By home cook Sharmini Jayawardena
After much waiting in the search for maalu miris, I finally found it at this high end supermarket. I was elated. However, the label on the pack read, Charleston peppers! A quick online search revealed that Charleston peppers are very spicy though similar in colour and shape. As I recall maalu miris has a subtle flavour. I have seen many Sri Lankan blogs referring to it as banana peppers. So, where do I stand?
This party time delicacy or afternoon tea delectable is also known as a short eat, which is the term used for finger food in Sri Lanka. It can also be had for dinner as a side dish to be served with cutlets.
In Sri Lanka, these chilies are also sought after to be made into a stuffed and cooked dry curry, to be served with rice and other accompaniments.
10 Chilies, Capsicums/Charleston peppers
washed, cut open length-wise, veins and seeds scooped out.
To de-vein and de-seed, you cut a line through the bent side of the capsicum. It becomes easy to handle it when done in this way.
Ingredients for filling – vegetable filling
The filling made with this quantity of ingredients will yield 20 stuffed chilies.
3 medium sized potatoes
1 medium carrot
1 medium sized tomato
1/2 medium big onion
2 cloves garlic
2 small green chilies
1 tsp curry mix
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
1” quill Ceylon cinnamon
2 curry leaves
2” piece rampa/pandan/screw pine
2 tbls coconut oil
1. Chop in to cubes, potato 🥔 , carrot 🥕 , tomato 🍅, onion 🧅, and garlic 🧄.
2.Slice the green chili. Separate the curry leaves from their stems and finely slice the curry leaves. Cut the pandan leaf in two.
3.Heat the oil in a pan. Add the chopped onions first, and stir fry. Then add the sliced green chili, curry leaves, pandan leaf and chopped garlic. Fry until onions are translucent.
4.Add all the spices and stir.
5.Add the chopped potato and carrot and fry for about 5 minutes, stiring.
6.Now add water to barely cover the ingredients and cook until well combined.
7.Add the chopped tomato to the mix and cook until the mixture is very dry.
Check for seasoning.
8.Remove from fire and set aside to cool. Do not cover. Let all the moisture evaporate.
Your filling is done.
Ingredients for batter
150gms all purpose flour
75ml water, or enough water to make a thick batter.
A few pinches of sea salt
75gms bread crumbs. Spread on a plate. Add more as you go along.
Enough coconut oil to deep fry.
I used store bought Japanese breadcrumbs. The ideal being the Sri Lankan sun dried left over bread, ground in the pestle and mortar or the grinder.
1. Carefully stuff the chili with the filling, using a teaspoon. Continue until you are done with all the chilies. Set aside.
2. Add about 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour to a plate and dust the chilies one by one in the flour, as you go on. This will help adhere the coating to the surface of the chili.
3. Prepare the batter as per instructions given above.
4. Hold the chili by the stem and place it upright in the batter, pouring the batter over the chili with a spoon, until well coated.
5. Transfer to the plate holding the breadcrumbs and sprinkle the crumbs all over the chili until well coated. You can roll them on the breadcrumbs to achieve a thick and good coating.
6. Now fry, one chili at a time on low to medium flame. Let them fry some what slowly, so that the flesh of the chili gets fairly done.
7. Drain with a frying spoon, on to a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain excess oil.
Arrange on a plate and serve warm.
*Sinhala for Charleston Peppers.