curry, neither watery nor too thick.
For the stuffing, heat 1 tbsp of the remaining oil in a large non-stick frying pan.
Add the onion and cook until soft, add the turmeric and, after a beat, the potato, cumin and salt to taste; cook for two minutes. Add the lemon juice, mix, adjust the seasoning and place in a bowl to cool. Give it a good mash if it is lumpy. Wipe the pan. Slit the peppers lengthways so you can just open them, then stuff them. Do not overstuff.
Cook the peppers in two batches: in 1 tbsp of the remaining oil for each batch, add half the mustard seeds and reduce the heat. Once the popping dies down, add half the curry leaves and peppers. Stir for 20 seconds and season lightly. Then add a splash of hot water, cover and steam for 10 minutes or until the peppers are soft; they will have lightly charred in places. Shake gently every so often. Keep warm while you repeat with the next batch.
Place the peppers on warmed plates. Spoon the sauce over and sprinkle with coconut, or peanuts and chopped coriander. Serve hot.
If you like a little more heat, find large, fat, jalapeno-type chillies and follow the recipe below, except add them into the sauce and simmer for a few minutes at the end.
The sauce also goes well with mushrooms, aubergines, okra and many other vegetables. I like to have some naan on the side to mop up all those lovely flavours.
Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)
Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.
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