This is how you know I am a noob with regards to Indian cuisine.
Ever since besan chilla entered our lives, we have been enamoured by chickpea flour. I’ve used it in dairy-free vegan quiches, pakoras, malai koftas, and smeared inside a delicious collard roulade. Rob even used it to make cookie dough truffles to woo me.
The entire time, we’ve called it beh-sahn. Like it was French.
However, it turns out we’ve been wrong. It sounds just like “basin”. Bay-sin.
So here I am with another besan recipe. This time, I stuffed it into long red Sheppard peppers. I’ve done stuffed peppers before, filled with bulgur, tomatoes, mushrooms and raisins, and always used the largest bell peppers I could find. The thicker the flesh, the better for keeping its shape after being roasted in the oven.
But this time, I
tortured myself. just kidding! The long and slender red peppers were recently available and I grabbed as many as I could carry (a common sighting when red peppers go on sale). This time, I decided to fill them with a fragrant besan paste spiced with almonds, cumin, coriander and amchur.
The hardest part was removing the seeds without cracking open the entire pepper, but most of the peppers have few seeds anyhow. Once you slide in the filling, you are laughing. Quicker than stuffed peppers, this was easy with the fast-cooking of the besan along with a simple pan-fry (with adjunct steaming) of the peppers.
PS. The original recipe suggested using banana peppers, but I like this version with the sweetness of the red pepper. Feel free to add more heat with more chile flakes, as this was not that hot.
PPS. Am I alone? How do you pronounced besan?
Besan-Stuffed Red Peppers
Adapted from The Indian Vegan Kitchen
4 small red Sheppard peppers (or 8 banana peppers)
2/3 cup besan (chickpea flour)
1/3 cup almond flour
1/8 tsp asafoetida powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp Aleppo chile flakes, or to taste
1 tsp amchoor powder (or 2 tsp lemon juice)
1 tbsp + 1 tsp oil, divided
1/3 cup water
1. Make a slit on one side from the stem end to the tip of the peppers, making an opening. Do not cut the other half of the pepper (ie. do not cut it in half) Carefully remove the seeds. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, mix together besan and almonds. Add asafoetida powder, cumin seeds, turmeric, salt, coriander, Aleppo chile pepper, and amchoor. Mix well. Add 1 tbsp of the oil and the 1/3 cup water into the mixture. The mix will be thick and sticky.
3. Fill the peppers with batter. Using your thumbs to pry them open, add the batter, and with a finger or butter knife spread the batter evenly into the opening. Fill the peppers about half full with batter. Remove any batter that clings to the outside of the pepper.
4. Heating the remaining 1 tsp of oil in a large nonstick fry pan on medium-high heat. Add the stuffed banana peppers in a single layer, filled side up. Cover up with lid and cook for 5-6 minutes until the peppers are tender (the besan filling will harden and fill the peppers). Turn the peppers occasionally using tongs, making sure to evenly brown all sides. Remove the lid and cook for another 2 minutes, turning occasionally. Using tongs, transfer peppers to a serving dish.
Serves 4 as a side.