Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Fragrant rice- and lentil-stuffed red capsicum with the Five Cs and a few other spices.

In a large heavy pan with a tight fitting lid, fry two sliced onions in ghee or oil.

Stir in a quarter teaspoon each of cardamom, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper when onion has softened.

Now add a cup each of basmati rice and rinsed red lentils, three and a half cups of boiling water and two teaspoons of salt. Stir. Lid the pan tightly. Turn down heat very low and leave it for 20 minutes. When the rice grains have ballooned, it’s done.

During the twenty minutes, top three red capsicums and remove seeds and pith. Stuff the capsicums with the fragrant rice and lentil mixture. (You'll have some left over.) Replace tops and place stuffed capsicums in a casserole, which should be of a size that roughly holds their tops in place.

Take a jar of tomato puree, add a little water and stir through a teaspoon each of coriander and cumin. Pour into casserole so that it comes halfway up the capsicums. Bake until capsicums collapse, about an hour. Adjust fluid if your oven is particularly hot.

Serve with yogurt and sweet lime pickle.

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