Piping hot, freshly fried, spicy cutlets are a favorite tea time snack. They are not exceptionally hard to make but do require a little bit of free time to prep.The only downside to these is obviously the deep-frying part. But we must indulge once in a while, don’t you think so? I spent my childhood enjoying many different snacks after school. Either mom made them at home or we bought them from our neighborhood bakery, piping hot and fresh from their kitchen. Samosas, cutlets and puffs (a layered meat filled pastry) and vada were all gleefully washed down with milk and tea.
When I was little, I used to sneak sips of tea and coffee from mom and dad. Mom was quite strict about that and the only time I was allowed to have tea was maybe when we were traveling. When I turned about 12, I took matters into my own hands and decided to learn how to make tea. Since then, I need my regular cuppa each evening. I am happiest when there is something as delicious as these chicken cutlets to go with them.
Chicken cutlets (or chicken chops) are spiced Indian meat croquettes. You can make these with potatoes, a medley of mashed vegetables or any kind of minced meat. I have in fact blogged about keema or minced beef cutlets before. The filling is made with mashed potatoes and stir fried meat flavored with simple spices like turmeric, cumin and black pepper. You can add more red chili powder or black pepper if you need more spice.
Then it is time to set up the dip and dredge station. Dip the formed patties in egg and then roll in breadcrumbs. This time, I added a light dredging of cornstarch to see if they would fry up even more crisp. I didn’t find any major difference, so you can even omit the cornstarch. The patties can be frozen and stored for a couple of months in an airtight freezer bag or other container. You can take out as many patties as you need and fry them up for a quick snack. The cutlets can also be baked, but if you are taking the trouble of making these, you might as well do it the proper way.
The chicken cutlets are crisp on the outside, juicy and delicious inside. You simply cannot stop at one! My favorite way to eat them is dipped in ketchup. I also like to make a little chaat inspired plate with cutlets, sauce, sliced onions, lime and cilantro. Are you drooling yet?!
This recipe is great for entertaining. You can make patties well in advance, pull them out of the freezer when needed and fry them up for a delicious treat.
- Potato – 2, medium-sized
- Oil – 2 tbsp
- Minced or ground chicken – ½ lb, around 250gm
- Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
- Onion – 1, finely chopped
- Ginger and garlic paste – 2 tsp
- Green chili – 1, finely chopped (optional, omit if serving to kids)
- Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
- Red chili powder – ½ - 1 tsp (as per taste)
- Coriander powder – ½ tsp
- Garam masala powder – ½ tsp
- Black pepper powder – ¼ tsp (or to taste)
- Salt – to taste
- Amchur powder – ½ tsp (or juice of half a lime)
- Cilantro leaves – 1 tbsp, finely chopped
- Chicken and potato filling – above quantity, cooled slightly
- Cornstarch - 2-3 tbsp (optional)
- Egg – 1, large
- Breadcrumbs – 1 cup
- Oil – for frying
- Chicken-potato filling: Boil and peel the potatoes. Keep aside.
- In a large pan or deep skillet, heat 1 tbsp oil. Tip in the chicken, season with salt and some cracked black pepper. Cook till chicken is done, stirring frequently. Minced chicken has a tendency to clump together when cooked. If this happens, I simply put them in my food processor and pulse it a few times. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
- Heat the rest of the oil in the pan. Add 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 turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder and saute for a few seconds.
- To this, add the cooked chicken and potatoes and mix well, mashing the potatoes while doing so.
- 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 cornstarch, the lightly beaten egg and breadcrumbs in different shallow bowls. 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.
- Dust lightly with cornstarch, tapping off excess. Then 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 firm up slightly before frying them. You can 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 (or sriracha) 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 slider sandwiched between lightly toasted buns.
2. 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.
3. You can shallow fry the cutlets in a pan or even bake them for a healthier version (at 400 deg.F for 10-15 minutes or till coating is browned).
4. The oil must neither be too hot or too cold. If it is too hot, the cutlets will burn and if it is not hot enough, it has a tendency to absorb oil and turn soggy. Start with a hot pan of oil, then reduce the heat to medium and fry cutlets till evenly browned on both sides. Bring oil temperature up before dropping in the next batch of patties.
5.Formed patties can be frozen for a couple of weeks. Flash-freeze the patties on a tray or baking sheet. Then place them in Ziploc 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.
Do you like Indian snacks? Then do try this cutlet recipe.
What sort of snacks do you like to make at home? Is there any particular rainy day snack that you crave? My favorite are these delicious cutlets!
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