So easy to prepare, these baked capsicums are filled with savoury rice and tomato passata. Add one or two to your plate, as either a side dish or a light meal.

Our vegetable garden is groaning with fresh produce as summer reaches its height; so it’s time to look for a variety of ways to prepare different crops, as they are brought into the kitchen by the basketful. These just-picked green capsicums are so pretty when contrasted with the bright red of a tomato passata. Long grain rice is brought to life with some added fresh herbs and dried spices. Baked until tender and moist these little “pots” of food are a delight when served with either fish or chicken. They also make a simple light meal on their own.

CAPSICUM2 Baked Stuffed Capsicums

Pour boiling water over the rice and turmeric powder; soak for 10 minutes.

CAPSICUM3 Baked Stuffed Capsicums

CAPSICUM4 Baked Stuffed Capsicums

Blend strained rice with spring onions and spices.

CAPSICUM5 Baked Stuffed Capsicums

Half fill each capsicum with the rice mixture; push in a folded bay leaf.

CAPSICUM6 Baked Stuffed Capsicums

Top rice with tomato passata. Pour 1-2 cm hot water outside capsicums.

INGREDIENTS

Makes four
4 capsicums, tops and ribs removed, seeded
3/4 cup long grain rice, triple washed and strained
2 spring onions: white ends finely sliced, green ends shredded diagonally
1/4 tsp powdered cumin
1/8 tsp dried chili powder
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
4 bay leaves, fresh if available
2-3 cups boiling water
1 cup tomato passata; or 1 cup diced canned tomatoes mixed with 1 tbsp tomato paste

METHOD

Preheat oven to 170C fan forced. Place capsicum shells snugly in a deep stainless steel pot. Place the washed rice in a heatproof bowl, sprinkle turmeric powder over and cover with 1 cup of boiling water; stir to dissolve turmeric. Soak for 10 minutes, then strain.
Mix cumin, chili powder and sliced white ends of spring onions with strained soaked rice and place a quarter cup of the mixture into each capsicum shell. Tuck a folded bay leaf into the centre of each. Top with passata, season with salt and pepper. Pour the remaining cup of hot water around the outside of the capsicums, to a depth of 1-2 cms. Cover with a lid and bake for one hour or until very tender. Carefully lift each stuffed capsicum out with a large spoon and tongs. Serve one as a side dish or two as a light meal.