Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Cutlace, Somehow Or The Other!

This is a post inspired by one of the comments from my previous post. I had discussed some of the twists and turns English takes in India on menus across the country, to which some added their inputs. One of them was cut-lace
(aka cutlet, cutless, cutlite – on the train stops at stations, I’ve almost always heard it morph into cutlai…sse, and buttermilk becomes butt-raa-meel…).

As soon as I saw that comment, I knew what the fate of the fenugreek leaves (methi/menthikoora) in my fridge and the potatoes in my storeroom would be. (Oh yes, my potato-methi cutlets had to be a first. At least a third or a fourth – well, I don’t remember seeing such a recipe and don’t correct me if I’m wrong.)

Only, I hadn’t factored in my microwave failing me this time so when I was rewarded with potatoes lumpy in parts that refused to mash, I whizzed them in the mixie. Heh heh, of course, this was a brainwave that wasn’t one, so I was rewarded with a starchy, green paste that refused to cooperate with me in any way.

It wouldn’t form patties, nor would the moisture dry enough on the tawa and form some sort of cutlet. Trying to be innovative, I diluted it with some water and tried making a potato-methi-coriander dosa. No dice. I pressure-cooked another three potatoes and mashed them into it. Didn’t improve.

I refrigerated it and spent the rest of the day wondering how to salvage it – they probably would have made good, freehand, deep-fried treats but I didn’t want those. A friend suggested mixing them up with maida to make chapathis/parathas but we rejected the idea because of the ‘white’ flour.

Then I went in for white bread.

In my defence: It’s easily available, I used only three slices, and the larger, nobler purpose was to not let the potato paste go to waste nor did I want it to hang on in the fridge till the time another brainwave for its judicious use hit me, so here’s how I went about the whole thing, errors and all. This made about 13-14 cutlets.

Big-leaf fenugreek – 200 gm bunch, use only the leaves and tender stalks (sprinkle water on it, microwave this for 2 minutes)

Potatoes: 8 (5 microwaved, 3 pressure-cooked – sorry, can’t tell you the weight as I didn’t check but they were not very big ones)

Onion – 1, chopped

Coriander/cilantro, chopped – 1-1.5 cups

Bread, white – 3 slices (you can use other varieties too, am sure)

Salt – to taste

Chilli powder – 1 tsp

Curry powder/garam masala – 1 tsp

Oil – 2 tbsp

Whiz all these on the highest speed in the blender/mixer for just five seconds and you’ll be rewarded with a thick paste that I haven’t yet discovered an independent use for.

Now, tear three slices of white bread carelessly into the mix and mash as well as you can.

Now you’ll be able to form patties that can hold their shape.

Heat a pan with the oil, place the patties in it.

On medium heat, brown on both sides. (Mine look well-roasted, I know, I know.)

Thank God you were able to save the whole enterprise, put them in a halfway decent dish, start shooting.

Then consume with sauce of choice.

I'm sending this off to Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging hosted this week by Haalo of Cook Almost Anything At Least Once.


  1. You have gone to the world's end to make this Sra. Breadcrumbs could have also worked.

  2. hey, loved the addition of the methi! I so enjoy cutlets, and yet I don't like frying them, and shallow fry or saute is so time consuming!! that's wh I rarely mae them at home:)

  3. ha ha u don't give up do u?? now..did u tell ur friend about the white bread ;)

  4. How could I have missed the earlier post? Hahahaha..... you are the best SRA :-D

  5. Cutlace, i want some :-D Whats wrong with white bread every once in a while :). Methi-aloo-bread is a great combo, bookmarked!

  6. yes...yes cutlace, or cutlites...thats how it's heard at railway stations and butt-raa-meel...oh my...that was awesome :)


  7. Thrilled, and honored to inspire your post! I remember the shock of coming to 'foreign-land' and finding that the beloved vegetable cutlet as we knew it is actually an anomaly.

  8. nice adaptation. roasted besan or cornstarch work too as a binder.

  9. Genious! looks perfect and delicious to me :)

  10. Sra, I am try to picture you like a scientist in the kitchen try to figure out the next big culinary invention, good recipe though aloo and methi cutlace ,will try it next time.

  11. Suganya, yes, it felt like that. Somehow, three slices of bread felt less evil than a cup or more of breadcrumbs.
    Mansi, welcome. These are comparatively quick to cook as the potatoes have been cooked beforehand. And oh, I cooked the methi in the microwave, I forgot to mention that, will update the post right away.
    Rajitha, no, didn't see her after that but I'm not trying to hide it from her :)
    Ashwini, thanks a lot!
    Musical, let me know how it worked.
    Mishmash, those rly stations sounds are nice as long as they don't disturb your sleep, aren't they?
    ET, you're welcome. Anomaly there, and we are still stuck with the heart shaped, tomato-sauce blobbed stuff we've been having since we were kids!
    Bee, I know, but I couldn't face cups of flour going into it, Bee. And I stock very little flour at home.
    Tee, thanks a bunch.
    Sreelu, the kitchen's probably the only place where I can be a scientist - I was bad at science in School, not in Bio, though!

  12. NEVER mash alus in a mixer! It leaves Gluten and becomes elastic.Jush some elbow grease next time!:)
    Aloo Methi combo sounds great in Cutlace but is Butt-a- meel necessary? Hahaha!!
    Don't give up on cooking soldier, march on!! Dun matter how it tastes or looks!!:))

  13. That is totally fine, nothing wrong, we often add bread to potatoes to make it tighter while making "chop". Even wheat bread wouldn't have harmed. And you could have added besan too right ?

    Looks fine by me.

  14. Love your Can-Do attitude, Sra. It's difficult to bind without egg. Filling oiled ramekins,baking and then unmolding might have worked, too, though not cutlets.

    In answer to your fig question, yes, the dried figs that are compressed and strung together would work. They will expand, plump and tenderize. Try boiling a few in some water to test. They are tasty that way, too.

  15. Haha.. I think I'll leave out the whizzing of potatoes in the mixer :) But otherwise these cutlaaisses seem yummy! It's also so very nice to know that I'm not the only goof (and goofer-upper) around! :D

  16. Cut lace sounds hilarious but looks mouthwatering

  17. :) A similar episode happened to me the last time I made falafel!! I too salvaged it by adding breadcrumbs :D Your cutlace look perfect.

  18. love the combination... does methi give it a slightly bitter taste?

  19. Asha, I know, as long as it's bloggable, right? LOL! And there's no buttermilk in the recipe, that was just a mention.
    Sandeepa, yeah, bread or flour, not both, was what I thought.
    Raks, welcome! Let me know if it works for you.
    Susan, I did think of baking it as it is, my can-do attitude deserted me at that moment, so I gave it a rest and came up with the bread idea.
    Shyam, I've goofed up so many times I can't tell you. I've even got burn scars to remind me of those, and I can date those scars too - like May 2002, Sept 2003, etc...
    Padma, cutlace sounds as if it should describe something nice, pretty and delicate, doesn't it? But what you all got to see were half burnt cutlets, LOL!
    Jyothsna, perfect? You're being kind, and I'm grateful.
    Mandira, no, it only smells bitter after the microwaving, but with so much potato and coriander, the methi taste is quite well masked - just the goodness without the bitterness (if the MW hasn't killed off the goodness).

  20. a very healthy looking, my kind of tikki! looks so nice. very new kind!

  21. great looking cutlaces sra!!!:-)

  22. Wow that is some cutlace adventure... :) This happens to me all the time, and I add a bunch of breadcrumbs to take the moisture out.... Potato methi cutlets are a first I think... an original sra creation, though the potato-methi dosa if worked would have been a true innovation :)

  23. Those must have been some tough potatoes ;)

  24. Sharmi, thanks. I wasn't too sure if it was new or not.
    Swapna, thank you.
    Pushpa, thanks.
    Sig, yes, didn't want to add any flour to the dosa, tho'.
    Cynthia, your comment had me thinking - what if the potatoes were at fault, not my microwave or me? ;)

  25. Sra...loved this post too dear :-)
    They look awesome buddy :-)

  26. Hi
    The patties look yumm. I actually thought they were some meat cutlets, the colour was so rich.

  27. I've seen a lot of bloggers writing about methi, but I still have not tasted it. I'm not sure if there is even a market that sells it here, but I do want to taste it so badly!

  28. Sirisha, thanks.
    Shella, they're just burnt ... well-done ;)
    Kalyn, no Indian store that sells it?

  29. Sra, they were wonderful! I prepared them on non-stick tava with just a drizzle of oil and they were still yummy!

  30. Musical, that's great. Since they are already cooked before they are fried, they won't need much oil, I think.


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