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Whole stuffed chillies

Written By Reena on 26 Mar 2010 | 05:00

I was reading the other day that chillies originated in the Americas, were taken to Europe by Columbus and only then were taken to India by Spanish traders.  Considering how much the chilli is used in Indian cooking I find it incredible that the recipes have only evolved over the last 500 years.  I had always assumed that India had its own chilli varieties pre-Columbus.

All of this pondering about chillies reminded me of this great recipe from my mum.  She serves it as a side dish to a main course but I eat it as a snack and Steve enjoys it with a cold beer.  You need mild chillis for this recipe and these tend to be short and fat - although experience shows that shape is no guarantee of mildness!  I always remove the seeds and the membrane as this is where most of the heat is.  The stuffing is made with gram (chickpea) flour and has a wonderful soft texture that melts in the mouth and contrasts with the slight bitterness of the chilli.  I hope you enjoy them.

Serves 2 as a light snack


For the stuffed chillis
  • 12 chillis
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • 50 grams chickpea (gram) flour
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons coriander-cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons light tasting vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • A small handful chopped coriander
For the tempering

  • 1 tablespoon light tasting vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  1. Without removing the stalks, wash the chillis and dry them.
  2. Take a chilli and place it on a clean work surface. Hold the stem with your fingertips and use a small sharp knife to carefully split it lengthways.  Hold the chilli at one end and use the knife to remove the seeds and membrane which contain most of the heat. 
  3. Repeat with the remaining chillis and then leave them to one side.
  4. In a small mixing bowl place the sesame seeds, asafoetida, chickpea flour, lemon juice, sugar, coriander-cumin powder, salt, oil, water and coriander.  Mix thoroughly to form a loose dough.
  5. Stuff the chillis with the dough.  I like my chillis to be well stuffed so don't worry if it all looks a bit messy.
  6. In a non-stick thick bottomed pan heat the oil for the tempering.
  7. Once hot add the cumin seeds.  Let them sizzle for a minute or two.
  8. Now add the stuffed chillis.  Place a lid on the pan and turn the heat down to the lowest setting.
  9. Stirring occasionally, let the chillis cook until they are soft and tender.  The cooking time will vary depending on the size and variety of the chilli but expect it to be in the region of 40 minutes.
  10. Serve hot with a beer.

About Reena


  1. This sounds really wonderful. I am just discovering Indian food and it is quickly becoming my favorite! Thanks for sharing your wonderful recipes. Tell your Mum thanks as well ;)

  2. Hi Kathleen. I hope you enjoy the recipes as much as the food that you have already tasted! Take care. Reena (and mum!)

  3. Very nice recipe! i will try it one day! Thanks to mum !

  4. Hi tasteofbeirut. Thanks for the comment - my mum is going to be very happy with all this attention! ;-0

  5. Thank you, For this unthankful job that you and your Mum do and lazy people like us benefit.

  6. Hi Anonymous. That is very sweet of you - to be honest though I am loving the world of blogging! Happy Easter. Reena

  7. Oh i tried to leave a comment and kept messing it up with captcha but these look delicious.

  8. Thank you Barbara - glad you managed to leave your comment - it is much appreciated. Take care. Reena