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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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