Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Tomato tango: Tomatoes stuffed with dill flavoured rice and meat

I love to stuff stuff with stuff — stuffed bell peppers, stuffed tomatoes, stuffed aubergines, stuffed potatoes and the kind. Stuffed potato is my absolute favourite. Of course, I like it best if the stuffing is meat, or fish, or prawns. And the only time I would eat potol (pointed gourd) is when it is stuffed with a spicy meat or fish stuffing and cooked in a delicious gravy — the fabled potoler dolma every khadyoroshik (foodie) Bengali would swear by. This post, however, isn’t about potoler dolma or Bengali delicacies, though it quite looks like it right now. 
    In this post I wanted to share with you another recipe from our first Greek themed Pop Up menu — Tomatoes stuffed with dill-flavoured rice and minced lamb. This is yet another recipe I came across on and couldn’t resist trying. Like I said in my previous post, there’s no fooling around with the pop up menu. Anyway so we had decided to do these tomatoes and serve them with mini buns and garlic parsley butter and we sprinkled some Parmesan shavings on the dish. Pity we don't have pictures of the plated stuff. We were too busy doling out the dishes that we forgot to click. 
     Now this recipe uses three different fresh herbs — parsley, mint and DILL. If this was a year ago I would have panicked, fretted, fumed and finally given up the idea of trying this recipe. Where can you get fresh Dill for Christ’s sake? But after Angona, gave me an educational tour of New Market’s vegetable bazaar last winter (I had hardly ever been to that treasure trove before…what a fool) I could totally  

My aunt used to say that if you go looking you could perhaps strike a bargain on tiger’s milk in New Market. I think she was exaggerating only a little. Not only dill, you could get fresh oregano, thyme and Rosemary too. I haven’t asked them about Tarragon though. I thought it was important to mention this here because many people ask me where it is that they can get fresh herbs. And rust me the dried and bottled variety stands no chance when it comes to fresh herbs.
     Strangely, it were the beef tomatoes that got the New Market grocers into a bit of a sticky spot. And after they had smirked, laughed, grimaced and looked at each other in a way that we could well have been from another planet, one of them said “There is beet and there is tomato, nothing called beet tomato.” 


  • 4 beef tomatoes
  • pinch sugar
  • 4 tbsp Greek extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
  • 1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 200g minced lamb (I used goat's meat)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 50g long grain rice
  • 100ml chicken stock
  • 4 tbsp chopped dill
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped mint


  1. Heat oven to 180C. Slice the tops off the tomatoes and reserve. Scoop out most of the pulp with a teaspoon, being careful not to break the skin.  
  2. Finely chop the pulp, and keep any juices.
  3. Sprinkle the insides of the tomatoes with a little sugar to take away the acidity, then place them on a baking tray.
  4. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and garlic, then gently cook for about 10 mins until soft but not coloured. 
  5. Add the lamb, cinnamon and tomato purée, turn up the heat, then fry until the meat is browned. 
  6. Add the tomato pulp and juice, the rice and the stock. Season generously. 
  7. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 mins or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. 
  8. Set aside to cool a little, then stir in the herbs.
  9. Stuff the tomatoes up to the brim, top tomatoes with their lids, drizzle with 2 tbsp more olive oil (I used melted butter here), sprinkle 3 tbsp water into the tray, then bake for 35 mins. 

You could also see the recipe on

PS : Do not use Basmati where it says long grain since Basmati has a strong essence of its own.

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