Christmas Bells

Stuffed Roasted Bell peppers with Quinoa and Andhra Style pulled chicken, baked with thyme and rosemary and tossed in Indian Spicy Aromatic Masala

Christmas for me means the vibrant colours, cakes and cookies, lots of song and dance and bonfire and Christmas bells. I remember as a kid, going to a friend’s house and help aunty decorate the Christmas tree, put lights and help her in the kitchen. Aunty always used basic ingredients to make yummy dishes and not fancy dishes to serve. She used to say your dish should speak for itself. My dish “Christmas Bell” is an ode to her everyone who is afraid to step in to kitchen and too intimidated with that big Chef’s knife, different spices or that oven and stove in the kitchen.

Quinoa has been in the world for over 5,000 years and has been called;the mother grain;
Technically, it is not a grain but a seed, though it is used in virtually all the same ways as other whole grains. It is a complete protein source and also high in iron, magnesium, and fiber. It is healthy, and incredibly easy and quick to cook.

Ingredients Quantity
Quinoa 1 ½ cups
Water/Broth 4 ½ cups
Fresh Thyme and Rosemary 2-4 sprigs
Salt To taste


  1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly with normal water for about 2 minutes.
  2. Soak quinoa for about 40-45 minutes before you start cooking.
  3. Drain the water, and toast quinoa in saucepan for about 1 minute to let the water evaporate
  4. Add water/broth with fresh thyme and rosemary and bring it to a boil.
  5. Mix salt and to a boil again.
  6. Lower heat and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Turn heat down and cook again for 15 minutes.
  7. Switch off the flame and let it stand for 5 minutes.
  8. Remove the lid, and use a fork to fluff.

Note: You can also follow the instructions written at the back of quinoa packet.

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells | Picture courtesy: Sadaf Hussain

Andhra Style Pulled Chicken

Ingredients Quantity
Chicken legs 400 gms
Medium Onion/shallots (thinly sliced) 4 pcs
Green chilies (slit) 2-3
Turmeric powder ¼ tbsp
Coriander powder 1½ tbsp
Meat masala ½ tsp
Curry leaves 4-6 sprigs
Mustard seeds A pinch
Ginger garlic paste 1 tbsp
Red chili powder 1 tbsp
Pepper powder 2 tbsp
Garam masala ½ tsp
Dry Coconut (diced or sliced) ¼ cup
Salt To taste
Oil As required


  1. Heat oil in a saucepan and splutter mustard seeds. Add curry leaves, sliced onions, green chilies, and a little salt. Saute until the onions turn translucent
  2. Add ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute.
  3. Lower the heat and toss in all the other dry spices and dry coconut. Add a little water and mix them well
  4. Now, add chicken legs and cook for 8-10 minutes.
  5. Take the pan off the fire and transfer in to a baking tray.
  6. Pop the baking tray on the middle rack of your oven for 15 minutes on 160 °C/320 °F. Ensure to cover the baking tray with aluminium foil.
  7. After 20 minutes, you’ll notice the meat becomes tender and will start leaving the bones. Let it cook for a bit and with the help for a fork; take all the meat off the bone.
  8. In a separate bowl, mix this chicken and quinoa which we prepared earlier.

Note: I have used chicken but you can use any other meat or cauliflower as a vegetarian option.

Christmas Bell (4)
Christmas Bells | Picture courtesy: Sadaf Hussain

Roasted Bell peppers

Ingredients Quantity
Bell peppers 6
Olive Oil 3-4 tbsp
Fresh Thyme and Rosemary 6-8 sprigs
Salt and pepper To taste
Cherry Tomatoes Optional


  1. Take 6 medium sized fresh bell peppers, wash and keep them dry. You can decide on the colours.
  2. Cut the top of all your bell peppers and remove the seeds from inside. Don’t throw away the top; we will use that as the lid.
  3. Rub Olive oil, salt and pepper on bell peppers and keep them on a baking tray.
  4. Stuff these bell peppers with the prepared quinoa and pulled chicken mix to the top
  5. Pop this baking tray in to an oven with cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs for 12-15 minutes on 180 °C- on 200 °C/360 °F /400 °F.
  6. Take it out of oven and serve it hot.

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