Potato Cutlet Recipe (Indian Snack)

Potato Cutlet Recipe (Indian Snack) Recipe

Aloo cutlets are pancake-shaped snacks made of potato (aloo means "potato" in Urdu). Indian cooking rarely uses eggs as a binder so to make sure the patties don't break, soaked bread is added to the potato mixture. It's an easy vegetarian snack that satisfies my family's cravings. To make the cutlets a more complete meal, I added protein-packed chana dal (garbanzo lentils). I flavored these appetizers with a little ginger, turmeric and amchur (mango powder) to balance the flavor of the cutlets.

We often make a huge batch of cutlets on Saturday mornings with the girls. They’ve gotten so good that they pretty much do it on their own. Once they’re done cooking, we usually just serve them with a bowl of sour cream. Yum!

Ingredients

Yields: 24 appetizers

3 Yukon Gold potatoes
1-½ cups 1-day-old stale bread, cut into 1-½" cubes
4 tablespoons milk
¼ cup chana dal
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
3 tablespoons green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoons caramelized onions
¼ teaspoon red chili pepper
½ teaspoon mango powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
¼ cup sour cream, as needed
6 tablespoons canola oil, as needed
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh dill


Directions

Making chana dal paste:

In a bowl wash the chana dal thoroughly. Pick out and discard any badly-shaped beans, then soak them for at least 30 minutes. Drain as much liquid as possible. Set aside.

In a saucepan, combine the soaked chana dal and1 tablespoon of oil. Add water; the water should cover the lentils entirely. Bring to a boil then lower to a gentle simmer and cook for about 35-40 minutes. Add salt half-way through the cooking process (it will bring out the natural flavor of the lentils and they'll be more tender) and keep stirring every now and then so the lentils don't stick to the bottom of the pot. The liquid should have evaporated. Remove any liquid (if necessary).

Check doneness: The chana dal should be soft when gently pressed between your thumb and index finger.

Using the back of a spoon or a mortar and pestle, mash the lentils into a thick paste.

Note: For faster cooking time, you could also cook the lentils in a pressure cooker. It would take only 15 minutes.

Soaking the bread: Place the diced bread in a mixing bowl and add the milk. The moisture from the dairy liquid will soften the bread. Soak for about 15-30 minutes.

Boiling the potatoes:

Cut the potatoes in half if they are too large.

Wash the potatoes and place them in a large pot (no need to peel them). Add cold water until the potatoes are barely covered. It's important to start with cold water so the potatoes cook evenly. Bring to a boil, add 1 teaspoon of salt and reduce the heat to medium-high (if you cook the potatoes at a roaring boil, they might fall apart). As soon as the water reaches a boil, cook for about 25-30 minutes. Test, using a fork; the potatoes should be tender. Remove from the pot. Drain the potatoes thoroughly and let them cool a little (do not rinse). Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle and have dried completely, gently remove the skin using a paring knife.

Coarsely grate the potatoes using a cheese grater. Using food service disposable gloves, mash the shredded potatoes. Add the chana dal paste, chili powder, caramelized onions, ginger, sugar, jalapeño pepper, green bell pepper, mango powder and turmeric powder. Mix well.

Making potato cutlets:

Add the soaked bread, sour cream, dill and cilantro to the potato mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

Grease the disposable gloves with oil, then form 24 ¼ to ½-inch thick patties.

Assembly time:

Heat the oil in a cast iron pan for about 2 minutes over high heat. Wait until the oil is slightly bubbly.

Arrange about 6 to 7 cutlets at a time (depending on how much space you have) in the pan. Lower the heat to medium-low. Leave them alone for about 1-2 minutes. When you see the edges start to dry and get firm, take a small flat spatula and lift around the edges: they should be golden. Flip them over and cook for another 2 minutes until golden. Transfer to a cooling rack.

Repeat the same procedure until all the cutlets are cooked.

Serve with sour cream and garnish with fresh dill. You could also serve tamarind chutney or mint chutney.

Bon appétit!


Tips

Don't add too much turmeric. We use it as a natural food coloring that makes the potatoes look more vibrant.

Chana Dal Picture

Chana dal (dried chickpeas) can be found in any Indian store. You could also use mung beans but chana dal have a denser texture and will hold the cutlet together.

For a tart, aciditic taste, dried mango powder (also known as amchur) is added to the potatoes. Amchur is made of the finely ground flesh of sun-dried green mangoes. You can find the beige-colored powder at any Indian store. If you don't have any, you could use lemon or lime juice.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on September 14, 2011.


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