With temperatures hitting -20 here in Edmonton, I figure its absolutely fine if I gorge on comfort foods. After all I have to keep up my core body temperature... at least, that's my excuse :-)
Vegetable cutlets are another of my comfort foods. They are an ubiquitous snack in India, especially on trains. Having spent loads of time on trains travelling to and from home and university, I am especially nostalgic about train food. They are usually served simply with a bit of chutney and ketchup, and are filling, fairly nutritious and delicious, with their crisp fried outsides and yummy moist, spicy, vegetabley insides!
I made these cutlets to serve as a snack with afternoon tea, and they went down extremely well with the family. You can pretty much use any mashable vegetables in these cutlets along with the potatoes. I used carrots, peas, cooked chickpeas and sweet potatoes . Skip the green chillies for a less spicy version. They also work really well as an alternative to meat burgers.
The cutlets freeze very well, fried or not. If you want to freeze them uncooked, just layer them between squares of greaseproof paper, defrost thoroughly before frying. If you're freezing fried cutlets, defrost before using, and use a oven to reheat them to regain their crisp outside.
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 large or 2 small carrots, diced
1 large potato, diced
1 medium sweet potato, diced
1/2 cup fresh or frozen green peas
1/2 cup tinned, or cooked, chickpeas
2 flakes garlic, microplaned or grated into a paste
1 inch piece of ginger, microplaned or grated into a paste
1 or 2 green chillies, chopped fine
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp chilli powder (increase for added spiciness)
1/2 tsp amchur (dried mango powder) (optional)
2 - 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
A few tbsps besan or gramflour (or cornflour)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup dried breadcrumbs or a coarse semolina (sooji), for coating
Oil, enough for shallow frying
Boil the carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes and peas, until cooked and tender.
In a small frying pan, fry the onion for around 2 -3 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic, fry for a minute, then add the green chilly(ies). Fry for around 30 seconds, then add the ground coriander, cumin, chilli powder, amchur and garam masala. Fry together for another 2 or 3 minutes, adding a dash of water if the mixture is too dry.
In a large bowl, mash the boiled vegetables, along with the chickpeas. Tip in the fried onion/ spice mixture and mash again. Add the fresh coriander and mix in well. If this mixture is too wet, stir in a couple tbsps of besan or cornflour, until it binds together well. Season with the salt and pepper to your taste.
Shape the mixture into balls, then flatten until you have round cutlets. You can also shape them into other shapes like hearts, triangles, squares etc, according to your preference.
Gently dredge the shaped cutlets in the breadcrumbs or semolina, coating well. Put the prepared cutlets into the fridge for about 30 minutes or so. This will help them set, and not break up in the pan while cooking.
In a frying pan, add just enough oil for shallow frying. Fry the cutlets, two or three at a time, until both sides are golden brown.
Serve with coconut or mint chutney and ketchup and a hot cup of tea or coffee. Yummy!!