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Stuffed Bell Peppers/Bharwan Shimla Mirch)  in onion tomato gravy

Stuffed Shimla Mirch or Bharwan Shimla Mirch - grilled capsicum or coloured Bell Peppers deliciously stuffed with mashed potatoes. Cooked in a thick gravy of onions and tomatoes. Paneer or curd added for the non-vegans. Serve hot with roti or rice and dal.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: bharwan shimla mirch, mashed potato, potato stuffing, stuffed bell peppers, stuffed capsicum
Servings: 2 serving
Author: Sujata Shukla


For stuffed shimla mirch

  • 6 medium capsicum or coloured bell peppers
  • 3 large Potatoes about 300 gms
  • 2 large Onions about 150 gms -reserve some for gravy
  • 2 Green chillies or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons coriander leaves minced - reserve some for garnish
  • ½ inch ginger minced - reserve some for gravy
  • ½ teaspoon salt or to taste

For the gravy

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil sunflower or similar oil without a strong flavour
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon red Chilli powder/ Kashmiri chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree optional
  • 2 tablespoons curd or fresh paneer or cream cheese
  • water for gravy
  • Reserved onion, coriander leaves and ginger from list for stuffing


To Make Bharwan Shimla Mirch/ Stuffed capsicum

  • Time: Preparation: 5 minutes Cooking : 40-45 minutes (Pressure cooking potatoes 7-8 mins; Grill 15 mins; saute 5 minutes (deep fry for 20 minutes if not grilled); Gravy and finishing 15 mins)
  • Preparation: Set the potatoes (for the stuffing) to boil. You could use a pressure cooker as you need them soft and mashable. If the bell peppers are large, then you need more potato (approx 50 gms per capsicum ) Slice the onions, tomatoes and green chillies. Mince the ginger and coriander leaves.
  • Select small bell peppers – green capsicum, yellow, red, orange peppers or a mix of available coloured ones, preferably of similar size, and as far as possible with not too many bulges and odd corners. Those with a bit of stalk on them would add to the presentation of the dish. Wash and clean well, set aside to drain and dry.
  • To make the stuffing: Peel and mash the cooked potatoes, ensuring there are no lumps. Reserve 2 tablespoons of mash for the gravy. Add a little salt (there will be some salt in the gravy, but you need some for the peppers) Slice onions, mince coriander leaves and green chilies. Reserve about a quarter of the onion and coriander leaves for the gravy and garnish, and add the remaining onion, coriander and green chilli slices to the mashed potato. Mix it all well together. Your stuffing is now ready.
    A bowl of mashed potato, coriander leaves, salt and onions for stuffed shimla mirch
  • Divide the stuffing into small portions according to the number of bell peppers used and their size. Larger ones would need more stuffing.
  • Carefully cut away the tops of each, keeping the top and stalk intact to use as a lid later on. Deseed. Lightly coat each capsicum with oil, using a light spray or daub with oil using your fingertip.
    Capsicum being prepared for stuffing by cutting and deseeding while retaining the cut tops
  • Proceed to fill each capsicum with as much potato mash as it can hold. Do it gently using a small spoon and take care not to damage or tear the capsicum while stuffing.
    Capsicum being prepared for stuffing
  • Replace the tops of each to fit snugly into the capsicum. If you have toothpicks handy, use them to clip the top to the stuffed pepper.
  • Grill the stuffed capsicum for about 15 minutes - The skin starts changing colour and peeling, becomes soft and the peppers shrink a little. Take them off the grill before it begins to scald and burn.
    Stuffed Shimla Mirch or coloured peppers stuffed with mashed potatoes and grilled
  • Optional: Heat a little oil in the frying pan and sauté the grilled stuffed peppers. Keep turning them as they fry so that all sides are evenly cooked, taking care while turning them over so that the stuffing doesn’t fall out. You may choose to skip this step and add the stuffed grilled capsicum to the gravy as in instructions below.

To Make the Curry

  • Make the Gravy: Heat oil in a pan and sauté the onions till they become translucent (about 4 minutes on a low flame). Keeping the heat on low, add the chopped ginger and sauté for one minute. Add the garam masala (mixture of spices), turmeric and chilli powder (preferably kashmiri chilli powder as it adds to the colour and flavour of the gravy without making it too spicy (hot). Sauté for one minute or till the raw smell of the chilli powder has gone.
  • Add the sliced tomatoes and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add salt to taste, keeping in mind that you have already added salt to the mashed stuffing earlier. Add the tomato puree, if you are using it, and saute for about 2 minutes, continuing to keep the heat low.
  • Add curd or a little paneer or some cream cheese. A little water to just cover the gravy. Let the gravy get nicely mixed and smooth but not become a paste. Add a little of the reserved mashed potatoes to make a more robust gravy.
    Curd or crumbled paneer or cottage cheese added to the gravy
  • Seat the grilled stuffed peppers in the gravy, turn gently and cover each stuffed pepper with gravy. Allow to cook for 5 minutes on low heat, so that the skin softens. Check that the gravy is not getting caught at the bottom of the pan.
    Place the grilled stuffed peppers carefully in the gravy with the tops on
  • Garnish with minced coriander leaves and serve hot with chappaties or rice and dhal, or all by itself too, with chunks of foccacia or other bread!