Vegetable Cutlets

Since last six months I have been looking at the lonely arbor in the backyard. It is surrounded by lovely vines and an inviting table with four comfortable chairs. Chilly weather keeps me away from it six months in a year. But now, summer is here! Finally! Vegetable cutlets and chai seemed like a perfect way to welcome something as important as this.

I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t like cutlets. Spicy vegetable filling surrounded by a super-crunchy crust makes it just irresistible. This time I also added shredded beetroot in the mix. In India I used to love cutlets with chikoo shake. No chikoos here in California, but Mango shake or plain lassi goes well too.

1/2 cup shredded cabbage
3 medium size potatoes, boiled and peeled and grated
1/2 cup green peas
1/4 cup each carrot and green beans, finely chopped
1/4 cup shredded beetroot (totally optional)
1 small bunch cilantro/hara dhaniya, chopped
2 slices white bread broken into small pieces
2 small green chilies, finely chopped
1/4 tea spoon grated ginger
1/4 tea spoon red chili powder
1/2 tea spoon coriander powder
1/4 tea spoon garam masala
1/4 tea spoon amchur
2 table spoon cashews chopped into small pieces
1/2 tea spoon cumin seeds
2 table spoon oil to fry cashews and cumin seeds
1 tea spoon salt
3 cups oil to fry

For coating:
2 table spoon maida/all purpose flour
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup bread crumbs

1. Cook/steam carrot, green beans, and cabbage with just about 1/4 cup of water or less.
2. Drain all the water out from vegetables and keep aside. This step is very important.
3. Heat 2 table spoon oil and fry green chilies, ginger and cashew pieces for 2-3 minutes. Add cooked vegetables.
4. In a big bowl, add mashed potatoes, cooked vegetables, chopped cilantro, shredded beetroot, bread pieces, and all the spices, including salt.
5. Mix everything well by hand. This is the cutlet mix.
6. In a separate bowl add maida/all purpose flour and mix it with 1/3 cup water. Mix well so there are no lumps.
7. Pour bread crumbs on to a plate.img_3943-customimg_3952-custom
8. Make 4×2 inch ovals from the cutlet mix (see picture)
9. Dip each cutlet in the flour batter. Shake off excess batter and roll the cutlet in bread crumbs so both sides are properly coated with the crumbs.
10. Repeat the above step for all cutlets and arrange them on a big plate.
11. Deep fry in hot oil for about 5 minutes in batches of 4 to 6 depending on the pan size. Make sure the oil is hot when you first put the cutlets, but then reduce the heat to medium. This will make the cutlets nice and crispy.


Happy Ugadi

ಯುಗ ಯುಗಾದಿ ಕಳೆದರೂ ಯುಗಾದಿ ಮರಳಿ ಬರುತಿದೆ

ಹೊಸ ವರುಷಕೆ ಹೊಸ ವರುಷವ ಹೊಸತು ಹೊಸತು ತರುತಿದೆ

-D.R. Bendre’s Song of Ugadi

A very Happy Ugadi to my dear blog visitors. Just had my share of bevu-bella (neem and jaggery), a Ugadi prasad summing up the quintessential message of Ugadi. Jaggery signifying the joys of life and neem signifying the lows of life.

In California, it seems the weather and Ugadi reach a perfect union. Spring is in the air, sun is nice and bright and beautiful flowers are dancing all over having just bid the cold weather a final good-bye.

Today’s special is Obbattu and Gojju Chitranna.


Red Chori Beans Dal

Once in a while I do crave the heavy, restaurant-style north indian dals but if it’s for a weekday meal, I prefer it to be simple, almost non-fat. This red chori dal without onions or tomatoes and with just a few spices is almost like the Gujarati Lachko Dal. It’s got a nice texture and flavor and is as nutritious as it is tasty. I soaked the beans in the morning and pressure cooked them in the evening. I decided to add some kidney beans too just for some fun and variety.

I love these chori beans. They are so cute and flavorful. Whole lentils, which until now enjoyed the pride of place in the kitchen pantry, are being pushed aside slowly by these red chori beans.


1 cup Red chori beans/Adzuki beans
1/4 cup kidney beans/rajma
1 table spoon ghee/butter/oil

1 tea spoon coriander powder
1/4 tea spoon red chili powder
1/4 tea spoon cumin seeds
1/4 tea spoon Turmeric
1/4 tea spoon sugar
1/2 tea spoon grated ginger
1-2 green chilies, chopped
1 tea spoon salt

Preparation: Soak the chori beans and kidney beans in 4-5 cups of water for about 6-8 hours.

1. Drain the water. Add 3 cups of water and cook the beans until quite soft but intact. If using pressure cooker, cook until 4 whistles.
2. Heat oil/ghee/butter in a pot. When the oil is hot, reduce the heat and add all the spices, including salt.
3. Shallow fry on low heat for about a minute.
4. Add the cooked beans along with the water in which they were cooked. Stir well.
5. Add 1/2 to 1 cup more water if you want the dal to be runny.
6. Cover the lid and cook for 10 more minutes on low heat.

For an extra smooth, high-cal experience, add 1/4 cup of cream to the dal in the end.

Menasina/Black pepper Kootu

Kootu is a lovely South Indian daal. Most of the south indian daals have tamarind and that distinct reddish brown color. This kootu offers a break from that with no tamarind and more emphasis on freshly ground spices, esp. black pepper. I developed a  liking for it  after I made it from this old kannada cookbook called “Kalpalatha” by Mrs. Vedamma. This book was given to me by my sister Sharada when I came to the U.S. It has pretty much all the  traditional karnataka food recipes under titles such as Vividha annagaLu, Vividha huLigaLu mattu kootugaLu, PudigaLu etc. Thanks to that summer in Gandhinagar when just out of a whimsical fancy I taught myself how to read kannada, I am able to read and understand this book quite well.

Usually I make kootu with heerekayi/chinese okra, but this time I decided to make it with lilva papdi/avarekaaLu, carrots and beans. It turned out to be a very good combination. I usually make some extra kootu paste and freeze it. This makes it very easy to make kootu next time.


1/2 cup toor dal/togari beLe/pigeon peas
2 cups chopped vegetables (You can use whichever you like but some popular ones are beans, carrots, ridge gourd. When using Turiya/ridge gourd, I don’t add any other vegetable. For this recipe, I used Lilva papdi, carrots and beans.)
A few curry leaves
1+1/4 tea spoon ghee

For the paste:
1/3 cup fresh grated coconut
1 table spoon chana dal
1 table spoon coriander seeds
1 tea spoon cumin seeds
1 tea spoon black pepper
8 dry red chilies

1. Cook toor dal in approx. 3 cups of water until soft.
2. Chop the vegetables and steam cook by adding 1 cup of water until done.
3. In a small fry pan, add 1/4 tea spoon ghee and fry chana dal, coriander seeds, cumins seeds, black pepper and red chilies. (about 3 minutes)
4. Grind coconut and fried spices into a smooth paste by gradually adding about 1/2 cup of water.
5. Add the paste and cooked toor dal to the vegetables and bring kootu to boil.
6. Heat 1 tea spoon of ghee and do a vaghar/tadka with mustard seeds and hiing/asafoetida.

Independence Day

Happy Independence Day India!

Happy Independence Day India!

Dear fellow Indians, Happy Independence Day. This beautiful representation of Indian flag is thanks to Flickr