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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Veggie Sizzler

This is a fun way to serve the stir fried sizzling veggies and Paneer on bed of noodle or rice, surrounded by caramelized onions, french fries and veggie cutlets. You can get creative and vary the ingredients as desired. You can make it fruity by adding pineapple to it, you can make it nutty by adding cashews to it. You can make it decorative by adding stuffed green or red peppers or stuffed tomatoes. And all the meat lovers you can add grilled chicken strips or any desired variety of meat to it.

I made it for my family so I used a large sizzler dish, but if you have time you can make each individual servings for two in small sizzling dishes.

I will give you my basic recipe. I usually use bed of noodles instead of bed of rice, but you can serve this with side of white rice. I wouldn't put rice on the sizzling plate as rice will quickly become dry and chewy.

The very first time I tried the veggie sizzlers was at "Kobe" restaurant in Mumbai about 30 + years ago when I was just a child then, I fell in love with it. I was very much puzzled when the waiter brought out the sizzling plate to the table. Entire room was filled with aroma of sizzling onions and veggies in special sauce. To this day I have no idea, how they make theirs, but I tried to prepare this dish based on my memory of the taste.

I first tried making this about 10 years ago and now with all the ready made sauces available here, I have modified my own recipe over all these years to perfection :)

So, like I mentioned in my previous post, whenever I make cutlets, I always make veggie sizzler as my second meal and everyone loves it. This recipe take long time to make. Therefore I try to use ready made items as much as I can and prepare the things required ahead of time so that just before serving all I have to do it put it together.

This recipe yields about 8 servings. Takes about an hour to prepare. (not including the time to make cutlets)


* 12-15 veggie cutlets patties already fried (previous post)

* 1 (15 oz) pack of thick country style french fries (half baked) or you can make them from scratch (recipe on this blog: Crispy seasoned fries)

* 1/2 a pound of spaghetti noodles of your choice (I usually use Hakka noodle, but I did not have them so I used wheat spaghetti noodles)

* 1 (16 oz) pack of stir fry vegetable (from freezer section which consists of baby corn, sliced carrots, broccoli and cauliflower florets, sweet pea pods, crunchy green beans, mushrooms, water chestnuts and bamboo shoots) or you can use all of these fresh vegetable or from can separately. However I find this easy, this way you don't have to worry about buying them separately or opening a can and not be able to use the entire can.

* 1/2 cup of cashew halves

* 1 slab of Paneer (14 oz)

* 1 red onion sliced (chunky)

* 1 green / red or yellow pepper thick slices

* 2 tablespoon of chat masala

* 1/3 cup of fresh lime juice

* 6-8 garlic cloves thinly sliced

* 2" piece of ginger thinly sliced

* 1 large yellow onion sliced in to onion rings to place it on the sizzler

* Another onion sliced to stir fry with veggies

* 1 (8 oz) pack of sliced mushrooms or Portobello mushroom slices

* 1 bunch of green onions chopped with green part intact

Ingredients for Sauce:

* 1 cup of spicy chili garlic sauce (I use Sambal Oelek Brand available at most oriental stores)

* 1/2 cup of Chinese hot and sweet chili sauce

* 1/2 cup stir fry sauce

* 1/4 cup Teriyaki sauce

* 1 cup of Ketchup

* 1/3 cup of soy sauce

* 1/4 cup of black pepper sauce

* 1/4 cup of Chinese 5 spice sauce

* 1/4 cup of Louisiana hot sauce (paste style)

* 1 cup of peanut butter

* 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar

* 1/4 cup of corn starch

* 1 cup of water

* 1/4 cup of rice vinegar

* Olive oil to stir fry veggies, and to coat paneer and to coat the sizzler plate (all together ~ 1 cup)

Method to make sauce:

* Mix corn starch and water, set aside.

* Mix all the sauces, apple cider vinegar and peanut butter whisk everything together.

* Add corn starch mixed with water and heat until everything is well blended and bring to boil, stir constantly.

* Set aside.

Method to prepare all the ingredients:

* Cook noodle or spaghetti in boiling water until not too soft. (El Dente style)

* Drain water and run cold water on them so they stop cooking, toss them in 1/4 of the prepared sauce and set aside.

* Bake french fries per instruction on pack or if you have already made from scratch, set aside.

* Cut paneer in to small rectangular cubes.

* Brush some olive oil on the paneer pieces, add green peppers, and red onions slices, sprinkle chat masala and lime juice and broil in oven for 5 min, (do not over cook), set aside.

Method To prepare stir fry veggies:

* First heat one tbls spoon of oil in pan and add onion rings saute them for few seconds and take it out on a plate and set aside.

* Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in same stir fry pan.

* Add cashews, saute until brown, add garlic and ginger saute for few seconds and add 1/2 of green onions.

* Add sliced onions (not the rings) and saute for 30 sec then all all the vegetables, saute for few seconds and add 1/4 of the prepared sauce. Toss the veggies so t all the veggie are coated evenly with sauce and turn the heat off.

* Now in the heated broiler oven place the sizzler plate, heat evenly.

* Carefully take it out of oven and place it on hot plate.

* Place some oil or butter in center.

Now here you can be creative and arrange all the prepared items however you like. Here is how I do it.

* I arrange cutlets on the sizzler plate as an outer layer.

* In middle over oil or butter, I place the bed of noodles coated with sauce.

* Around the bed of noodles I arrange onion rings (these are sauteed separately) so they are in direct contact with greased pan.

* Top the noodles with veggies with sauce and top with paneer. Spread everything evenly so everything is visible and exposed to be cooked in broiler.

* Around the inner border just inside of cutlets and outside of onion rings I place the french fries.

* I sprinkle sauce and rice vinegar on the entire creation and broil it for few minutes until the vinegar sizzles, and onion rings are caramelized. Again do not cook it for too long. Since everything is already cooked, you just have to place the items in broiler for the sizzling effect and not for cooking purpose.

* Immediately take it out of oven and serve hot with side of remaining sauce, garnish each plate with remaining green onions.

You don't have to add any extra salt to this recipe as everything, all the sauces, and chat masala that you added here has plenty of salt and sodium in it.

This spicy saucy crunchy blend of veggies along with el dente noodles, textured paneer and cutlet with hint of lime and vinegar with all the spices is just out of this world and worth all the time it takes to prepare this dish.

And Yes !! I must say that this one, I make it better than the restaurant where I first tried it for the first time in Mumbai, but I do thank Kobe for inspiring me to learn to prepare this item.

Enjoy :)

Photographs and recipe by Surekha
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Monday, July 25, 2011

Vegetable Cutlets

In Indian cuisine, a cutlet specifically refers to cooked meat (mutton, beef, fish and chicken) stuffing that is fried with a batter/covering. The meat itself is cooked with spices - onion, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, coriander (cilantro), green chillies, lemon and salt. This is then dipped in an egg mix and then in breadcrumbs, and fried in ghee or vegetable oil.

The vegetarian version has no meat in it, instead the filling is a combination of mashed potatoes, onion, green chillies, spices and salt, cooked for a bit together. This version is more popular with the dominantly vegetarian Indian population.

This international Indian favorite appetizer is prepared by mixing mashed potatoes, chopped onions, finely diced green chilies, and coriander (cilantro) adding pepper and salt to taste. After the ingredients are combined, dip both sides of the cutlet in egg wash or flour paste and dunk in breadcrumbs, and then, lightly shallow fry the cutlet in hot oil.

Whenever I make cutlets, my second meal is usually Chinese Vegetarian Sizzlers because I use the cutlets in this dish. That recipe is next to follow on this blog. First I am going to give you my version of veggie cutlets that does not soak too much oil and stays crispy on outside and is soft and spicy on the inside.

You can go crazy and chop and cook all the vegetable from scratch, but whenever I have left over bread slices, cabbage sabji with peas, green or red pepper or any left over cooked spicy vegetable and cooked rice in my fridge, I always think of making cutlet.

This way my cutlets always taste a little different, depending on the vegetables I use, but the basic ingredients and spices are the same. If you want to cook all the vegetable from scratch sauteed in onions, spiced with turmeric, cayenne pepper, cumin and coriander powder and mango powder and you can cook some rice on the side.

Basically you can not go wrong with this recipe, but remember that the cooked vegetables that you use should be dry and not with too much moisture, otherwise you will have trouble keeping the cutlets bound together while frying.

So here are the ingredients I used this time for my veggie cutlets:

5 potatoes boiled

1 red or yellow onion chopped

4-5 chopped Jalapenos

1 rep pepper chopped (optional)

1/2 cup of chopped cilantro leaves

4-6 cloves of garlic finely chopped

2" piece of grated ginger

4 slices of sourdough bread (you can use any bread slices)

1/2 cup of boiled rice

2 cups of cooked cabbage or any vegetable sabji with sauteed onions, green pepper and peas (this vegetable was cooked with turmeric, cumin/coriander powder, cayenne pepper, mango powder and salt)

2 tablespoons of Chat masala

2 tablespoons of crushed red pepper

2 tables spoon of mango powder

1 table spoon of cumin powder

2 teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper

1 teaspoon of garam masala

Salt to taste (you don't need to use too much salt as the cooked veggies, rice and bread slices and bread crumb already have salt)

For coating the cutlet patties: (I do this in three steps)

2 cups of bread crumbs (first coating)

1/2 cup of AP flour + 1 cup of water (or enough to make egg wash like paste not too thick) for dunking the patties

1 cup of cream of wheat (for second coating)

Vegetable oil for frying


In a food processor crumble the bread slices coarse powder.

Dump this a large bowl.

In the food processor coarsely grind all the cooked vegetables (I used cabbage sabji with green pepper, onions and peas)

Dump this in the same bowl with bread.

Grind the rice in the same food processor and dump this same bowl, mix everything well.

Mash potatoes in the same bowl with all the vegetables.

Add chopped onions, Jalapeno peppers, chopped cilantro, chopped red peppers, garlic, ginger, salt and all the spices.

Mix everything well so all the ingredients are well incorporated. Make small patties and shape them oval or round, sometimes I use heart shaped molds.

This time I just made round patties.

Cover each patty in bread crumbs and press firmly on all slides.

If you want to be fancy you can place 1/2 cashew on center of both side of cutlet patty.

Mix water and AP flour to make watery paste, dunk each patty in this paste and then coat each patty with cream of wheat, press firmly again.

Deep fry in hot oil until both side are golden brown.

I found out that when I fry the patties that are just coated with bread crumbs, they come out nice brown color (you can see last two pics). However they soak too much oil while frying and they quickly become soft but when I cover them with cream of wheat they are not that oily and stay crispier on the outside and are softer inside, has little different appearance then your normal cutlets, but I like this variation, plus there is less chance of them falling apart in hot oil.

If you want you can omit the second coating and just coat them with bread crumbs only, again the last two pics are that of without the cream of wheat coating.

Serve hot with Ketch up or Mint Cilantro chutney (recipe on this blog)or any other desired sauce. (I particularly like them with hot cranberry sauce (recipe on this blog)

Enjoy :)

This recipe made about 20-25 pieces of cutlets. We enjoyed few hot cutlets for snack and I saved rest to make Chinese vegetable sizzler for dinner, which is going to be my next post on this blog.

Information on Cutlets source:

Recipe and Photographs by Surekha.
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