Readers' Recipe Swap: Stuffed

 ,  |  Updated: April 19, 2013 13:05 IST

Readers' Recipe Swap: Stuffed

This week you have been filling everything from sea bass to onions with goat's cheese, fennel seeds, lamb mince, creme fraiche, chilli flakes ... Felicity Cloake picks her favourites.

There wasn't even a hint of Paxo for this week's theme of "stuffed", and I was bowled over by the variety of entries, from Vietnamese stuffed chicken wings, to Latin American empanadas and good old jacket potatoes. But in the end, the intense flavours of Claire Cameron's south Indian fish dish stood out.

The winning recipe: keralan stuffed fish

As soon as I tasted this masala-stuffed fish on a beach in Goa, I had to try to recreate the recipe. I hope you love it as much as I did when I first came across it.
Claire Cameron, New York

Serves 2

2 whole red snappers or similar (sea bass or bream, perhaps), heads and tails on, but gutted and cleaned
1½ tsp turmeric
1 lemon, to squeeze
Vegetable oil, to cook
2 sprigs dried curry leaves (about 8)
½ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 onion, diced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
2 green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
Handful of coriander leaves, chopped


1 Cut shallow slits in the skin of the fish and rub 1 tsp turmeric into them. Squeeze lemon juice inside the cavity and set aside, covered, in the fridge.

2 Fry the spices in oil over a medium heat until fragrant; do not let them burn. Add the garlic, ginger and onion and sweat over a low heat. Once soft and golden, add the tomatoes and chillies, and cook for about 15 minutes until soft and yellow. Allow to cool, then mix in most of the coriander.

3 Stuff the inside "pocket" of the fish with as much masala as possible without overfilling it, then seal with cocktail sticks. Leave to marinate for between 30 minutes and 3 hours.

4 Heat the grill to 200C/400F/gas mark 6 and cover the pan in foil. Place your fish in the pan and cover with any remaining masala. Grill for 8-10 minutes on each side. (Not an exact science, I will admit. You may need less/more time.)

5 Once the skin of the fish is browned and starting to crisp, it is ready to be sprinkled with the remaining coriander and eaten with some coconut chutney.

Kurdish kubba

Kubba (patties stuffed with mince) are eaten all over the Middle East and can be made with bulgur wheat or potato. This version from Iraqi Kurdistan is made with rice and was given to us by a young Kurdish refugee who now runs a successful pie and mash shop in Ashford. His mother taught him to make these snacks when he was a child.
Jessica Maddocks, Kent Refugee Action Network, Canterbury,

Makes 5-10

350g pilau rice
1 egg yolk
½ tsp turmeric
5 tbsp olive oil,
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
150g lamb mince
Pinch of dried chilli flakes
1 tbsp tomato puree

1 Cook the rice in plenty of water so it's very sticky, then leave to cool overnight.

2 The next day, mash the rice and mix in the egg and turmeric.

3 Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan and fry the garlic and onion until soft. Add the mince and cook through, then add the chilli and tomato puree and fry for a further 5 minutes before taking off the heat. Season well.

4 Take a small handful of rice and shape it into a ball in the palm of your hand. Make a hole in the middle and fill this with a teaspoon of meat. Seal the rice ball and flatten it to form a patty. Repeat until the mixture is used up.

5 Heat the rest of the oil over a high heat and fry the patties until golden brown.


These little aubergine involtini are common throughout southern Italy. Most versions include mozzarella and ham but my mother-in-law, from Puglia, uses mortadella. My recipe is based on hers, with a few additions of my own: pine nuts, lemon zest, mint and basil.
Katharine Roberts, Denbigh,

Makes about 15

2 large aubergines
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to cook
100g ricotta salata or goat's cheese
125g ball mozzarella, finely chopped
50g sliced mortadella, roughly chopped
25g parmesan, grated
75g pine nuts
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 garlic clove, crushed
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 egg, beaten
400g passata

1 Cut the aubergines lengthwise into thinnish slices and brush with oil. Cook on a very hot griddle until soft and striped. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5.

2 Mix together all the other ingredients except the passata, and season to taste.

3 Put a small amount of filling on each aubergine slice and roll it up tightly. Place in a lightly greased gratin dish, pour over the passata and a drizzle of olive oil and season.

4 Bake for about 25-30 mins. Serve warm rather than hot.

Roast chicken stuffed with carrot and ginger

This stuffing came about because I had some fresh carrot chutney left over after making a curry. Being thrifty, I used it in the next night's roast chicken stuffing. Adding the lime juice and ground cumin to the chicken skin gives it a warm spiciness. Do use the juices to make gravy.
Johann Doorley, Conna, County Cork

Serves 4-6

1 small carrot, grated
1 small piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 shallot, finely sliced
1 tbsp oil
½ tsp black mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 lime
100g breadcrumbs
1 small egg
1 chicken
1 tsp cumin seeds, roasted and ground
25g butter

1 In a bowl, combine the carrot, ginger and shallot. Heat the oil in a small pan and heat the mustard and unroasted cumin seeds until they start to pop. Add the seeds and oil to the bowl with the carrot. Then add the juice of half the lime, the breadcrumbs and egg, season and mix well.

2 Use this to stuff the neck end of the chicken. Secure the skin around the stuffing with cocktail sticks.

3 Squeeze the other half-lime over the chicken and sprinkle with the roasted ground cumin seed and seasoning. Spread the butter on to a sheet of greaseproof paper and use this to cover the chicken for the first third of its roasting time.

4 Roast in your usual way and remember to remove the cocktail sticks before serving. I like to serve this with creamy mashed spuds, buttered carrots with a sprinkle of ground cumin, and kale with mustard seeds.

Sausage-stuffed onions

This is inspired by an April Bloomfield recipe in her book A Girl and Her Pig. As well as adapting it to make it more pleasing to the eye, I've jazzed up the stuffing with apple and fennel seeds.
Claire Wilson, Johannesburg,

Serves 2

4 red onions
1 bulb garlic
Fresh thyme
2 pork sausages
25g breadcrumbs
1 apple, grated
1 tsp fennel seeds
Knob of butter
Splash of white wine
220ml reduced-fat cream or creme fraiche
225ml chicken or vegetable stock

1 Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Peel the onions and trim the roots so they stand upright. Use an apple corer to remove the centre, being careful not to go right through. Use a knife to make a little more space for the stuffing, keeping the bits of onion.

2 Place the onions in an ovenproof dish, rub with oil and sprinkle with salt. Peel off the outer layers of the bulb of garlic to expose the cloves, then place in the dish with the onions. Drizzle with a little more oil and scatter with thyme. Add 75ml water, then cover and bake for 50 minutes until softened, then allow to cool.

3 Remove the meat from the sausages and mix with the breadcrumbs, apple, fennel seeds, some thyme and a little black pepper. Fry over a medium-high heat for a couple of minutes, until crispy golden bits start forming.

4 Stuff the onion with the sausage mixture, drizzle with oil, then return to the oven for 20 minutes until golden brown.

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5 For the sauce, finely chop the reserved pieces of onion and soften in the butter. Add a splash of white wine and some thyme, then squeeze the contents of the roasted garlic cloves into the pan. Add the cream and stock, then bring to the boil and simmer until thickened. Drizzle over the onions to serve.

Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian



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