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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Chili Rellenos

Years ago, when I first saw the recipe for Chili Rellenos, with a gorgeous picture, the first thing that came to mind was my mom's Mirchi Bajji (aka Molaga Bajji).

The recipes seem similar: take a large-ish, not-too-hot chili; smoke and skin it to enhance flavor and to reduce the rawness (optional); make a slit and scoop out undesirable membranes and seeds from the inside; stuff with favorite stuffing; coat in light batter; fry in oil till crisp on the outside; serve hot off the stove, with some chutney or salsa.

Traditional chili rellenos recipes call for a light egg batter which involves separating the eggs, beating the whites to a stiff peak, beating the yolks and then folding the whites in. I was not up for it, so, I decided to use a different batter.

I wanted to try the stuffing my mom used for Mirchi bajji: a mixture of dry grated coconut, tamarind, paneer (home-made bag cheese), potatoes and spices. But, omitted the tamarind and coconut, and went with a slightly different stuffing here.

4 poblano chilies, fairly large
oil for frying (canola or peanut)

for the batter:
1 cup fine rice flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup cold water (more or less)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

for the dipping salsa:
1 cup tomato puree
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper powder
½ cup finely minced onions
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
salt to taste

for the stuffing:
1 cup crumbled queso panela (or, grated aged cheddar)
1 medium potato, skinned, cooked, crumbled
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper powder
1 Tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp brown sugar (optional)
salt to taste


over the flame or under a broiler, char the poblano chilies till the skin blisters; throw into a paper bag or plastic bag immediately and seal the bag tight; allow the chilies to sweat; after about 15 minutes in the bag, take them out and peel off the skin; make a slit lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and membranes carefully; keep handy for stuffing

combine the salsa ingredients and blend to a fine sauce consistency; simmer on low; adjust flavors; set aside to cool

combine the stuffing ingredients, adjust spices to taste; keep handy

heat the oil for deep frying to about 375°F; peanut oil can be heated to higher temperature than canola oil

meanwhile stuff the poblanos with the prepared stuffing, close the chili as best as possible so the stuffing doesn't fall out while frying

combine the dry batter ingredients, add water a little at a time to form a smooth light batter, pretty much like tempura batter; prepare this batter just when ready to fry

dip the stuffed poblanos in the batter, drain a bit, so the batter forms just a thin coating, drop it in the hot oil and deep fry till golden brown; remove and drain on paper-towel lined plate

Optionally, if there is batter leftover after using for the chilies, dip some onion slices in the batter, deep fry and serve hot with the dipping salsa.

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  • At 5:50 AM, Blogger Lakshmik said…

    Hi Sheela

    I love chillies. And this recipe seems so good. Thanks.


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