This is the classic Turkish rice filling for vegetables to be served cold. Choose plump bell peppers that can stand on their base. I prefer to use red peppers because they are sweeter and for the colour, but in Turkey green ones are more often used.


Serves 6
onion 1 large, chopped finely
extra-virgin olive oil 6 tbsp
short-grain or risotto rice 250g
salt and pepper
sugar 1-2 tsp
pine nuts 3 tbsp
currants or tiny black raisins 3 tbsp
tomato 1 large, peeled and chopped
ground cinnamon 1 tsp
ground allspice Ĺ tsp
mint a handful, chopped
dill a handful, chopped
flat-leaf parsley a handful, chopped
lemon juice of 1
green or red bell peppers 6 medium
natural (full-fat) yogurt 250g, mixed with 1 crushed garlic clove to serve (optional)


For the filling, fry the onion in 3 tablespoons of the oil until soft. Add the rice and stir until thoroughly coated and translucent. Pour in 450ml of water and add salt, pepper and sugar. Stir well and cook for 15 minutes or until the water has been absorbed but the rice is still a little underdone. Stir in the pine nuts, currants or raisins, the tomato, cinnamon and allspice, mint, dill and parsley and the lemon juice, as well as the rest of the oil.


Retaining the stalk, cut a circle around the stalk end of the peppers and set on one side to use as caps. Remove the cores and seeds with a spoon and fill the peppers with the rice mixture. Replace the caps.


Arrange the peppers side by side in a shallow baking dish, pour about 1cm water into the bottom, and bake in an oven preheated to 190C/gas mark 5 for 45-55 minutes or until the peppers are tender. Be careful that they do not fall apart.


Serve cold, accompanied, if you like, by a bowl of beaten yogurt, with or without crushed garlic.