Ma's Vegetable Cutlets
This is what I had at home one evening. Made by my mom…and my dad (in a slightly less prominent role). Ma knows that I have not changed all these years – I am still wracked by hunger pangs in the evening as before and go crazy if I don’t get something to eat. Fast.
I remember these cutlets as being part of my birthday party menu, held for my friends in my childhood. There would be either egg chops or vegetable cutlets, along with lusi (puris), thick butor dail (chana dal) and chocolate cake, amongst others. There was a different menu for relatives who would drop in for dinner.
It was a beautiful trip down memory lane as I devoured one of my favourite snacks after so long. Ma also makes an amazingly flavorful fish cutlet, but that is for another post. Let me first share with you my mom’s recipe for the vegetable cutlets. Simple and delicious!
Ma’s Vegetable Cutlets
4 potatoes, boiled and peeled
2 bread slices, shredded to crumbs
1 cup vegetables (diced carrots, beans and peas), steamed/cooked
½ teaspoon cumin, roasted and ground to a powder
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg, whisked
Breadcrumbs to coat the cutlets (but Ma prefers to finely crush some Marie biscuits instead of the breadcrumbs, much more delicious that way)
Oil for frying the cutlets
Combine all the ingredients (except the oil and the breadcrumbs required for coating).
Pat them in to oval shapes. You can leave them in the fridge for around 10 minutes for the shape to set if you wish. I don’t think we ever gave Ma that much time.
Dip the cutlets one by one into the whisked egg and roll them in the bread/biscuit crumbs so that they are coated evenly.
Now, there is only one task left – to fry the cutlets gently till they become beautifully crisp. Remove from the frying pan, dab with paper towels and the cutlets are ready to be savored piping hot with a spoonful of mayonnaise/chutney/tomato ketchup on the side. Enjoy!
It suddenly strikes me that birthday party menus for children have not changed drastically since we ourselves were ones. (Or have they?) I still see pretty much the same things (okay, maybe only in Assamese households) except perhaps the addition of burgers and pastas. I think these cutlets will still fit in and I daresay, still enjoyed by children in a birthday party.
I must mention here Deta’s role. It can’t be ignored even though he played second fiddle to Ma. Well, he was the one who fried these lovelies to such a wonderful hue of crisp golden brown. They were just perfect.
I must also confess that despite this cutlet being such a favourite of mine, I have never tried replicating it till date. I have tried making many of Ma’s signature dishes, but not this one. I guess now that I have got her recipe, I should not procrastinate for too long. But then, would I able to recreate the same flavor and bring back my birthday memories? That remains to be seen… Till then, take care!