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Tico tempting chiles rellenos

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Published on Friday, May 17, 2024

By Melissa Pette

That one perfect dish for a perfect sunny afternoon is chiles rellenos or stuffed peppers.

This peppers recipe is a classic Tico dish traditionally consisting of fresh, mild sweet red peppers stuffed with a savory meat and veggie filling. The stuffed pepper is roasted or fried and then dipped in a batter of your own choice.  

You can stuff the peppers with any variety of meat and vegetables but traditionally, chiles rellenos were stuffed with cheese, coated in egg batter or breaded and fried. 

So, let's go to the kitchen!

To serve 4 people, the ingredients are:

  • 4 sweet red large sweet peppers.
  • 4 eggs, yolks and whites separated.
  • cup all-purpose flour.
  • 1 tablespoon salt.
  • ⅓ tablespoon black pepper (optional).
  • 1 cups shredded mozzarella cheese.
  • cup fresh yellow sweet corn.
  • 1 cup vegetable oil, for frying.
  • Paper towels.
  • Plastic wrap or a baking sheet.

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.
  • white onion, chopped.
  • teaspoon pepper powder (optional).
  • 2 cloves garlic.
  • cup chicken stock.
  • 1 pound sweet red tomatoes, cored and halved.
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves.
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar.
  • 1 teaspoon salt.
  • ⅓ tablespoon freshly ground black pepper (optional).


First, char the peppers. Turn a gas burner on high. Char the peppers on the burner grate, turning with tongs, until blackened all over, around 5-7 minutes. Or another way would be to char the peppers under the broiler.

Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap or a baking sheet and let the peppers steam until cool enough to handle for about 15 minutes.

Gently rub the peppers with paper towels to remove as much skin as possible.

Use a hand mixer to beat the egg whites to stiff peaks in a medium bowl. 

In a small bowl, mix 2 egg yolks with 1 tablespoon flour and teaspoon salt.

Place the remaining flour on a small plate. Mix one-third of the egg whites into the 2 egg yolks, and then gently fold the egg yolk mixture into the remaining egg whites just until incorporated.

In a third bowl, mix together the cheese, ⅓ tablespoon black pepper and corn.

Remove seeds and membranes from peppers by slicing them open along one side. Slice about two-thirds the length of the pepper, just long enough to remove the seeds with a small spoon. Stuff the peppers with the cheese mixture, squeezing the cheese gently so that it would stay together.

Heat 1 cup of oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.

Gently roll the peppers in the flour. Coat the peppers in the egg batter by dunking and spooning the batter all around. Lift the pepper, and gently spoon off any excess batter hanging from the bottom. Place in the hot oil and fry until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Place on paper towels to absorb the excess oil.

The sauce. Add the oil to a medium saute pan over medium heat. Then add the onions and cook until softened for about 3-5 minutes, add the pepper powder and garlic, and cook until fragrant, 1 minute longer. 

Add the chicken stock and the tomatoes with their juice and bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool for a few minutes. Mix in the blender, but the sauce will not be smooth. Add the cilantro, vinegar, salt and a bit more pepper to taste.

You need to serve it immediately and topped with the sauce. These peppers are so good... betcha you can't eat just one!

Have a Pura Vida weekend!

Everyone is invited to share their recipes with a horizontal photo of the dish by emailing More Costa Rica's delightful recipes can be found on the AM Costa Rica Food page.


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