Keema Cutlets {Indian Minced Meat Croquettes}

Snack time is sacred in India. It is a time to replenish, regroup and catch up with loved ones over a cup of hot chai (tea) or kaapi (coffee). One of my favorite snacks is a plate of crunchy, spiced meat croquettes, which we call cutlets. Crisp on the outside, juicy and spicy inside, these are an explosion of flavors.

Ingredients:

Minced or ground meat (mutton or beef) – 1/2 lb, around 250gm
Potato – 2 medium-sized
Oil – 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Onion – 1 medium-sized, finely chopped
Ginger and garlic paste – 2 tsp
Green chili – 1, finely chopped
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp, divided
Red chili powder – 1 1/2 tsp, divided
Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp
Black pepper powder – 1/4 tsp (or to taste)
Salt – to taste
Amchur powder – 1/2 tsp (or juice of half a lime)
Cilantro leaves – 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Egg – 1, large
Breadcrumbs – 1 cup
Oil – for deep-frying (any neutral oil like vegetable or canola oil preferred)

Method:

1. Cook the meat along with 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp red chili powder, 1/2 tsp salt and a little less than 1/4 cup water. In another saucepan, boil potatoes in water till soft. Peel and set aside.
2. In a large pan or deep skillet, heat 2tbsp oil. Add cumin seeds and allow them to crackle.
3. Add onions and saute till lightly golden. Now add the ginger-garlic paste and chopped green chili and saute well till the raw smell is gone.
4. Add the rest of the turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder and saute for a few seconds.
5. To this, add the cooked meat and potatoes and mix well, breaking down the potatoes while doing so. Be careful to add only the meat and potatoes and not any of the cooking liquid. The filling must be fairly dry. (Use the meaty stock in another recipe.)
6. Add salt, black pepper powder and amchur powder (or lime juice) and cook for a few minutes to combine everything together well, stirring frequently. Taste and adjust seasoning by adding more salt, black pepper or lime juice. Finish by sprinkling in some chopped cilantro leaves. Remove from heat and cool well before forming the cutlets/croquettes.
7. Set up your dipping and dredging station. Take the lightly beaten egg in a shallow dish and breadcrumbs in another. Keep on hand a lightly greased large plate or tray to hold the formed patties.
8. Form small balls of the meat and potatoes filling with your hands and flatten slightly to a smooth disk shape. Alternately, you can make oval or cylindrical shapes as well.
9. Dip patty briefly in the beaten egg, shake off excess and roll in the breadcrumbs to cover well on all sides. Place on the plate/tray. Repeat till all the filling is used up. At this point, you can either freeze the patties for future use or fry them right away. Allow the coating to firm up slightly before frying them. You can refrigerate them for a while to speed things along.
10. Heat oil in a deep frying pan. When the oil is hot, drop in 2-3 patties, reduce heat to medium and fry till golden brown on all sides. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain excess oil. Increase the heat again before frying the next batch. Repeat till all cutlets/croquettes are done.
11. Serve them hot along with some ketchup and a hot cup of tea or coffee for a delicious snack. Cutlets can also be served along with a main meal. It goes well with almost all kinds of rice dishes and can also be eaten as a slider sandwiched between lightly toasted slices of bread or burger buns.
Notes:
1. Use a pressure cooker to cook meat and potatoes together. Cook for 2 whistles, turn off heat and then allow the pressure to be released naturally.

Full recipe: Keema Cutlets {Indian Minced Meat Croquettes}

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