I am overly fond of martabak, a savory, meat-stuffed pancake that one of our nearby Thai restaurants has on the appetizer menu. It is meaty and a little spicy, with curry, minced onions, and garlic… and wholly addictive. I’m not sure where this treat originates – according to Wikipedia it can be commonly found in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and Brunei. I am trying to cut down on ordering martabak because I really want to avoid eating gluten, and the pancake most likely is not gluten-free. To try to compensate, I invented these meat-stuffed peppers. Although this is not an authentic recipe, the mixture of spices is reminiscent of the martabak filling.
As you can see from the photo, the meat filling in the peppers is pretty dense – it turned out almost like a small meatloaf. That is because I added too much egg to the filling. As a result, I reduced the amount of egg in the recipe that I have posted below – although there was nothing wrong with meatloaf-stuffed peppers! Another idea that might improve the presentation would be to mix some cooked rice in with the meat, to lighten the texture and add more color.
These stuffed peppers were great for a weeknight meal, with leftovers for lunch. The recipe makes enough to stuff 3 bell peppers (6 “boats”). If you choose to add about 3/4 cup of rice, you should have enough for 4 peppers.
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons oil (I recommend coconut oil or olive oil)
- 1 pound ground grass-fed beef
- 1 tablespoon ginger (grated or minced)
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon hot curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/3 cup chopped dates or raisins
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- 3 red or yellow bell peppers
Preheat oven to 375F.
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion and saute until softened. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the ground beef and cook until browned, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks. (Note: Do not drain the fat from the meat unless it is really excessively greasy, as the fat is needed to provide moisture to the meat, spices, and peppers.)
Stir in the ginger, coriander, cumin, curry powder, turmeric, and salt until well-mixed. Add the chopped dates and walnuts. Remove from heat. Stir in the beaten egg and set aside.
Prepare the peppers for stuffing. I find it easier to split the pepper lengthwise, but you may want to just slice the tops off to make the pepper more of a “cup” than a “boat”. A vegetable peeler is useful for scraping out the ribs of the pepper from the inside. If making pepper “cups”, you may need to shave some pepper from the bottoms so they will sit upright.
Lightly oil the bottom of a baking dish or tagine. Fill each pepper with the meat filling, and place upright in the baking dish. Cover baking dish; bake for 30-40 minutes or until peppers are tender. Serve hot!
Two new releases today, one a newcomer of sorts, the other longtime veterans. First up, trumpeter Christian Scott’s new one, Christian aTunde Adjuah. Born in New Orleans, Scott sounds like spent his entire life listening to Miles Davis…and Radiohead. One of the best CD’s I’ve heard in a while.
35 years along, Oregon never stops being amazing, and their new album, Family Tree, continues their unique blend of world music, jazz and folk. No one sounds like them- they’re in a class by themselves.