Chiles Rellenos, or stuffed chillies, is a simple dish consisting of battered and fried poblano chillies that are stuffed with cheese, chicken or picadillo (ground pork with raisins, nuts and spices). It is a mixture of ingredients native to Mexico being combined with those brought by the Spanish and is one of the most emblematic dishes in Mexican cooking, a staple of every household, restaurants and neighbourhood eateries.
For this version, we've stuffed our Poblano chillies with cheese to make a vegertarian friendly version. To make this dish vegan friendly, swap the cheese and milk for vegan alternatives and use aquafaba (chickpea water) as a replacement for the eggs used in the batter.
1 tin of Poblano Chillies
1/2 Pound Jack cheese cut into long narrow, strips (you are going to stuff your chillies with the cheese so you want them to fit nicely without a struggle)
For the batter:
125g (1 cup) all purpose flour
1 Teaspoon Baking powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
120g (3/4 cup) yellow or white cornmeal
242g (1 cup) Buttermilk
2 Eggs, slightly beaten
Vegetable oil for frying
Open the tin of the Poblano chillies and drain the liquid, pat them dry with a paper towel. To make the chillies less spicy remove the seeds and the whit pith, or rib, that the seeds are attached to, using a sharp knife make an incision below the stem and removing the top, the seeds and pith inside.
Take your cheese strips and carefully insert them into the inner cavity of your chillies, be careful not to split the chillies so if you have some slices that are too big take the time to resize them.
Next prepare the batter. Stir your dry ingredients together and sift them into a bowl. In a separate bowl combine your buttermilk and beaten eggs.
Tip: if you don't have buttermilk you can make some at home. For 1 cup combine 242g (1 cup) of regular milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar.
Combine the dry and wet mixture, make sure that batter is mixed well with no clumps.
Take a large pot and fill it with vegetable oil. You will need enough oil for the chillies to be submerged and float. Heat you oil and wait for it to reach 375F on a termometer, if you don't have one you can use a wooden chopstick or skewer to check to see if your oil is ready. Simply submerge the tip of the wood into the oil and if bubbles begin to pop up on the surface it is ready for frying.
Dab some water on your stuffed chillies first then dip them into plain flour and finally the batter. Hold them over the bowl to let the excess batter drip off and then transfer them to your hot oil. Be careful when placing the chillies in the oil, submerge one end and gently let go, if you throw them into the oil you can create splashback and severely burn yourself. If you happen to have a frying ladle you can use it to be extra cautious. Be sure not to crowd your chillies, you want them to have enough space for them to move around in the oil. Fry until nice and golden (around 5 minutes). When they are done remove them from the oil and transer them onto a drying rac with a paper towel on top to soak up the excess oil.
Chiles Rellenos are traditionally served with either a tomato or cream-based sauce, with a side of rice or frijoles.
This recipe was written by Hannah Thorne in collaboration with Mexgrocer. Hannah is a Latin American recipe developer living in London. Check out her website CIBUS and follow @cibuskitchen on Instagram for recipes and updates.