Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tuna Stuffed Banana Pepper Curry

 A few days ago I made a favorite Sri Lankan side dish/appetizer named Cutlets that we almost always have at parties.  I made these stuffed curried banana peppers with the same cutlet filling and they turned out fabulous. My actual intention when I bought banana peppers was to stuff them and deep fry them.  I got lazy to deep fry them at the last minute and I turned it into this curry.  I am so glad that I did because I loved eating this with rice. It's a great dish to entertain with because each person can get their own pepper with a spicy filling and it makes a nice presentation on the plate. I also loved the gravy/sauce that is mouthwatering.  Well, I have to say that because my mouth is literally watering thinking back about this dish.  Now it does require making the cutlet filling so there are a few steps to get this final result but it is fully worth it.  From now I will always make extra cutlet filling and save it to make this dish. 

6-12 large banana peppers
1 medium onion sliced
1-2 green chilies sliced
handful of curry leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennugreek seeds
1 Tbs ginger/garlic paste (or 1/2 separately)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 Tbs red chili powder or cayenne powder (or to taste)
1/2 Tbs curry powder
1 cinnamon stick (1inch)
salt to taste
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp lime juice (or to taste)

Cutlet Filling:
 3 (5-oz) cans of light tuna fish (reserve water from tuna in a bowl for use later)
1 medium onion finely chopped
1-2 green chillies finely chopped
2 boiled large white potatoes crushed
Small handful of curry leaves minced
Small handful of mint leaves minced
1 Tbs of ginger garlic paste (or 1/2 Tbs each separately)
1/2 medium lime juiced (about 2-3 tsp)
salt and a lot of black pepper

To make cutlet filling:

Step 1:  Boil potatoes.  Peel and smash with a fork into a coarse mash.

Step 2: Cut onions, green chilies and curry leaves.  Heat 1Tbs of oil in a frying pan and add the onions, chilies, mint and curry leaves to fry.  Then add the garlic and ginger paste and fry for another minute.
Salt and pepper the onions and then add the 3 cans of tuna drained.

Then add the lime juice. Add the boiled (mashed) potatoes and mix in well.  Mix together well and taste for the salt and pepper in the dish now that the potatoes have been added.

I like to give my cutlets a peppery kick so I'm heavy on the pepper.   Take off the stove and allow to cool completely so you can handle the mixture.
Stuffing and making the Curry:

Clean peppers and cut a slit down the side.  Carefully take out all the seeds and membrane.  Stuff with cutlet mixture until cavity is full.

In a large shallow skillet add 2-3 tsp of canola oil and fry onion, green chilies, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennugreek seeds, cinnamon stick, salt and ginger/garlic paste.

When onions begin to soften add turmeric powder, curry powder and red chili powder.  Saute for another 30-45 seconds.   Then either remove the ingredients from the pan or push to the sides and add another tsp of oil.

Then gently add the stuff peppers to the pan. Brown the stuffed peppers carefully on all the sides except the open side. Sprinkle a little salt to season the flesh of the pepper.

Once the stuffed peppers are starting to brown mix it with the onion and spice mixture and add the reserved water from the tuna cans.  If there is not enough liquid add 1/2 cup of water and the 1 cup of coconut milk.

Cover the skillet and allow the liquid to come to a simmer and occasionally move the peppers so all the sides get simmered in the liquid.

Finally add the lime juice and taste for salt and seasoning. Serve hot or warm with rice dishes. Enjoy.

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