Two very popular snacks – the quintessential cutlet, and the samosa, are staples in Indian cuisine. A hot cup of tea, or ‘chai’ as we call it, accompanied by one of these flavourful, deep fried delights, is the way we tackle our evening hunger pangs 😀 Especially in the rainy season, when all you crave is buckets of spice, flavour and crunch, these are a must! My husband is strongly based out of the samosa camp, in that he would unfailingly pick a samosa, every time he needed to choose between a samosa and a cutlet. I on the other hand, prefer cutlets to samosas.
Veggie cutlets are nothing but fried patties, made from a medley of mashed vegetables, fresh herbs and spices. These are crumb-coated and deep fried for maximum crunch, and of course, calories 😀 Of course you could also shallow fry these on a griddle or tawa, if you prefer it. The cutlets are usually served with an accompaniment of mint chutney and tamarind chutney, a combination of spicy and sweet, to round off the amazing pre-dinner snack experience. If you find yourself out of time, or patience to make these accompaniments, resort to the ever available tomato ketchup – it will not disappoint!
- Potato – 1 big
- Carrot – 1 medium
- Green peas – 1/4 cup
- Beetroot – 1 small
- Chaat masala – 1/2 tsp
- Kitchen King masala – 1/2 tsp
- Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
- Red chilly powder (Kashmiri) – 1/4 tsp
- Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
Herbs & Other:
- Fresh coriander leaves, chopped – 2 tbsp
- Ginger, chopped – 1 tbsp
- Garlic, chopped – 1 tbsp (optional)
- Green chillies , chopped – 2
For the coating:
- Bread crumbs – 1 cup
- All purpose flour / maida – 3 tbsp
- Water – 3 tbsp
Oil for frying
Salt to taste
Sugar – 1/2 tsp
- Chop your veggies into big chunks. We’re going to mash them later so don’t bother with the chopping. Just make sure you peel the potato and beetroot.
- Add water to just cover the veggies, and pressure cook for two whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.
- This is how the cooked veggies will look.
- Set up a colander over some kind of vessel.
- Drain the veggies.
- The vegetable broth will get collected in the vessel below the colander.(See TIPS & TWEAKS at end of this blog post, for what to do with this broth)
- Transfer the cooked and drained veggies into a wide bowl.
- Mash them well.
- Chop up finely some fresh coriander, green chillies and ginger.
- Add this to the mashed veggies.
- Now add all the spices to this, along with salt and some sugar (to balance out everything)
- Mix well with a spoon, or with clean hands until incorporated evenly.
- Take a lemon-sized ball of the mashed veggie mixture.
- Flatten it out into a patty using your palm.
- Now roll the edge of the patty on some surface (like how a wheel rolls), just so that it develops some thickness.
- This is how the finished patty will look. Notice it has some height due to the rolling.
- Repeat the same procedure to shape the rest of the mixture.
- Arrange these on a plate with some gap, so that they don’t stick to each other.
Get the breadcrumbs ready.
- Take the maida in a bowl.
- Dilute the all-purpose flour or maida with some water, until it forms a thick paste as below. It must be free flowing, but thick enough to coat the patties.
- Dip the patty in the maida batter.
- Quickly roll it in the breadcrumbs and press it down so that it is well-coated.
- Use a spoon or your hands to press down the breadcrumbs over the patty.
- Heat oil in a kadai.
- Fry the crumbed cutlets one at a time, on medium flame, allowing 60-90 seconds to brown on each side. Flip it halfway so that it cooks all round evenly.
- Drain in a colander, or paper towel. Serve hot.
TIPS & TWEAKS
- When you fry the cutlets, make sure the flame is on medium. If you fry on high heat, the outside will brown quickly, but the inside will remain uncooked.
- Every time after frying one or two cutlets, use a slotted spatula to remove the darkened bread crumbs from the hot oil. If you leave them in the oil, they turn black, and tend adhere to the cutlets you fry.
- The broth collected from the veggies is immensely flavourful and nutritious , and can be flavoured simply with some salt and pepper, and drunk as a hot soup. Alternatively, you could also use this broth instead of adding water, while kneading chapati dough.
- If you don’t have breadcrumbs at the ready, you just need to blitz 6-8 bread slices (roughly cut up) in the mixer grinder, to make your own breadcrumbs. Slightly older bread works well for this.
- Beetroot is optional, omit if you don’t enjoy eating this vegetable.