Saturday, March 3, 2012

Lent Recipe: Vegetable Cutlet.

To be brutally honest, I am a terrible cook. I am not a foodie either. I just eat to live unlike err… everyone I know. Each and every dish I ever prepared was just mediocre, nothing special and some of them I cooked soon after marriage were total flops. However by mistake a pepper chicken came out great when I was at Bangalore and ever since I don’t remember being praised or blamed for something I cooked. I received nods from my ‘victims’ which suggested ‘Yeah, it is edible’. However women are judged by their culinary skills and any other skill she has is usually overlooked. But I’ve never bothered or even strove to be a good cook, because I’ve never been interested in it. However this quality of mine is an insult of the highest degree to my Mom, grandmother and sister who have that magic in them that whatever they prepare even when half asleep turns out to be one of a kind. So I ended up being a man-woman and I am not proud of it either.

Recently I came across a few food blogs. The reason I was browsing through food blogs was that it is lent time for us Christians, and for the next fifty days until Easter I have voluntarily given up chicken and fish, which are the ones that I really love. I am allergic to red meat, and so I am living on leaves and herbs now. I have a new respect for vegetarians these days. And to stay the least, being vegetarian in the middle-east where chicken shewerma is a national food – that is the kind of temptation I have to overcome during this period. So I was checking to see any exciting vegetarian recipes which can be cooked by dummies like me. And I came across vegetable cutlet.

It was weekend, and I was all set and hell bent on making this cutlet. My husband had the double duty to take care of the baby (the other being watching TV), who’d crawled under the dining table as a sign of protest when I was making this cutlet. The little dude was not very impressed as I dint play with him all forenoon. For anyone who is going through this article right now, please note - this is not a recipe post. It is my experience of making a cutlet for the first time in my life. If you want, I guarantee that you may try this at home as it came out really well. If I can make it, then you definitely can, even if you are a robot and reading my blog.


Beetroot – 1 medium sized
Potatoes – 2 reasonably large
Beans – a handful
Carrot – 1 large
Onion – 1 large

Other Ingredients
Coconut oil
Bread Powder
Eggs – 2 (vegetarians can use maida and water instead)
Coriander leaves
Green Chillies - 3
Garam Masala
Pepper Powder
Ginger-Garlic Paste.

How I went about it

1.       Initially, I called my mother.
She said that instead of cooking potatoes separately, you can combine them with beetroots, if you don’t mind the potatoes getting that purple color. (I wanted the end result to taste and look like a cutlet – the color of potatoes was far from my concern at that time). This will save time and energy, she added. So I cut potatoes in squares, and beetroot the way I know it (it’s okay folks no one will dig out the shape of beetroots from the final result, so chill and cut whichever way you want), and cooked in a pressure cooker with very less water and some salt for 5 whistles. I drained it and let it cool.

2.      Then I peeled a medium sized piece of ginger, few garlic pods and green chillies and put them in the small jar of the mixer. I added garam masala, salt and pepper powder also to it, made a paste and kept it aside.

3.      Then I heated a pan, poured coconut oil (just little) and sautéed the onion. When it became light, I added the paste and closed the lid and kept on low flame for couple of minutes. Then the raw smell of the garam masala disappeared and the paste was blended with the onions.

4.      I added the cut beans and grated carrot into this and closed and cooked for five minutes or so. I then checked whether they were cooked and switched off the flame and let it cool.
5.      By that time the potato-beetroot was cool, so I mashed it and watched some TV.

6.      After some time, the cooked carrot and beans were also cool and I added them into this mixture and mixed it with my hands. Yes I washed them...I mean the hands. I checked for salt and gave a little to my maid for her opinion. She gave me a go-ahead. (Don’t go too far with the salt at this stage, let it remain subtle, because eventually you have to dip them in egg and if its subtle now, it will eventually round up to the nearest salt accuracy)

7.      I tried to make a ball of it with my right hand alone, then used both hands to mould it and pressed it manually to form a circle. It did not stick to my hands and rested on the plate in good shape.

8.      Likewise I did for the entire stuff and made 15 balls. Phew!

9.      I then dipped each of them in egg, and rolled them around in bread powder and kept in fridge for half an hour.

10.   I took them after that and shallow fried them until they got chocolate brown, but not burnt.  I used very little oil. In fact I took enough oil only to fill the tiny cap of the oil bottle twice. After frying I moved them to a container with absorbent paper and it absorbed rest of the oil.


1. I made the ginger garlic paste at home and did not use any ready mades. It makes a hell of a taste difference (lesson learnt from my previous catastrophic experience)

2. If you buy the rusk and powder it and store in air tight container at home, that is the best. I dint have time to do that so bought ready-made bread powder for this one. Its okay, but I was not so satisfied. The original bread powder smells good and is very much different from the canned one.

3. Do not add water while cooking the beans and carrot. Just close the lid and cook on low flame. The beans can be cut thinner than that shown in the picture. ( I don’t have a food processor…sob Lbecause buying me a food processor is like buying LED TV for a blind man.

4. The garam masala used was made at home by crushing the spices in the mixer. Pepper powder was also crushed and prepared at home.

5. You can add a combination of other vegetables of your choice and avoid beetroot. I used beetroot because it gives a dark color to the cutlet and has a good flavor too. You can use cheera(leafy vegetable) also to prepare this. Cheera is super healthy and rich in iron and hence I don’t like it much. But I’d like to try with cheera next time, and check whether they taste good when disguised as a cutlet.

6. For those who are wondering what is the role of eggs in a vegetable cutlet, chill. You can use maida or all purpose flour, made to a paste in water instead. 

And there is my healthy and tasty vegetable cutlet which has negligible oil content. It is undoubtedly a healthy snack for fussy toddlers (that is if the toddler lets you make it).

 Am I cool or what! (Already soaring high in self appreciation…you are welcome too : D)

Photo Courtesy: Hubby - Abu Sandeep.


  1. haha.....Loved the recipe. More than the recipe, I loved the post. Only you can post a recipe with a humor! I am new here but I am very well aware of your cooking skills, thanks to your previous posts. I have to HAVE TO try this. You know what, Its a blessing if you are not a good cook, atleast people expect you NOT to cook! Me, being an amazing cook (according to others) have to cook even when I don't feel like doing it!! I envy your cooking skills:(

    1. Just now I was wondering what you just said...not being a good cook is the best thing. Noone expects much from you, and if you make something and comes out good, it will be noted as well ! Thanks for enlightening me on that ! :D Pls dont envy my cooking skills. Your life will be ruined.
      Thanks for the comment..made me feel good !

  2. Step One is the perfect step : Call mom !! :)

    But ya, the beetroot colour will come on strongly that way and its actually quite natural, very accepted and damn tasty too.

    1. Yes...and peoples ...this comes from a doctor ! Beetroot is good ! Please note !

  3. I am so happy you pulled it off. Good job.
    Never heard of Beetroot before.

    1. Thanks, GQ. I'm sure you know beetroot. Must be called differently in your part of the world. See here...

  4. I will definitely show this post to my wife.. Lent season is on and am waiting for Easter :)

    1. Show it to her and she will laugh at you. She should have tried this at age 12 :(

  5. Phew Thanks !! The post made me better , but unlike you I am a foodie , loves to read about cookign all day long, loves to browse thru cooking books but then I cannot remmber having cooked anythign tasty since two years. I console myself saying that one cannot cook with focus and confidence with a toddler pulling his amma to play with him and the Dad watching Television all the time. And though it feels so good to hear that ur mom is a wonderful cook and that ur sis is a versatile lady who can still cook yummy food with a toddler in tow... it doesnt really help.. Waiting for the day when I can lay out the table and hear people praise at least on of those dishes.

    1. Yes cooking good food and surprising your loved ones is a separate joy in itself...! A type of joy I dint know even existed !

  6. Woh baby if veg food looks that yummy, i dont mind turning veg forevah!

    1. hahahha :D Hubby's friends who tasted this also said that its like non veg ! Its the magic of beetroot baby !

  7. Hear, hear I'm with u abt the live to eat;-D
    Till the age of 25 I never knew how to cook but now after a decade of marriage I sort of have got the hang of it & try some elaborate stuff without messing up.
    But ur veg cutlet is sooo complicated....too much work really;-o
    Maybe if u gave me some to taste and it tasted REALLY good, I'd be tempted to try otherwise I'll stick to my aloo tikkis;-D.
    Seriously try aloo easy to make and kids usually love it...yeah but its no advertisment for healthy eating;-D

    1. :D cool so can I expect an aloo tikki recipe on Reflections soon? ;-)

  8. I chickened[pun unintended;-D] out of doing full lent....going to start paadhi noyamb this week;-D

    1. I started lent...but had to stop in between due to low pressure, inadequate nutrition and associated problems !

  9. Hi,
    Very nice recipe..looks yummy!!

    Have you ever tried the cutlets of green peas?? For the recipe, see