Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Spicy Vegetarian Potato Croquettes (Cutlets)

Potatoes are the most universally accepted spuds in any style or type of cooking. Come to think of it, they pair so well with most other vegetables, herbs, meat and the spices, that they would be a great addition to a large number of meals, without forgetting how they can be an entire meal themselves, even when simply baked and drizzled with salt, pepper, sour cream and chives! Potatoes hold an even higher reverence in Indian cooking, especially vegetarian recipes, and most of the kids grow up eating nothing else but potato curry (including my husband!) So when I was asked to choose a single recipe which could serve to be "An Ode to Potato", I had to choose my all-time favorite, the Vegetarian Potato Cutlets. With potatoes as the base and the serrano chillies providing the kick, these spicy croquettes combine a variety of other vegetables and can be savored with chutneys or sauces, or be used for burgers and frankies!

The croquette is basically a serving of minced meat or vegetables, encased in breadcrumbs and potatoes, flattened into disks, and then deep-fried. The croquette was originally a French invention that gained a world-wide popularity as a fast-food with the advent of burgers. In India, it is known as "cutlets" or "aloo-tikkis"

Ingredients
3 large potatoes - boiled and mashed
1 carrot - boiled
1/2 cup peas - boiled
1/2 cup beetroot - boiled and diced
1/2 cup onions chopped
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves - chopped
2 serrano chillies - chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt to taste
1/2 cup breadcrumbs or all-purpose flour - for coating

Method
Boil the potatoes, peas and carrots; Then make sure you remove all the water and just take the vegetables and mash everything with a masher or with your hand. Boil the beet root separately otherwise it colors all the remaining vegetables and turns them pink! Chop into fine pieces and add to the mixture and try mashing everything well together.

Heat a wok, add 1 tbsp oil and saute the chopped onions till soft and lightly caramelized. Now add all the spices, green chillies and the chopped coriander to this and remove from heat. Transfer this to the potato mixture and add 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Mix everything together to form a firm mixture.

Take a chunk of the filling, grease your palms, and shape the vegetable mixture into discs or cylindrical cutlets. Do not make them too thick else it won't get cooked thoroughly while frying or baking.

Now roll each cutlet into the remaining bread crumbs or maida(all-purpose flour) so that it is evenly coated. This step is crucial so that the cutlet binds properly and does not break while frying.

Take a frying pan, add 2 cups cooking oil to it, then deep fry the croquettes 2 or 3 at a time. flip them over only when the bottom side is done; turning them around a lot increases the chances that they'll break! Fry well on both sides till dark golden brown in color. Remove and allow to drip excess oil on a tissue paper.

When they cool, serve with some ketchup or green chutney, or bundle them up inside a bun to form vegetable burgers! Anyay you eat it, the cutlets are delicious! These are on their way to Dhivya's Potato Feast and Sia's Ode to Potato events!

Similar Recipes:
Spinach and Paneer Cutlets
Ragda-Patties

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