Thursday, 18 April 2013

Potato Cutlets


Potato cutlets were one of the first few things I learnt to prepare as a young teenager growing up in Pakistan. Of course it was ammi’s recipe which now has my input as well. These cutlets used to be part of my school lunchbox for the longest of time. It didn’t end there. While studying at a university in London, coming home late kind of became a norm. And these cutlets became a life saver for this hungry student. What more can a starving student ask for when the temperature outside is minus 4 degrees, the feet ache due to unending walk, the nose is red & runny due to the bitter cold. A warm potato cutlet sandwich with hot vegetable garden soup would save me too often. 

Believe it or not that even today, this particular item (potato cutlet sandwich) is part of my lunchbox at work almost daily. So you can imagine my unending love for these potato cutlets. This one is a treasured recipe.  I would also share another version of potato cutlets at some point in time which are filled with winter vegetables and a very special ingredient. The dried Fenugreek leaf/ Kasuri Methi is the magic ingredient here that transforms the boring potatoes in to a super star! My freezer is always well stocked with these cutlets and are regularly served with Pulao rice or curry. I enjoy eating them with a homemade chapatti - Flat bread and mint chutney.

Ingredients:
Potatoes – 1 ½ Kgs Boiled
Fresh Coriander – 1 ½ cup finely chopped
Fresh Mint – 1 cup finely chopped
Dried Fenugreek leaves /Kasuri Methi – 2 tsp heaped
Spring Onion – 1 Cup Finely Chopped 
Green Chilies – 3 medium sized (finally chopped)
Cumin seeds – 1 heaped tsp (partially crushed in Pestle & Mortar)
Whole Coriander seeds – 1heaped tsp (partially crushed in Pestle & Mortar)
Red Chilies – Crushed – 1 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp heaped (adjust after the first mixing)
Bread crumbs – I prefer Japanese Bread crumbs
Egg – 1 
Oil - 3-4 Tbsps for frying.


Method:
  1. Mash the warm potatoes either with hand or with a masher or in a stand mixer. I am using a stand mixer to mash the potatoes and to mix the ingredients. It saves time and dishes. Warm potatoes are mashed easily and well. Cold potatoes become jelly like hence hard to work with.
  2. Once the potatoes are mashed add all spices, Dried Fenugreek leaves (Kasuri Methi) and fresh ingredients one after another and mix thoroughly.
  3. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours before making the cutlets.
  4. After 4 hours, beat the egg lightly and spread the bread crumbs in a plate/bowl. Heat 4-5 tbsp of oil in a frying pan for shallow frying the cutlets.
  5. Once the mixture is chilled enough, make meatball sized balls and flatten it in to a cutlet. Make sure the edges are perfectly round like a burger Pattie.
  6. Dip it in egg first and then the bread crumbs. I love using panko breadcrumbs (Also called Japanese breadcrumbs) as they give the cutlets a crispy outside with the soft gooey potatoes inside. Shallow fry them in a medium hot frying pan on both sides till golden brown.
  7. Make one cutlet first and check for the salt and chili. If you are happy with it proceed further with more. Otherwise adjust the salt and spice according to your taste.

1 ½ kgs of potatoes will make around 30 cutlets. I make and freeze them in a covered box with layers of cling film in between. After 48 hours in the freezer, remove the cutlets from the box and seal them in a zip lock bag. Freeze again for future use.
The same potato mixture can be used to make allo walay parathay (Potato filled flat bread) or Potato filled Samosas.