Here is a different take on stuffed peppers. With some bite from the red curry paste, protein from quinoa and a slight creaminess from the coconut milk this is a pretty fancy meal that is no trouble to make at all.
(This recipe makes two stuffed peppers with about 1 cup red curry quinoa left over)
2 peppers/capsicums – try to pick some with a nice rectangular shape so that they can stand up on their bottom (any colour, I went green and red for [belated] Christmas…)
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup organic coconut milk (try to use the creamy bit from the top of a can)
1 cup water
1 brown onion
1 red chilli
1 bunch of coriander
2 TBSP red curry paste
1 TBSP sesame oil
2 TBSP lime juice
1 TBSP fish sauce (omit if you are making this vegan)
1/4 cup peanuts
Start by preparing the peppers. They will act as a bowl for the red curry quinoa so you want to wash the peppers and then cut the tops off (keep the tops though because they will be the lid as the red curry quinoa cooks). Remove the seeds and the whites from the inside of the peppers, discard.
Now prepare the vegetables. Peel and dice the onion and zuchinni, then slice the chilli diagonally. Set these ingredients aside as you wash the quinoa in a sieve (make sure to wash the quinoa very well otherwise it will have a bitter taste).
In a saucepan with a tight fitting lid fry the onion in the sesame oil on medium high heat until it just begins to soften. Add the red curry paste and fry it off for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. This releases all of the fragrant spices, you’ll be able to tell as soon as you have cooked off the spices but be careful not to burn them! Once you have cooked off the red curry add the washed quinoa grains and stir to coat them in the red curry spices. Toast the quinoa for about 30 seconds and then add the coconut milk and the water. Bring the quinoa mixture to the boil over high heat then reduce to a simmer over low heat. Cover and cook for 12 – 15 minutes (try not to check the quinoa before 12 minutes are up as you will be cooking the quinoa by the absorption method – you don’t want any of your liquid to evaporate).
While this cooks, pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius (350oF). Drizzle a pan with some oil and place the peppers standing up on their bottom.
Once the 12/15 minutes is up for the quinoa, remove the saucepan lid and give the quinoa a stir (it may be quite liquid still but this is OK, the quinoa will continue to absorb the remaining liquid). Once the quinoa is cooked to your liking add the zucchini, chilli and coriander. Stir. Then add the lime juice, palm sugar and fish sauce (if using). Stir to combine.
Now it’s time to stuff your peppers. Spoon the red curry quinoa mixture into the peppers and press down (not too firmly). Fill to overflow over the top of the peppers slightly. Pop the top of the pepper on top as a lid. Cover the pan in foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and then bake for another 15 minutes.
Prep your ingredients (missing from these picture are peanuts). I know there are peas in this picture, I decided not to use them…
Prep the peppers…
Cook the onion until it just starts to turn translucent, add the curry paste and cook until fragrant, stirring constantly.
Toast the quinoa…
Add the coconut milk and the water, bring to the boil and then simmer covered for 12 to 15 minutes…
Pre-heat the oven while the quinoa cooks and come back after 12 – 15 minutes and your quinoa should look something like this…
Add the zucchini, coriander, chillies, lime juice, palm sugar, fish sauce (if using) and peanuts…
Mix it all together and spoon it into the peppers…
Bake covered with alfoil for 30 minutes. Remove the alfoil and cook for another 15 minutes or until it looks ready…