This week, I find myself in a peculiar sort of predicament. Whenever I sit down to draft a post, I find that I am at a loss for words. If you know me personally, you will find it weird, impossible even. I am rarely at a loss for words. But right now, I am coming up with nothing…zilch. No funny story, no sweet memory, no food history, no new lessons learnt. Yawn!
I still cook and have pictures for 3-4 posts, all sorted, edited and finalized. But no story to accompany any of them. Whenever I sit down to write, I seem to be clutching at a sort of emptiness.
But my lack of stories will not do the following recipe any good. It is intricately linked to my childhood. Growing up, these fried croquettes or patties made of spiced vegetables or meat was a common snack, found in homes, at bakeries and restaurants. They are actually called cutlets in our neck of the woods.
Food is invariably linked to memories. But no particular one stands out. Mom makes killer vegetable and meat cutlets. And we had them often. I used to make them too, mostly with vegetables and even with canned tuna.
The following recipe is for minced meat (keema, kheema or qeema) cutlets. Minced or ground meat is cooked with spices, onions and potatoes to make a delicious filling.
Small disk-shaped patties are formed with this filling, which are then dipped in a beaten egg, rolled in breadcrumbs and fried till the coating is crisp and golden brown.
Enjoy them while still hot with a steaming cup of tea or coffee and curl up with a good book. Words will follow, I am sure.
KEEMA OR MINCED MEAT CUTLETS/CROQUETTES
You will need: (Makes 18 medium-sized cutlets)
For the filling,
- Minced or ground meat (mutton or beef) – 1/2 lb, around 250gm
- Potato – 2 medium-sized
- Oil – 2 tbsp
- Curry leaves – a few, chopped
- Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Onion – 1, finely chopped
- Ginger and garlic paste – 2 tsp
- Green chili – 1, finely chopped
- Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp, divided
- Red chili powder – 1 1/2 tsp, divided
- Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
- Garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp
- Black pepper powder – 1/4 tsp (or to taste)
- Salt – to taste
- Amchur powder – 1/2 tsp (or juice of half a lime)
- Cilantro leaves – 1 tbsp, finely chopped
For the cutlets,
- Meat and potato filling – above quantity
- Egg – 1, large
- Breadcrumbs – 1 cup
- Oil – for frying
- Meat-potato filling: Cook the meat and potatoes along with 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp red chili powder, 1/2 tsp salt and a little less than 1/4 cup water. I use a pressure cooker and cook for 2 whistles and then allow the pressure to be released naturally. You can use a regular pan and cook the meat by adding a little water. Peel the potatoes when slightly cool and keep aside.
- In a large pan or deep skillet, heat 2tbsp oil. Add chopped curry leaves and cumin seeds and allow them to crackle.
- Add onions and saute till lightly golden. Now add the ginger-garlic paste and chopped green chili and saute well till the raw smell is gone.
- Add the rest of the turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder and saute for a few seconds.
- To this, add the cooked meat and potatoes and mix well, breaking down the potatoes while doing so. Be careful to add only the meat and potatoes and not any of the cooking liquid. The filling must be fairly dry. (Use the meaty stock in another recipe.)
- Add salt, black pepper powder and amchur powder (or lime juice) and cook for a few minutes to combine everything together well, stirring frequently. Taste and adjust seasoning by adding more salt, black pepper or lime juice. Finish by sprinkling some chopped cilantro leaves. Remove from heat and cool well before forming the cutlets/croquettes.
- Forming and frying the cutlets/croquettes: Set up your dipping and dredging station. Take the lightly beaten egg in a shallow dish and breadcrumbs in another. Keep on hand a lightly greased large plate or tray to hold the formed patties.
- Form small balls of the filling with your hands and flatten it slightly to a smooth disk shape. Alternately, you can make oval or cylindrical shapes as well.
- Dip lightly into the beaten egg, shake off excess and roll in the breadcrumbs to cover the patty on all sides. Place on the plate/tray. Repeat till all the filling is used up. At this point, you can either freeze the patties for future use or fry them right away. Allow the coating to dry and firm up slightly before frying them. Some folks refrigerate them for a while to speed up things.
- Heat oil in a frying pan. When the oil is hot, drop in 2-3 patties, reduce heat to medium-high and fry till golden brown on all sides. Remove on to a paper towel lined plate to drain excess oil. Increase the heat again before frying the next batch. Repeat till all cutlets/croquettes are done.
- Serve them hot along with some ketchup and a hot cup of tea or coffee for a delicious snack. Cutlets can also be served along with a main meal. It goes well with almost all kinds of rice dishes and can also be eaten as a burger sandwiched between lightly toasted bread or burger buns.
- You can use chicken or fish for cutlets. Cook the chicken or fish, then shred them before adding to the spiced filling mixture.
- For a vegetarian version, use potatoes, green peas and finely chopped carrots and other vegetables. You can find a similar recipe here.
- You can use this meat filling to make samosas or baked samosa pies as well. Find mini baked samosa pies recipe here.
- If you find yourself without breadcrumbs, try coating them in semolina (sooji or rava), making sure to shake off excess or you will end up with smoky black bits when you fry them.
- You can shallow fry the cutlets or even bake them for a healthier version (at 400 deg.F for 10-15 minutes or till coating is browned).
- Formed patties can be frozen for a couple of weeks. Flash-freeze the patties on a tray or baking sheet. Then place them in ziplock bags or airtight freezer containers and store in the freezer till needed. To make cutlets, remove as many patties as required, thaw them slightly and fry/bake as usual.
Have you tried cutlets? What is your favorite kind? Do share.
I hope you try this recipe for delicious meat cutlets/croquettes and let me know how you like it.
I am linking this up at these awesome blogs.
- A Blossoming Life
- Skip To My Lou
- Between Naps on the Porch
- Home Stories A To Z
- A Stroll Thru Life
- Cedar Hill Ranch
- Coastal Charm
- Elizabeth & Co
- House On The Way
- Savvy Southern Style
- The NY Melrose Family
- The Turquoise Home
- Living Well Spending Less
- Design Dining and Diapers
- The Shabby Nest
- French Country Cottage
- My Romantic Home
- The Charm of Home
- Crafts a la Mode
- Love of Family and Home
- The Novice Gardener
- DIY Show Off
- Nifty Thrifty Things
- By Stephanie Lynn