These vegetarian capsicums are stuffed with rice, herbs and baharat, an aromatic spice blend used in Middle Eastern cuisine. Other stuffings include pine nuts, chickpeas, sumac and paprika. Serve as an entrée or as part of a banquet.
- 1 cup medium-grain rice, washed
- 2 tomatoes (about 1 cup), finely chopped
- 1 large brown onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup loosely packed, finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- ½ cup finely chopped mint
- 125 ml (½ cup) olive oil
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) lemon juice
- 1½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp baharat spice mix
- 6 medium red capsicums (see Note)
Baharat spice mix (see Note)
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.
Preheat oven to 170°C. Combine the baharat ingredients and set aside.
In a large saucepan, combine the rice, tomatoes, onions, herbs, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and baharat and mix well. Add 275 ml cold water and stir to combine. Bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook gently for 12–13 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and spread the rice on a tray to cool.
Meanwhile, slice 2 cm down from the top of each capsicum and reserve. Using a spoon scrape out the seeds and membrane. Arrange the capsicums in a baking dish to fit snugly.
Fill the capsicums with the cooled rice and cover with the reserved tops. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Add 125 ml (½ cup) water to the baking dish and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30–40 minutes until the capsicums are tender when pierced with a skewer. Cool and arrange on a platter to serve.
• Baharat can be found in Middle Eastern delicatessens but freshly made it will have a far superior flavour. Store leftover baharat in an airtight container.
• Filling makes enough to fill 6 x 150 g capsicums.
Photographs by Alan Benson