AMBER MASUD'S ALOO TIKKI (POTATO CUTLETS) WITH GREEN CHUTNEY
The Network of SouthAsian Professionals (NetSAP-DC) book club of Washington, D.C., reads SouthAsian literature exclusively. The group named The God of Small Things as a favorite selection. For their meetings, members often prepare a variety of South Asian dishes, always featuring a vegetable-based dish to accommodate their many vegetarian members. Member Amber Masud contributed a Pakistani recipe she prepares for the group, aloo tikki (potato cutlets). Masud's mother-in-law, Shafqat Masud, taught her to prepare this old family recipe. Masud has added a modern twist to the preparation to save time—she uses a food processor. "Everyone who eats the potato cutlets loves them. They are quite easy to make and come in very handy for parties or lunch."
The Book Club Cookbook - by Judy Gelman, Vicki Levy Krupp
Yield: 15 to 20 - 2 1/2 inch cutlets
• 4--5 medium red potatoes
• 1 teaspoon red chili powder (see note below)
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 small yellow onion
• 1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds or 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
• 4--5 scallions
• 2--3 serrano chiles, seeds and membranes removed
• 1/4 bunch cilantro, stems removed
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup vegetable oil for frying
NOTE: The potato cutlets may be made ahead. To store, place the cooked cutlets on a tray and freeze for 2 hours. Once frozen, stack the cutlets in freezer bags or wrap and keep frozen until ready to use. Remove from freezer and microwave for 2, minutes before serving. Red chili powder has a different flavor from chili powders commonly found in grocery stores. It can be found in most Indian groceries. Wear plastic or rubber gloves while handling the chiles to protect your skin from the oil in them. Avoid direct contact with your eyes, and wash your hands thoroughly after handling.
1) Wash the potatoes (leave skins on), and add to a large pot of boiling water. When the potatoes are tender, remove them from the water, slip the skins off, and place in a flat tray or baking dish. Mash with a potato masher or fork immediately, while hot. When cool enough to handle, add red chili powder and salt and, using your hands, mix in well.
2) In a food processor, finely chop the onion. Squeeze out and discard the juice, and add the onion to the potato mixture.
3) Add the coriander to the food processor along with the scallions, serranos, and cilantro. Process to a fine consistency and add to the potato mixture. Mix with your hands until all ingredients are well blended. Adjust salt and chili powder to taste. Let stand for 30 minutes.
4) Form potato mixture into round patties about 2 1/2 inches across and 1/2 inch thick. In a bowl, beat the eggs with a fork. Heat 1/2 cup of the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is very hot, dip a cutlet in egg to coat and place it in the frying pan. Repeat with more cutlets, frying about three at a time, not overcrowding the pan. When browned (about 1 minute), turn the cutlets over and brown the other side. Remove from the heat, place on brown paper or paper towels to drain, and keep warm. After half the cutlets are cooked, discard the used oil, wipe out the pan, and use the remaining 1/2 cup of oil.
Makes about 2 cups
1/4 hunch cilantro
A few sprigs of mint
1 - 2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 cups plain yogurt
To make the chutney:
Place the cilantro and mint in a blender or food processor with lemon juice.
Process to a fine paste.
Add to yogurt and stir well to blend.
Add salt to taste.
Serve at room temperature.