Ah, I love the last few days of the year. This is the time when I touch the pinnacle of all bad habits that I possess hoping that I can discard them forever with the start of the new year. Maxing out my expenditures, loading my plate with as much fries as possible, replacing water with coke and neglecting the gym religiously top my priorities now because come 2013, I shall be turning over into a healthy and beautiful new leaf. I will be planning my finances, learning time management and implementing a few new diet and fitness regimes. Yes, yes, I make these resolutions every year, but this year is going to be different. I can simply feel it, can't you? So, if you spot me with as much as a crisp in hand (weekends excluded), I shall buy you a pizza (a large one with double the cheese and toppings). I am hoping my over indulgence today, the last day of the year will carry me through the new year. But if I do go back to my old habits, you will share that pizza with me, won't you?
Of all the things I ate recently, I loved the beef cutlets the best. As a Keralite, I have a soft corner for this breadcrumbed, fried goodness that has spiced meat and mashed potato as the main ingredients. Normally served with a highly acidic onion relish we lovingly call "challas", cutlets are extremely popular as a starter or snack.
There is some effort involved in making them, but since they can be frozen over long periods, this is one handy recipe for busy people. Just make a large batch, freeze them and fry and relish as required.
1/2 kg beef cubes
1 tablespoon vinegar
To taste, salt
2 tablespoons roughly chopped green chilies +1 tablespoon roughly chopped ginger , minced together
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
3 cloves + 1 tsp pepper corns + 1 cm piece cinnamon +1 tsp fennel seeds, powdered
1 sprig curry leaves, chopped
1/4 cup coriander leaves, chopped
1 cup mashed potato
1 cup bread crumbs (if making your own bread crumbs, use slightly stale or toasted bread. Two slices should do)
1 large egg white
Oil, to deep fry
Pressure cook beef along with vinegar and salt till you hear 3 whistles. There is no need to add water, since the meat will release its juices. Remove from heat and let pressure escape naturally. Remove the lid and boil off stock on high heat. Let meat cool and pulse in a food processor.
Add two tablespoons of oil to a pan, preferably a non stick frying pan. Fry ginger - chili paste over medium high heat for a couple of minutes. Toss in onion and curry leaves and fry till onion has softened. Add beef and continue frying for about 8 minutes, stirring continuously till beef mixture looks dry. Take off heat and add powdered spices and coriander leaves.
Combine mashed potato and beef together.Mix well till mixture holds together. This is important otherwise the cutlets may break open when you fry. Do a taste test and adjust seasoning if required. Divide into fourteen equal balls.Flatten the balls into patties or tear drop shape or cylinders of about 1 cm thickness.
Beat egg white lightly. Spread out bread crumbs on a flat plate or surface. One by one, dip the patties into the egg white and then cover with bread crumbs evenly. For a crunchier coating, you can again dip the patty into egg white and dredge in bread crumbs. Freeze for atleast half an hour to be sure the mixture holds while frying.
Heat oil in a frying pan over medium high heat to deep fry. Once the oil is hot, drop in cutlets carefully. Make sure you do not overcrowd the pan else the oil temperature will drop. When the surface of the cutlet looks browned, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent papers.
Serve hot with tomato sauce or "challas" which is simply thinly sliced onions, green chilies and vinegar combined together.
1) You can use herbs of your choice.
2) A couple of tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce may be added as you fry the beef for added flavour.
Wish you a happy 2013!