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Palneni chushki – minced meat and rice stuffed peppers

Palneni chushki – minced meat and rice stuffed peppers

Palneni chushki or stuffed peppers is a dish popular in many countries around the world under different names but ask any Bulgarian about it and they will say it’s one of the most traditional national dishes. It has many variations, but generally all fall under one of the two kinds – vegetarian and with meat. The meat, usually ground beef, is mixed with herbs, spices and rice. Here we present the meat recipe. We used red bell peppers but don’t let this limit your creativity… you can stuff almost any kind of pepper you wish!

Serves: 4 (makes 8 stuffed peppers)

Preparation time: 60 minutes


8 bell peppers (red or green), cored and seeded, but keep the tops
300g minced meat (beef, pork or mixed)
100g rice (any white rice will do)
2 onions, chopped
parsley, chopped
3 tbs. Oil
1 tbs. dried savory
1 tsp. paprika,
salt and pepper, to the taste

150 ml fresh tomato juice or canned tomato puree (4 tbsp, diluted with water)
1 small carrot, grated and sautéed with the onions


Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onions for 2-3 minutes, add the minced meat and cook for about 5 minutes, add the rice and season with salt, pepper, savory and paprika. Add half cup of hot water and cook for another 5-6 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Take off the heat when the rice is half-cooked.

Stuff each pepper with the mixture (about 3/4 full), using a spoon. Arrange the peppers in a deep oven proof dish, and top up with hot water to half fill the dish. Should you decide to use tomato juice, pour it over the stuffed peppers, and add little hot water. Cover with foil and cook for about 30 minutes in a preheated oven (190 C ͦ).

Uncover and cook for another 15-20 minutes until the peppers are cooked. You can serve them on their own or with plain yogurt.

13 comments to Palneni chushki – minced meat and rice stuffed peppers

  • Cat

    Hi, I have a few questions about your recipe:
    1) when you add the rice to the meat/onion mixture, should the rice be cooked or uncooked?

    2) you mention tomato juice in the instructions but do not list it in the ingredients, how much is needed?

    Thanks, im intrigued to try this recipe!

  • Hi, Cat!
    Thanks for the questions – it helped me describe the recipe better.
    1. The rice have to be uncooked, first rinse it well with hot, and then with cold water. You want it half-cooked, when stuffed in peppers and it will cook in the oven.
    2. The stuffed peppers on the photo are prepared without tomato juice, although I often use it for this recipe. Adding it makes the filling richer and more tender. As for the quantity – you need something like 2-3 tbsp per pepper.

    Good luck and don’t forget to tell me whether you like them!

  • Ted

    You forgot to mention putting the tops back on. Good-looking recipe, will try it tonight.

  • Herman

    Is it possible to use fresh tomato (chopped) instead of tomato paste in this recipe?

  • vienna

    Hello Herman! Yes, ofcourse it is possible to use fresh tomatoes.
    I`ll do it today :-)

    • Herman

      I’ll try the recipe today too. Maybe you can brief the result and opinion, so we can compare. .

      • We will be happy to hear your opinions too. Good luck to both!

  • ivan

    imash li resepta za tozi sos (belia) ?

  • Natasha

    unique taste

  • londonchankata

    hahaha bulgari sreshty anglichani :D:D:D

  • Bulgarian cuisine

    […] STUFFED RED PAPRIKA WITH RICE AND MINCEMEAT – prepared with the same ingredients and art like Sarmi, but the mince and the rice are stuffed in red paprika instead of in cabbage and vine leaves […]

  • Deni

    A very tasty variation to the recipe above, and a very popular one too, is to use jarred roasted peeled red peppers which are usually prepared in the summer for use during the winter months when fresh peppers are hard to find, but can now be found at most supermarkets. You should be able to find them in the ethnic food section, with the Greek and Middle-Eastern foods. Everything else stays the same. In my opinion the flavor is even better and richer this way.

  • Internationales Weihnachten | neckarSTUDENT

    […] Kristian Kikicha, Student der Computerlinguistik aus Bulgarien: Weihnachten in Bulgarien ist mehr oder weniger gleich wie hier, aber mir ist aufgefallen, dass der Adventskalender, den meine deutsche Gastfamilie aufgehängt hat jeden Tag Geschenke enthält. Das ist das erste Mal, dass ich so etwas sehe. In Bulgarien ist es üblich dass jede Person nur ein Geschenk bekommt, außer wir reden von verwöhnten Kinder. Unser Hauptgericht am Heiligabend heißt Palneni Chushki. […]

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