Vegetable Cutlets

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.

Similar recipes include Masala Vadai, Falafel, the Huge Vine Leaf Pakora, and Broad Bean Vada.

Browse all of our Indian Snacks, and our Patties. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Broad Bean Burgers/Patties

Chickpea flour is really easy to make at home, especially if you have a high speed blender. We toast the chickpeas until they are aromatic – either the small Indian chickpeas or the regular, larger ones – and allow them to cool. Then grind them to a fine powder in a high speed blender. We are fortunate enough to have a “dry” blender jug, designed for powdering dry ingredients, but I hear you can do this just as easily using the normal blender jugs.

We toasted our chickpeas early this morning, pre dawn, and the house smelled toasty and chickpea-y. They cooled while we had breakfast, and then made our flour – a couple of cups worth. The reason we are doing this today is that we were out of the flour and needed a little for today’s recipe. I love to make my own besan – you know what is in it when you grind it yourself.

The fritters come from an Ottolenghi recipe and I have made some adjustments to it. Firstly the egg is replaced with the chickpea flour as we do not cook with eggs. Secondly – we wondered why Ottolenghi was toasting spices and then adding black pepper separately. So we have used our South Indian tricks to toast and grind black peppercorns along with the other spices. We replaced fennel seeds with ajwain as we love ajwain and were out of fennel seeds.

We have also been used to making this recipe with a fabulous Indian tomato chutney to accompany it. Today we made it with a sour cream sauce but I do recommend it with the tomato chutney – I’ve included the recipe below.

And by the way – a little Indian sour and salty mango pickle sets these burgers off beautifully (we prefer to call them patties).

The broad beans were from our stash in the freezer.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – a day per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely (this recipe is from Plenty). Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Vegetable Cutlets, Broad Bean Dip with Wilted Greens, Broad Beans with Lemon and Coriander, Broad Bean and Cabbage Kofta, and Falafel.

Browse all of our Broad Bean recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Falafel | Ta’amia | Spicy Middle Eastern Chickpea Patties or Balls

Using cooked or tinned chickpeas, falafels are very easy to make.

Who can resist a good falafel? Wonderful for snacks, meals, in wraps or topping salads, they are wonderfully tasty, textural and healthy. Whip them up using chickpeas you have previously cooked and  frozen, for an easy supper. (I use partially cooked chickpeas in this recipe, but use soaked but uncooked if you prefer.)

Home made falafel are a huge cut above store-bought ones, or even those from some restaurants that must purchase them in bulk and keep them frozen for a long time. One has to wonder why, they are so easy to make, whereas many pre-prepared ones taste like cardboard. Who hasn’t had a wrap or roll stuffed with cardboard-tasting falafel as the “vegetarian option”?

Worry no more, we have your back. These are fantastic. Crispy crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. You can grind the chickpeas coarsely or more finely, which ever is your preference. But they must be ground enough to hold together as they fry.

Here is how to cook the softest chickpeas.

You might like to also try hummus, which goes well with falafel. Chickpeas make a whole range of dishes. Have a look at Turmeric Chickpeas. Try Chickpea Fingers, for example (it uses chickpea flour). Or Chickpea “Tabblouleh”Chickpeas can be baked, or made into a spread, or smashed and made into a salad.  They are really healthy – have a look at this article.

Similar recipes include Vegetable Cutlets, Broad Bean Burgers, Broad Bean, Bulgar and Cabbage Kofta, Pea Croquettes with Mint Sauce, Broad Bean and Mint Falafel and Fava Bean Falafel.

Browse all of our Middle Eastern recipes and our Chickpea recipes. Or explore our easy Mid Spring recipes.

This recipe  is one from our  first blog which ran from 1995 – 2005. Feel free to browse other recipes in our Retro Recipes series .

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