As a kid, I used to look forward to the weekends cos that’s when my mum used to make cutlets — fish and mutton cutlets were my favourites. This was, of course, before I became a vegetarian. Cutlets are still one of my favourite things to eat and also to make.
Cutlets are real easy to make because there really isn’t one fixed recipe to follow. As long as you add some mashed potato to the main ingredient (chicken/meat/fish for non vegetarians; and beans or soy or a mix of vegetables for vegetarians) and you bread them before frying/baking, the rest (i.e the seasoning) is really up to you.
For Indian vegetable cutlets, seasoning is usually with chilli powder/cumin/coriander/fennel powders and salt and pepper. You can also use curry powder or masala powder. It’s really up to you. The seasoning for Western styled cutlets are naturally different and you can add cheese, herbs, lemon, paprika … these are some of what you may use for seasoning.
So versatile; just switching around the seasoning can alter the taste tremendously and you can have countless varieties of cutlets.
We used to eat our cutlets with rice but you can eat them with bread, salads, pasta or just as is. Nowadays, I eat them just as they are … the potatoes take care of the carbs I need for a day!
The two cutlets in the picture look identical but they’re actually very different. One is made of vegetarian chicken (soy chicken and gluten) and potato while the other just vegetables (mushrooms, carrots, zuchini), cheese and potato. The vegetarian chicken cutlet was seasoned with salt, pepper, chilli, tumeric, fennel, onion and garlic powders. The vege-cheese one was seasoned with dried italian herbs, onion and garlic powder and paprika.
For added flavour, I seasoned the breadcrumbs too. To make homemade breadcrumbs use stale but not mouldy bread. Toast them in the oven till brown but not burnt; let cook and then, crumble. To season, I added cracked black pepper and herbs. I sometimes add some crumbled parmesan cheese too.
Mince all ingredients and add them to the mashed potatoes. How many potatoes you use again depends on how you want your cutlets to taste. I used one small potato to make 6 cutlets as I didn’t want the potato to overpower the flavours of the other ingredients.
Once mixed, divide them into balls (bout the size of a golfball) and then flatten.
Beat an egg; spread the breadcrumbs into a bowl.
Dip the cutlets, one at a time, in the egg (coating both sides) and then cover them with the crumbs. Set aside for about 15 mins.
Pour oil into a skillet (oil should be 1 inch deep) and heat. Once hot, gently slide in cutlets and fry till both sides are golden brown.
Remove gently with slotted spoon and leave to cool.