I doubt there’d be any true Malayali whose eyes would not twinkle at the mention of the word “cutlet” and I am no exception. Cutlets crept into our staple diet long before we knew it. Especially on a cold, rainy day, there is indeed nothing more comforting that a couple of piping hot meat cutlets and maybe a pot of hot tea if you please.
Last night, I spent some time catching up with an old friend and a fair share of the conversation was about the amazing beef cutlets that were served in our school canteen. The St. Thomas school canteen is (with very good reason) known for the incredible food it serves. Be it the hot, spicy beef curry that would give any thattu kada (the local food shacks in Kerala) in the city a run for its money, or the warm beef cutlets the Santhomites gorged on, wrapped in parottas (a trend that is supposed to have originated and promptly stayed within our school campus boundaries), or even the regular oonu (the regular, fuss free meal served in Kerala) that was served ever so lovingly in our school canteen; food that we all took for granted for all the years we spent there and the food, the thoughts about which, brought serious pangs of nostalgia when we learnt what default hostel canteen food was supposed to taste like. Yikes!
Other memories I associate with the good old beef/chicken cutlet (veggie cutlets are sacrilegious just the way veg biryani is) is from the days I would stop by the neighbourhood bakery, right after school before heading to my math tuition. Amma would have given me about 20 bucks to spend on a snack, just so that I would fidget less while I tried to keep myself from banging my head against the wall, while the teacher went on relentlessly about the god forsaken differential equations or that integration. Let me not deviate. The sole motivation for my heading to that horrid math class was what the yummy beef cutlets in that tiny bakery lent.
Even to date, when I make a visit back home, Amma always makes it a point to either make a batch of yummy beef cutlets for me or at least take me for a visit to Supreme Bakers (arguably the best in Trivandrum) so that I can roam around like a wide eyed 5 year old who wants every single thing the shop has to sell. This should give you a decent idea about what cutlets mean to me. So I felt it was only justified if I had my own recipe for this wondrous creation. Well, this is my grandmum’s recipe which I have only as much as tweaked, a slight bit. So here goes.
Things you will need for about 20 medium sized cutlets:
- Beef- 700 gms
- Potato- 1 medium-large (boiled and mashed well)
- Onion- 1 large chopped finely
- Green chillies- 5-6 chopped finely
- Ginger- 2 inch stick chopped finely
- Crushed whole peppercorns
- Garam masala- 1 tsp
- Currly leaves
- Egg- 1 beaten
- Breadcrumbs- 1 cup
- Oil for deep frying
How to go about it:
- In a pressure cooker, cook the beef thoroughly with about 2 teaspoons of the crushed pepper, a little less than half a glass of water, salt to taste and half of the ginger. Once cooked well, allow it to cool for a bit and run the meat through a food processor to mince it well. A regular mixer grinder will also do. Keep that aside.
- Next, in a wok, heat some cooking oil, sauté the onions until they begin to turn brown. Add the garam masala, green chilies, the curry leaves and the remaining ginger and keep sautéing for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the cooked beef to the wok and mix well and sauté until all the water content is lost. Add more salt if required.
- Let the mixture cool. Then, add the mashed potatoes to the mixture and mix thoroughly with your hands.
- Make small balls of the mixture, depending on how large you want the cutlets to be. You can either let me remain as balls, or you can flatten the balls slightly with the palm of your hand the way I did it
- Dip each of them into an egg wash and then promptly put in a bowl of breadcrumbs to make a coating all over.
- Deep fry the cutlets in oil until both the sides are nice and brown and serve hot with ketchup.
Note: these cutlets after coated with the breadcrumbs stay well in the freezer for a month easily. You can make a big batch and leave them in the freezer, frying them as and when you need them.