I was trying something random the other day. I told Alok I was cooking something special that day. Special meant something new, since I had not attempted a new recipe or a new dish in a long time.
As I added the unplanned ingredients one after the other, cooked and sampled it, the mixture was tasty and spicy. So I thought of stuffing it in tomatoes, and baked it to see what happens. I considered being prepared with a Plan B, but the stuffed tomatoes turned out great!
Prepare the Tomatoes
Select firm tomatoes. Slice the top off, reserve it, slice a tiny part from the bottom of the tomato just until it can stand straight on its own, scoop out the tomato seeds and discard, reserve remaining contents of the tomato and chop them. Do this for four tomatoes. Chop an extra tomato if required so that you have about ¼ cup. A little less or a lot more will not be a big deal.
Rub a little salt and black pepper powder on the insides of the hollow tomatoes and leave them upside down for 15 minutes. This way, it seasons them and helps the extra moisture drain out. (Tip by Dhanya Samuel)
1 tsp oil
¼ cup onion, finely chopped
1 tsp garlic, finely chopped (or use garlic paste)
1 tsp ginger, grated (or use ginger paste)
1 tsp green chilies, finely chopped (or use green chili paste)
¼ cup potato, parboiled and mashed
¼ cup tomatoes, chopped
½ tsp salt <or to taste>
¼ cup fresh paneer, crumbled
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
1 tsp lemon juice
Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Add finely chopped onion, sauté till translucent. Add garlic, ginger, and green chilies, mix. Add potato, tomatoes, and salt. At the end – add paneer, cilantro, and lemon juice, mix well until the mixture comes together. Should be neither too moist, nor too dry. Switch off heat.
This spicy paneer and potato mixture can be used as a stuffing to make Paneer-Potato Stuffed Paratha (this quantity will make about 6 paratha), can be used as a stuffing in a samosa to make Paneer-Potato Samosa (will make about 8-10 samosa), or can be stuffed in tomatoes (about 4-5 large tomatoes) to be served as a side dish – as we shall do in this post.
Assemble Tomatoes Stuffed with Paneer and Potato Mixture
Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
Meanwhile, stuff your tomatoes generously with the prepared mixture. Remember the top part of the tomato you had slit and reserved? Use that as a lid on your tomato. Prepare all the stuffed tomatoes. You could choose to top your stuffed tomatoes with breadcrumbs or cheese, but I did not. If you choose to do so, you do not need to put the tomato slice as lid on top since you'd like the cheese to melt well and the breadcrumbs to brown and become crunchy.
Then bake at 180C/350F for 15-20 minutes. When you see the skin on your firm tomato become a little wrinkly and starts to peel out a little, you know they are done. Slice into two halves, serve as a side dish with roti, burrito, pasta, bread for breakfast, or with just about anything.
Stuffed tomatoes are so simple to make and bake, can be prepared beforehand, look presentable. Numerous options for the stuffing each time you want to try something new. You can add some cashew nuts, raisins, and anything else you like. You can make stuffed tomatoes in gravy too. You can add various spices, herbs, and your own choice of flavors in both the stuffing and the topping. The flexibility is the best part.
Enjoy.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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