I am always on the lookout for dinner ideas as my husband wants to have something different and not regular dal roti for dinner. I came across images of Zucchini boats on the internet a few days back, which inspired me to create my own version. I have used Sama rice for the filling. Now this Sama rice has also been languishing in my fridge for months, so decided to put it to good use. You can be really creative with the filling. Use millets, quinoa, couscous Paneer or even mince meat. I had no idea how to cook Sama rice as I was using it for the first time. I soaked it for 20 minutes and then boiled it in salted water like regular rice. It was done in a couple of minutes. I feel soaking it for less time will be a better idea. I have used tomato pesto, which I had in the fridge but you can use pasta or pizza sauce. The filling turned out to be much more than needed, so either you can reduce its quantity or freeze the extra like I did. These can also be served as finger food at parties. You can make the filling in advance. When my husband had his first bite his jaw dropped, had never tasted something so good before, said he. Indeed, it was true for me too.
For the filling Sama rice 1/2 cup Water 4 cups Bell pepper 1/2 cup finely chopped Onion 1/2 cup finely chopped Garlic 4 cloves finely chopped Green Chilli 1 finely chopped Celery 1 tbsp finely chopped Tomato pesto 4 tbsp Pepper pd to taste Salt 1 tbsp + extra Olive oil 2 tbsp For the boats Zucchini 2 large but firm Tomato 1 Basil leaves a few Mozzarella cheese 50 gms Olive oil 2 tbsp Salt to taste Pepper pd to taste Method
Wash the Zucchini
Cut it into two length wise.
Carefully remove the pulp leaving a thickness of half an inch all around.
Wrap the Zucchini in cling film and leave it in the fridge.
Now chop this pulp very fine.
Wash and soak Sama rice for 10 minutes.
Boil 4 cups water in a large sauce pan.
Once it come to boil, add salt and rice.
Be very alert the rice will be be done very quickly.
Strain it. Pour some cold water over it so that it stops cooking further.
It might look a little gooey but don't worry, as it cools, the grains will separate.
In a pan, heat olive oil.
Tip in green chilli and garlic.
Saute for half a minute.
Then tip in onion and Celery.
Cook till both turn soft.
Now add bell peppers and the Zucchini pulp.
Saute for a couple of minutes.
Now add tomato pesto or pizza sauce.
Mix well and add a little salt and pepper powder.
Now add the rice.
Mix everything well and cook till the rice gets all the flavors.
Taste and adjust salt and pepper. Let it be on the higher side because the bland Zucchini will balance it out.
Keep it aside.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
Mix salt and pepper in olive oil and brush the Zucchini generously.
Fill in with the filling prepared. Use as much filling as you can.
Slice the tomato into thin slices.
Place these slices on the filling.
Top it with cheese.
Dip the basil leaves in the oil mixture that we have prepared.
Place them on top of cheese.
Bake these for 25-30 minutes till Zucchini gets tender but not mushy and cheese changes color slightly.
Let it rest for a few minutes before serving.