Cooking 101 – Roasting Capsicums over gas flame

Western Soup - 007 Roasted Capsicum and Quinoa edited re-sized

Being Asian,  I am very at home with cooking over a gas stove. Your helpers who hail from ASEAN countries will also more accustomed to this method of cooking as opposed to using an oven. Another plus factor for roasting 1 or 2 capsicums over a gas stove is the fact that it is faster and consumes less energy than the oven method. If you are roasting 5 to 8 large capsicums, I would suggest using the “Grill” function of an oven to roast them since it will be more efficient. If you own a gas BBQ grill, this will roast your capsicums well too. Whichever method you choose to use, you are trying to reach the stage of totally charred black capsicums which are then allowed to “steam” in their own heat to finish cooking and then their charred skins peeled away and so forth.

What I have featured in the photo above and others in this blog are red capsicums. This method of roasting works just as well with green, orange, yellow or purple capsicums. Red capsicums tend to be the sweetest and someone mentioned that they contain the highest amount of Vit C.

There are many ways you can use roasted sweet roasted capsicum. They add colour, texture and sweetness to pizzas, fajitas and sandwiches. Try teaming them with other Mediterranean vegetables drizzled with some extra virgin olive oil with some cracked black pepper as an appetizer.

Health benefits. Bell Peppers contain antioxidants, vitamin C, A, E, K and B. They also contain folate, fiber, potassium, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium. One pepper is 29 calories.

How to roast a capsicum over a gas flame.

You will need a gas stove, a metal wire rack, a bowl with a cover and the capsicums.

Western Soup - 003 Roasted Capsicum and Quinoa edited re-sized

STEP 1. Wash your capsicum. Place a metal wire steamer rack over your gas burner and switch on the gas flame to a medium setting. In my photo, you will see that one capsicum balances well without the wire rack whilst the other needs it. Adjust yours as needed.

STEP 2. Carefully balance the 2 large capsicums on the metal rack and let the flames char each pepper. The capsicum will char at the portion which meets the gas flame. Turn each capsicum around, continuing to expose that each part directly to the flame, bit by bit, till the whole capsicum becomes totally black and charred.

Western Soup - 004 Roasted Capsicum and Quinoa edited re-sized

STEP 3. Whichever capsicum charred totally first, place it immediately into the covered bowl and let it steam in its own heat for about 15 mins (see above photo). Add the other when it  becomes totally charred. This step softens the capsicum and lifts the charred skin away from the soft sweet flesh (see photo below). Replace cover to steep a little longer if the charred capsicum doesn’t give a little under the pressure of your finger.

Western Soup - 005 Roasted Capsicum and Quinoa edited re-sized

Western Soup - 006 Roasted Capsicum and Quinoa edited re-sized

STEP 4.  This stage is a little messy. Hence, roll back the tops of a plastic bag, spread it open beside your bowl containing your softened capsicum. Use your fingers or a paring knife and peel and scrape away all the charred bits into the plastic bag. Give each capsicum a good wipe with disposable kitchen towels to remove all charred bits (washing them tends to also wash away their sweet smoky flavour).

STEP 5. Lay each roasted capsicum on its side on a chopping board. Make a slit to each. Then, remove the stem, membrane and seeds. Perhaps a wipe or two wipe with disposable kitchen towels again. Cut each capsicum into slices or chopped pieces, depending on what you are intending to use them for.

PREPARE THEM AHEAD. They keep well refrigerated for a maximum of 5 days or if they are immersed in olive oil, you can keep them for a week or so.

My blog recipe called “Roasted Capsicum and Quinoa” is a delicious and substantial soup that will satisfy taste buds and fill hungry stomachs. Click here.

Antipasto Platter

Roasted red and yellow capsicums in olive oil are one of the many ingredients needed to create an attractive antipasto plate like the one below (photo taken from internet). Parma ham, bocconini, roasted zuchini and aubergines, several types of olives combine well when you entertain!

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