Paneer Stuffed Bell Peppers

I have been toying with the idea of writing a stuffed red bell pepper recipe for a while. Red bell peppers are probably the vegetable we cook with the most, we regularly buy 4-5 every week for a variety of different recipes. That is the beauty of them, they are extremely flavorful yet malleable and suitable for many different types of cuisines. While you can stuff bell peppers with a variety of ingredients, I chose to put an Indian twist on this recipe with paneer inside of the peppers and cooking them in a daal. 

This recipe may take quite a bit of time to cook, but overall the effort is fairly simple and there are limited dishes to wash at the end. When the peppers come out of the oven, you can serve them over rice, crack them open and eat it soaked in the sauce almost like a deconstructed curry. I will note that this recipe does make quite a bit of food, so if you live alone I would recommend cutting it in half. 

Active time: 30 Minutes

Cook time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 250g paneer
  • 2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • ½ cup loosely packed chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1½ inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced (with seeds)
  • 2 large carrots , diced
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp ground coriander 
  • ½ tsp ground mustard 
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • ¾ cup red lentils
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk (400ml)
  • 600ml water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 red bell peppers
  • Salt & freshly cracked black pepper
  • Rice, to serve

Directions:

  1. First, we will make the bell pepper filling. Take your paneer and cut it into small cubes, about a half inch in diameter. In a medium sized bowl, add the paneer, peas, cilantro, honey, lime juice and ½ tsp salt. Combine and set aside. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 400F. Heat a large dutch oven with an oven safe lid on medium-low heat. Add in 2 tbsp of neutral oil and, once hot, add in the cumin seeds. Toast the cumin seeds for 2-3 minutes stirring frequently, careful not to burn, until fragrant. Add in the onion, ginger, garlic, jalapeno and carrots. Sauté for 5-7 minutes until the onion begins to become translucent and all is fragrant. 
  3. Add in the rest of the spices (garam masala, coriander, mustard, turmeric, cardamon) and toast, stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes. Add in the can of coconut milk, 600ml water, lentils, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, 1 tsp of salt and a hearty amount of black pepper. Stir and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes with the lid off. 
  4. While the lentils simmer, cut the top off of the red bell peppers and remove the core and all the seeds. Cut out the veins of the peppers as well (the white parts of the interior). Stuff the bell peppers with the paneer mixture. 
  5. Once the ten minutes of simmering are up, carefully place the bell peppers into the dutch oven so that they are standing up in the lentil sauce. Once all four are in the dutch oven, cover and put in the oven for 30 minutes. Once the thirty minutes is up remove the lid and cook for another 10 minutes. Serve hot over a bed of rice, enjoy!

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