I simply cannot keep away from Indian snacks.
I’ve been feeding my love of these snacks by slowly reading Rukmini Srinivas’ book Tiffin, and cooking my way through the recipes. Both activities, reading and cooking, are mouth-watering. The cutlets are packed with goodness (even though they are deep fried – ssshhhhhh). They are addictively crisp on the outside and soft and textured within.
Vegetable Cutlets are very popular snacks. They are often crumb-coated and always fried or deep fried for that great crisp texture. Cutlets are best served hot with chutney or sauce.
This recipe is the one that her Appa used to make, grinding the vegetables in an old meat grinder. When my father passed away, my brother inherited his old grinder – now I wish I had kept this ancient machine. The food processor does not quite match up to the quality produced by these (but I am nostalgic with memories. Of course the food processor will work, and does a surprisingly good job.)
You MUST have these with strong coffee and the Orange-Green Chilli Relish that I published a couple of days ago. It has a refreshing burst of citrus and is a sweet-spicy sauce. You could also serve the cutlets with a green chutney, hummus, any salsa, any tomato sauce, any yoghurt dip or sauce, or any of these other dips or sauces. Also this tart cumquat jam is particularly good with them as does this Green Tomato Fry Chutney.
It’s interesting how the Indian cuisine has adopted the words cutlet and chop for vegetable based dishes – not doubt (I assume), replicating the non-veg versions of their English invaders.
Use all or some of these vegetables in any combination that you prefer.
2 large potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 4cm x 2cm lengths
1 medium sweet potato, cut into 4cm x 2cm lengths
2 carrots, cut into 2 cm lengths
10 green beans, cut in half
0.25 cups shelled green peas
0.25 cup corn kernels
1 cup mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 cup spinach or cabbage, coarsely chopped and tightly packed
2 green chillies
2 cm piece ginger root
1 large onion, quartered
0.25 cup coriander leaves or mint leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 tspn garam masala (optional)
0.25 tspn Indian red chilli powder
2 – 3 Tblspn rice flour, chickpea flour, plain flour, quinoa flour or millet flour (Start with this amount – it is likely that you will need more, depending on how wet your ingredients are once chopped.)
1 tspn sugar
0.5 Tblspn lime juice
oil for deep frying
Orange-Green Chilli Relish, to serve
Set your meat grinder to the coarse position and grind the raw vegetables and herbs. Alternatively, use a food processor to grind the vegetables to a coarse paste. I do them in 3 batches in the food processor – the hard ingredients, the small ingredients, and the green ingredients. See how I have grouped them in the ingredient list.
Empty the ground mixture into a bowl, and mix well to distribute the different batches equally.
Add the garam masala, red chilli powder, rice or other flour, sea salt, sugar and lime juice. Mix well, taste, and adjust salt as necessary. If the mixture is too wet to form proper patties, add more flour gradually until it will hold together easily.
Wet your fingers in a bowl of water and divide the mixture into equal portions. It will make 30 – 40 depending on how large you make them. Roll each portion into a ball and gently flatten it to form a patty.
If the mixture does not hold, add a little more flour to the ball – just enough to make it hold. If it is too dry, sprinkle with a little water.
As you make the patties, store them on a large platter covered with a damp kitchen towel. Do not stack them on top of each other. If you must, place a layer of baking paper over the first layer before adding the next.
Place in the fridge for 30 mins.
Heat the oil in a large kadhai, wok or pan over medium heat. Gently slide in 4 – 6 patties and fry until they are golden brown, turning over on both sides.
Remove with tongs or a slotted spoon and place on kitchen paper towel.
Serve hot with Orange Rind Green Chilli Relish (below) or other chutney, dip or salsa.
recipe notes and alternatives
You can replace any of the “green” vegetable list with red or green capsicums, and/or beetroot. Or just add them to the mix.
You can make the cutlets thinner or thicker. Either way, they are delicious. Crispy on the outside and soft in the middle.
They can be crumbed if you desire.
You could also serve the cutlets with a green chutney, hummus, any salsa, any tomato sauce, any yoghurt dip or sauce, or any of these other dips or sauces. Also this tart cumquat jam is particularly good with them as does this Green Tomato Fry Chutney.