The 6 main secrets to prepare the perfect ‘Gemista’

After our Mega Poll: Food Edition, we are happy to crown ‘gemista’ as the best Greek dish! For this reason, please find below 6 main secrets to prepare the perfect ‘gemista’!

Features of the recipe

A relatively demanding recipe with many stages, but in the end, it compensates you to the maximum. The process of cleaning the vegetables, cooking the stuffing, and stuffing is about 1-1: 15 ′. The total baking time is around 3 hours.

Furthermore, we have two extra tips for you to make sure that your ‘gemista’ will be extremely delicious and well-balanced.

Finally, once you reach the end of our article, click on the best ‘gemista’ recipe from a very famous and talented Greek chef, Akis Petretzikis, and ‘kali orexi’!

Let’s begin:

Preparing Gemista by Agnee
Preparing Gemista by Agnee


1. The main secret is to use the flesh of the pepper in the filling

The fleshy white-green part under the lid, where the spores are on it, as well as the thin ends of the 3 or 4 inner nerves that exist in the male and female peppers, respectively, have an incredible taste and aroma. Most of them throw them together with the spores, and thus deprive their fillings of aromatic depth, giving a unique tomato flavor to the filling. These should be cleaned from the spores, rubbed in the grater, and used in the filling, giving a taste balance between the 2 main ingredients and elevating the taste of the filling.

2. The use of yellow sweet cheese in the filling

Use grated cheese that seems to be the most likely authentic choice of the old days in Smyrna, but also gouda is a great alternative.

3. Use grainy, long-grain rice, only

Why do most people buy Carolina rice or some other rice that is supposed to be ‘especially for gemista’? Those types of rice produce a greasy soft result that is not ideal. If you do not feel every grain of rice in your bite, you do not have proper gemista.

Gemista by Marco Verch
Gemista by Marco Verch

4. A little technical secret are the holes you can poke with a fork in the base of each pepper and tomato before the filling enters

This idea is great as you need to keep the stuffed juices beyond the first day, because until today - especially the peppers - needed a spoonful of sauce on top of serving. By opening these small holes at the base with two forks, you allow the filling to absorb liquids and always remain juicy. Be assured that the stuffed veggies will remain as juicy as the first day even after 7 days!

5. Plenty of parsley and mint and no other aromatic

The aromas of the combination of parsley and mint are what this recipe needs. Nothing else! Many chefs prefer to add dill; however, dill has a completely different taste profile and detunes the balance of flavors and aromas that creates the magic of this recipe.

6. Plenty of tomato sauce between the stuffing

Tomato sauce will give liquids and help the rice to be baked in the oven. Furthermore, it will gather in it the taste of all the ingredients and it will be the moisturizing element that will allow the stuffing to stay juicy in the next few days.

Two more important details, in terms of taste:

The first is that dark green peppers have much more intense flavors than light green ones.

The second is that the recipe works best with small to medium-sized peppers and tomatoes and not with large ones.

Gemista by Akis Petretzikis
Gemista by Akis Petretzikis


Please click here to read the recipe of these famous ‘ladera’ (oily food category found in the Greek cuisine) by the Greek culinary expert, Akis Petretzikis and Bon Appetit!

Feature Image credits to Akis Petretzikis

Related posts