A Vegetable Cutlet is a spicy, crunchy, delicious and healthy Indian fritter made with a mish-mash of potatoes, carrots, peas, and green beans. It makes a perfect snack for kids and adults. A soy-free, nut-free and vegan recipe. Can be glutenfree.
The Vegetable Cutlet is a kitschy stalwart of India’s wonderful railway cafeterias. I remember these cutlets as flat patties, usually in the shape of a teardrop or a round, with specks of sooji or rava or farina. They were served up with ketchup and didn’t taste of any particular vegetable. Heck, they didn’t even taste particularly good. And they tasted the same no matter where you were in the country.
But they were usually available when you wanted something vegetarian and something hot, and sometimes that was good enough.
I have been on a mission to reduce the amount of sweets cooked in my kitchen and that means coming up with recipes to satisfy the snack-seeking Desi and Jay, of course. It’s either that or gobs of peanut butter and jelly on toast. Since that latter option doesn’t appeal to me as it does to them, I try when I can to come up with something different.
These vegetable cutlets are a great option because their lusciousness owes itself to the great spud and not fat. I’ve said this before and I’ll repeat it– potatoes are one of the best veggies around, and they appeal to almost anyone, child or adult. What usually gives potatoes a bad rep is the way they are prepared– deep-fried, or topped with tons of unhealthy cheese or sour cream. But find a healthy way to cook it, and you can have your potato and eat it too.
These are also great to sandwich in a burger bun, or add to a pita bread with a salad and some tahini, like you would falafel.
I’ll leave you with the recipe for these cutlets. They’re easy and they taste better than any vegetable cutlet I ever ate at a railway cafeteria. They’re also versatile– you could add to these squash, green peppers…use your imagination. The best part is that you’re eating veggies for a snack.
How great is that?
- 3 medium potatoes, boiled and mashed. If using organic potatoes, you can leave the skins on
- 1 cup green peas
- 1 cup green beans, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika or cayenne or Kashmiri chili powder
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- Juice of 1 lemon or lime
- 1/4 cup finely chopped coriander leaves
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- Oil to spray or coat the bottom of the skillet
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp chickpea flour mixed with 1/4 cup of water in a shallow dish
- Boil the green beans and carrots until tender but not mushy. I do this by putting them in a bowl, adding about 1/4 cup of water, and zapping them, covered, in a microwave, about five minutes on high. Drain all water.
- Heat oil in a skillet. Add the cumin seeds, and, once they sputter, add the onions and ginger.
- Stir-fry the onions for about a couple of minutes until they start to soften.
- Add the chilli and turmeric powders, stir into the oil, then add the peas, carrots, and green beans. Cook for another two or three minutes until they are quite tender. Stir in the coriander leaves. Place the cooked veggie mixture in a food processor and pulse three to four times for five seconds each. You don't want a paste. Some bits of the veggies should still be visible.
- Add the veggies to the mashed potatoes and stir well together. Add salt to taste, and lemon juice.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the flour.
- Heat a cast-iron or non-stick skillet.
- Spray or spread on a film of oil.
- Take a 1-inch ball of the potato-veggie mixture and flatten it into a disc.
- Dip the cutlets in the chickpea-water mixture to coat on both sides. Then dredge them in the bread crumbs crumbs so you have a fairly even coating on both sides.
- Place the cutlets one by one in the hot skillet, without overcrowding. Cook on each side until golden-brown.
- Serve hot with ketchup or chutney.