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Recipe: Bharwa Shimla Mirchi

May 30, 2024 12:39 IST
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Chef Kunal Kapoor's Bharwa Shimla Mirchi could be served to a nawab, so classy and handsome is the dish.

Stuffed with spicy alu, corn and paneer, the bell peppers are then simmered in a rich red gravy and must be eaten with some buttery naans.

This elegant preparation is very representative of Chef Kapoor's repertoire of celebratory, party-worthy food.

Bharwa Shimla Mirchi

Photograph: Kind courtesy Chef Kunal Kapoor

Serves: 3-4


  • 3-4 red Shimla mirchi or bell peppers or capsicums
  • 2-3 tbsp oil for frying the stuffed peppers
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp chopped ginger
  • Pinch kasoori methi or dried fenugreek leaves, powdered
  • Handful chopped green dhania or coriander or cilantro

For the stuffing

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • ½ tsp kalonji or nigella seeds 
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic, optional
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 1 green chilly, chopped
  • ½ cup boiled corn kernels
  • 1 cup mashed potato
  • Salt to taste, about 1½ tsp
  • Pinch black pepper powder
  • ½ tsp chilly flakes
  • 200 gm paneer, mashed
  • Handful chopped green dhania or coriander or cilantro

 For the gravy

  • 2 tbsp oil 
  • 1 tej patta or bay leaf
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 1 bada elaichi or black cardamom
  • ½ tbsp jeera or cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp whole dhania or coriander seeds
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp haldi or turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp Kashmiri chilly powder
  • 1½ tbsp dhania or coriander powder
  • ½ tbsp black pepper powder
  • 1 green chilly, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • Salt to taste, about 1½ tsp
  • Water


For the stuffing

  • Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat and add the nigella seeds, ginger, garlic and saute them for a minute.
    Add the chopped onions, green chilly and cook till the onions turn translucent.
    Then add the boiled corn and cook for a few minutes more.
    Now add in the mashed potatoes, salt, pepper, chilly flakes and mix.
    Mix in the mashed paneer and cook it for 1-2 minutes more and then add the chopped coriander.
    Take off heat and cool.

For the gravy

  • Heat the oil in a saucepan or kadhai over medium heat and add in bay leaf, peppercorns, black cardamom, cumin, whole coriander.
    Then add the chopped onions and cook for a few seconds.
    Add in the chopped ginger, garlic and fry for a few minutes till the onions turn brown and then add in turmeric, red chilly powder, black pepper powder, chopped green chilly.
    Stir and add in the chopped tomatoes, salt and fry over high heat for 3-4 minutes till the tomato reduces and dries a little.
    Add enough water to have a thick gravy and leave to simmer over low heat for a few minutes.
  • Cool and remove the whole spices and puree in a blender.


  • In the meantime, prep the bell peppers by cutting them lengthwise from the centre and remove the seeds.
    Fill the cavities of the prepped bell peppers with the cooled stuffing.
  • Heat the oil for frying the bell peppers over high heat in a deep frying pan and gently place the stuffed bell peppers in the pan, with the stuffing side down, touching the pan surface.
    Fry for about a minute and then flip over.
    Keep flipping and fry till bell peppers are evenly cooked from all sides and drain the fried bell peppers onto a plate.
  • In the same frying pan, add the butter, chopped ginger.
    Saute for around 30 seconds and add in the puréed gravy.
    Stir and add in kasoori methi and sprinkle the chopped coriander on top.
  • Pour the gravy into a serving dish and place the fried bharwa bell peppers in it and serve with naans, parathas or steamed rice.

Editor's Note: Consider adding ½ cup grated cheese to the stuffing along with ½ cup cooked chicken mince.

Optionally, add a few strands saffron to the gravy.

Chef Kunal Kapoor

Chef Kunal Kapoor is a restauranteur, author and former host and judge of MasterChef India. He was invited as a guest judge on Season 2 of MasterChef America. This recipe is kind courtesy Saffola Oils.

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