icon Chile Relleno

People eat stuffed peppers all over the world. In India they are called Bharvan Mirch, and consist of bell peppers stuffed with cooked meat, potatoes, onions, and seasoned with chili, turmeric, coriander, cilantro, salt and lemon juice. The peppers are then either pan-fried or baked. They are called Pimientos Rellenos in Spain and Yemista in Greece, and consist of a pod, \ usually a bell pepper, stuffed with rice and herbs, then baked. Stuffed peppers are eaten all over central and southeastern Europe: Plněná paprika (Czech), Punjena paprika (Croatian and Serbian), Polnjena paprika (Slovenian), Faszerowana papryka (Polish), Töltött paprika (Hungarian), and Gefüllte Paprika (German). These recipes are similar to the Spanish and Greek variety, in that the pepper are filled with minced meat and rice. Stuffed peppers are eaten in the United States, again using bell peppers (often the green variety), and are typically filled with a stuffing such as ground beef mixed with breadcrumbs or cooked rice, egg, herbs and spices (especially paprika and parsley), and cheese.

Then, in Central America, there is the Chile Relleno! More tasty, crunchy and spicy hot. Chiles rellenos are one of those quintessential comfort foods! In Guatemala, a chile pepper is stuffed with shredded pork and vegetables, covered with egg batter and fried. The Mexican version is similar: it consists of a pod of a mild green chile pepper, such as pasilla or poblano, stuffed with cheese (traditionally queso fresco), occasionally grouind meat, covered in an egg batter, and fried. A related dish, Jalapeño poppers, are smaller than chile rellenos but hotter. They are jalapeño peppers that have been hollowed out, stuffed with a mixture of cheese, spices, and sometimes ground meat, then deep fried.

Chile Relleno breaded traditionally
in corn masa flour.

Chile Relleno breaded with egg batter.
Chile Relleno comes originally from the city of Puebla in southern Mexico. It consists of a mild chile pepper such as the poblano (in the United States usually the Anaheim, which is indigenous to California), which has been roasted and stuffed with cheese, coated and deep-fried. In Mexico, the stuffing is usually cheese such as queso Chihuahua or queso Oaxaca, or picadillo meat made of diced pork, raisins and nuts, seasoned with canella. It is covered either in egg batter or simply in corn masa flour, and fried. It is usually served with a sauce, such as red or green chile sauce or mole. In the American kitche, asadero, asiago, Monterey Jackor white cheddar cheeses are typically used.


  • 4 green chile peppers (i.e. anaheim, pasilla)
  • 1 pound queso fresco cheese, skliced in long strips
  • Toothpicks
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 medium Roma tomatoes, peeled
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp chicken broth powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp oregano, chopped (optional)


  1. Prepare the batter. Separate the egg yolks and the whites. Whip the yolks briefly with a fork. Add the whites to a large bowl and beat with an electric beater until they become fluffy. Add the flour and the egg yolks, and mix until completely incorporated.
  2. Wash and dry the chiles. Heat a dry frying pan and toasted the chiles on all side, turning frequently. Once the chiles are blackened on all sides, transfer them to a plastic bag. Cover in a dish towel and let sweat for a 10 minutes.
  3. Prepare the sauce. In a blender, purée the tomatoes, garlic and onion for the sauce. Heat some oil in a saucepan and add the contents of the blender. Add the chicken broth powder, if desired, to add more flavor. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 30 minutes. At the end, thicken the sauce with a small amount of roux made from about 1/4 cup oil and 1 tsp flour. for about a half-hour, until it turns deep red.
  4. While the sauce is cooking, remove the chiles from the bag and peel them. Rinse them, slice them open lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
  5. Place the cheese strips inside the chile pods, careful not to tear them. Secure with toothpicks if necessary.
  6. Heat the rest of the oil in the frying pan. One at a time, dredge the chiles in the flour, dunk in the batter and transfer to the hot frying pan. Depending on the size of the pan, fry two chiles at a time, working in batches. Cook them on all sides, until golden-brown.
  7. To serve, simply arrange a chile on a plate and ladle the tomato sauce over it. Various rice or bean dishes can be served as a side dish.
  8. YIELD: Serves 4.

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Last updated: June 1, 2014