C hillies have always been used as a condiment as well as a side dish in itself. From vegetables made solely with chillies, to stuffing them and making a snack out of them, they have had a considerable impact on Indian cuisine. Rajasthani cuisine anyway boasts of a high spice quotient, thus chillies obviously form a major part of their daily meals.
The Besan Bharwa (popularly called Bhari) Mirch is essentially a recipe that is made by stuffing large chillies with a besan (chickpea flour) and spice mix. Once filled, these chillies are then fried in hot oil until crispy. The positive aspect of the dish is that it is both vegan and gluten free.
Besan Bharwa Mirch goes very well with the quintessential combination of dal and rice. The humble duo provides the perfect balance for the fiery dish. The stuffing is generally based out of mashed potato and besan, tempered with coriander powder, fenugreek seeds (methi), red chilli powder, asafoetida (hing), turmeric powder, mango powder (aamchur), garam masala, along with cumin and coriander. To make the Besan Bharwa Mirch even healthier, one may also bake or grill them so as to use lesser quantities of oil.
The concept of cooking large chillies is not exclusively Indian. Countries like China, Mexico and even Turkey have introduced similar recipes in their food patterns. In fact, in such countries, the mishmash that goes inside, are of multiple varieties, including non vegetarian options. Pork, beef and even chicken are used in the minced form and mixed with herbs and spices to balance out the zesty flavour of the hot peppers.
To illustrate, in Spain, you have the dish known as "Pimientos Rellenos de Arroz con Salsa de Tomates". In effect, these are large and colourful bell peppers stuffed with "Valencia or arborio rice and saffron, then cooked in a tomato sauce". In Tunisia, the stuffing incorporates lamb meat, rice, nutmeg, saffron and cardamom for the very delicious "Fil Fil Mashsi". Mexico's famed "Chile Rellenos" features a whole Poblano pepper (which originated in the state of Puebla and is known for its deep, glossy green skin, which turns red or a dark brown when it ripens) filled with carnitas (pork that is braised or simmered in oil until it turns very tender), kielbasa (sausage) and cheese.
If we turn our gaze to Hungary, we'll find the Töltött Paprika: a ground meat, rice and paprika-seasoned stuffing served with lashings of sour cream. A variation on this Hungarian stuffed pepper dish can be found in neighbouring Romania, where the "Ardei Umpluti" uses pork, rice and a sauce with a sour cream base to delicious effect. Meanwhile, the American standard tends to borrow a little bit of this and a little bit of that to come up with a classic stuffed pepper dish that has generous helpings of ground beef, rice and tomato sauce.