Its raining like cats and dogs since past 4 days, and when you see the dark gloomy clouds looming over your kitchen, you suddenly lose the enthusiasm to cook any elaborate meals. Funny how weather affects your cooking plans, or maybe I just blamed the weather for an excuse to give myself a break from any heavy cooking!
However, whenever it rains in India, people rush into their kitchens to get their woks on the stove, and start chopping their favorite veggies to make Veggie Fritters or Bhajiyas – vegetables like onions, potatoes, eggplant, jalapeno peppers are dipped in a simple chickpea-flour batter and deep fried, then served hot with chutneys. Its a comforting childhood memory, and that’s what inspired me to try these Jalapeno Poppers [photo courtesy Kraft Recipes] which I adapted a little to give them an Indian flavor touch.
I added a hint of Tandoori Masala for extra flavor, and opted to use bread crumbs instead of crushed biscuits, as the original recipe called for. I also found that its easier to fry whole peppers stuffed with cheese mixture, as they are less prone to disintegrate; if you halve the peppers, make sure you firmly press the bread crumbs over the cheese filling, else you’ll end up with the latter leaking out in your oil. Also, make sure you coat the entire pepper generously with the flour mixture. If this is hard, you can just mix milk into the flour to create a smooth thick batter, then dip your peppers in this and drop into oil for frying. This method is definitely cleaner, as you can see in the photo below, but uses more oil. Regardless of how you make them, you’ll end up with a bowl of spicy peppers that will vanish in no time!
Indian-Style Jalapeno Poppers
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
24 fresh jalapeno peppers
1 packet (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup flour
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp tandoori masala (or garam masala powder)
pinch of salt
large bowl of Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup plain milk (for dipping/coating)
2 cups oil, for frying
Cut a lengthwise slit on top of each pepper; scrape out seeds and veins and set aside.
Mix the flour with the salt, tandoori masala and garlic powder and keep in one bowl.
Now prepare your work area – Keep aside a bowl for each of these: cheese mixture (mix the cheddar with the cream cheese), flour mixture, panko crumbs, and milk.
Do this for each pepper – stuff with cheese mixture, roll it in milk, roll in flour, back in milk, then roll in panko crumbs to coat heavily, and set aside. Continue this process until all the jalapenos are stuffed and breaded.
Place all prepared peppers in single layer on a shallow pan and refrigerate for 15 mins. This will help them firm up and not disintegrate while frying.
Heat oil in medium wok. Once the oil is hot enough, fry the peppers in batches, 6-7 peppers at a time. You can deep fry them, or shallow-fry them, if you like. Fry until golden brown on all sides.
Drain the poppers on paper towels and serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce.