janet @ the taste space

Besan-Stuffed Red Peppers

In Mains (Vegetarian), Sides on May 16, 2013 at 6:09 AM

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.

That is only one thing I found out by watching some Indian cooking videos. I was trying to figure out how to make dosa but was distracted by other interesting recipes.

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?

This is my submission to this month’s Pantry Party for all things stuffed and this week’s Weekend Wellness.

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.

  1. oh dear I say bee-san! Love the stuff even if I don’t know how to pronounce it – and am fascinated by this recipe – I recently added besan to a soup and it was brilliant that way

    • Hahaha, too funny, Johanna. How did you add the chickpea flour to your soup? Was it like a roux? I’ve done a lemony chickpea flour topping before that was supposed to be like parmesan, but it was more like a chickpea flour-lemon topping. 🙂

  2. You’re a better woman than I because I never even tried to say besan out loud. Haha! Love this idea – it reminds me of a tamale!

  3. I’ve always pronounced it the anglicized way also! Now I’ll know. Besan=basin.

    I love the sound of the filling for these peppers! Definitely happening as soon as peppers really explode into season.

  4. I always said beh-sahn, too, like it’s French. You’re not alone! 🙂

  5. So creative! Love the look of this.

    Potayto, potahto. 😉

  6. This looks so interesting. I’ve never used chickpea flour in anything similar. I usually just say chickpea flour or gram flour which avoids the pronunciation problem! I think I say it like you in my head though 🙂
    On the gram flour front, did you see this http://veganlatina.com/new-year-soupalution/ ??
    Terry makes a chickpea flour ‘parmesan’ to top the soup with! Looks like another fun way to use chickpea flour.

    • That sounds like a wonderful solution to the problem.. I suppose it is because we make besan chilla all the time that we have besan in our vocabulary. 🙂

      Terry has 3 recipes (possibly more) but I’ve made 3 with chickpea flour form VEW. That parmesan was a nice topping but not like parmesan at all (more like a lemony topping). She has an Ethiopian scrambled egg dish (butucha) that was very good, too… and she uses it in a Moroccan tagine as well. It is very versatile. 🙂

  7. Yay chickpea flour (and dosas too)! We’re starting our Ayurvedic unit in food school right away, and I’m super excited about all the Indian cookery that’s gonna go down. Stuffed peppers are amazing – I haven’t seen ones like these around, and they’re not hot? So cool.

  8. oooh this sounds so amazing!

  9. I nominated you for a blogger award! Feel free to play along if you wish x

  10. Kind of like saying Tar-jhay for Target. I actually read the title fast and thought it was Bean-Stuffed and then into the actual text, thought it said bean chili instead of besan chilla. Must. Slow. Down. (Which is why I have started tai chi, which is painfully slow!)

    Recipe sounds great.

    • I always thought Tar-jhay was a joke. Oh my. I think I will be in for lots of funny treats when I move to Houston. We finally have a place leased so it makes it a bit more real. 🙂

      Bean chili, bean-stuffed red peppers, they all sound very good, though. 🙂

      I learned tai chi 10 years ago. I wasn’t into the gym at that time but found the breathing and movement very relaxing, once I knew the moves. Now that I think about it, since I’ve done yoga now, I much prefer tai chi. I should try it again. 🙂

  11. Hello dear, This looks great and I do like the french way 😉
    And I love these peppers – they look and sound delicious 😉

    ps. I’m having a Spring Potluck Party ~ it would be lovely to see you there 😉


    ella (of the former Lifeologia ;))

  12. By the way, am I the only one who noticed the smiling pepper in the first photo? 😉

  13. This sounds so good! I’m not sure if I’ve seen Sheppard peppers around lately though 😦

  14. its more like bay-son 🙂 there is pepper zunka which i make instead of stuffed.. it is cut up peppers, saute-ed until just tender, then besan mixture is added and cooked until it coats the peppers and is cooked… cooks faster and no stuffing is needed:)

  15. This is one of most interesting uses for chickpea flour that I’ve seen, and it sounds delicious too! I guess I’ve never put much thought into how I pronounce besan, but I think I say some combination of all the pronunciations that you’ve mentioned…I’m glad you and Richa cleared it up!

  16. I have to admit I have never said besan out loud- I was always afraid of sounding stupid with my pronunciation so I would default to chickpea flour. But I certainly said it in my head how you were pronouncing it 😉

    These sound delicious- what a creative use of chickpea flour!

  17. […] from The Taste Space showed us that other peppers can be stuffed too! Janet’s Besan-Stuffed Red Peppers utilize a different type of pepper to get stuffed. I’ve never heard of besan before. I love […]

  18. […] the way, I loved everyone’s thoughts on how you pronounce (or not) besan. Richa suggested it was more like bay-sun, for anyone not […]

  19. […] Besan-Stuffed Red Peppers […]

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