Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sweet Potato Cutlet

Sweet Potatoes are in abundance this season and in keeping with the year's resolution to eat what is in season, I picked up radish leaves for sarson ka saag and sweet potatoes to make something sweet.The Sarson ka saag and the way we ate it for three days is another story I will reserve for later. The sweet potatoes however lay forgotten among the potatoes. I found them looking almost forlorn when I was skimming the vegetable basket to see what to make as a quick snack for the evening hunger pang. I decided to quickly boil them, season with some chat masala and make a snack. When I shut the cooker, I realized that I had another 10 minutes to kill until they were cooked. So that's when the boiled sweet potato idea turned into sweet potato cutlet idea.
sweet potato cutlet

If you have the ingredients at hand, it is super easy to make. I had a cabbage and I added about a quarter of it to increase the bulk and also since cabbages tend to get this really crunchy texture when roasted. Since all the ingredients are cooked, I did not shallow fry the cutlets but roasted them on a thick bottomed tava with very little oil. It takes some patience to fry it this way. If you want, you can add a little more oil and shallow fry it. While it was getting done, I snacked on a little bit of the cutlet dough topped with curd, bhujia and green chutney. Let me show you how I made the Sweet Potato Cutlet.

Preparation Time: 10 Minutes
Cooking Time: 10 Minutes (for sweet potatoes) + 15 Minutes
Makes 6 cutlets

Ingredients for the Sweet Potato Cutlet

Oil - 4 tbsp
1/2 tsp ajwain or carom seeds
A pinch of hing
2 medium sized sweet potatoes
1 small onion chopped
1/4 cabbage chopped
A few sprigs of coriander chopped
1 green chilli chopped
2 pods of garlic crushed
1 inch ginger crushed
salt to taste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp chilli, coriander, cumin powder each
1/2 tsp chat masala
1 tsp rava or semolina
1/2 tsp gram flour

Recipe for the Sweet Potato Cutlet

Peel and roughly chop the sweet potatoes and pressure cook them until soft. While it is getting done, chop up your cabbage, onion and coriander. In a mortar, crush the ginger, garlic and green chillis.
sweet potato cutler ingredients
In a pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil and add the carom seeds and hing to it. Then add the onions and fry. When it starts browning, add the crushed masala from the mortar. To this add the cabbage and fry nicely till all the aromas rise up. Now add the dry spice powders - turmeric, chilli, coriander and cumin.
sweet potato cutlet masala
Sprinkle some water and fry until the vegetables are done. While they are getting done, mash the boiled sweet potatoes. Add the onion-cabbage mixture to the sweet potatoes. Allow it to cool for a few minutes. Top with some chaat masala and coriander and mix well. The chat masala already has some black salt in it. Taste the mixture and adjust the salt.
sweet potato cutlet mix

Mix well so that all the spices get uniformly mixed and you have a dough like ball at the end.
sweet potato dough
Divide this into 6 small balls and flatten them. Place your griddle on the flame on medium heat. Grease it well with 1/2 tbsp of oil. Mix the semolina and the gram flour on a plate. They will be used to coat the cutlet. Normally, only rava or bread crumbs are used. Gram flour helps it bind and that is why I added a bit of it. Run the cutlet on both sides on the rava-gram flour mixture.
cutlet sweet potato coating

Dust off the excess coating. Now place them on the heated griddle and patiently let them roast.
sweet potato cutlet frying
Brush some oil on both sides and roast them on the tava. Let them brown on both sides. Once they are done, serve hot with some green chutney or tomato ketchup.
sweet potato cutlets

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Lemon Ginger Rasam

There are days when you  have a heavy evening snack and don't really feel like cooking or eating anything heavy for the night. On such days, we do not just settle for good old thayir sadam ( rice and curds), but also have this light and refreshing lemon ginger rasam alongside. The fresh flavors from both the lemon and ginger make it really appetizing even during times when you are feeling under the weather. Instead of garnishing the rasam with coriander leaves, I add the coriander stalks from the "hybrid dhania" that we get here.
hybrid coriander

The stalks are not tender enough to use in curries or gravies. But it can be used in this rasam since it will be crushed in the mortar. The lemon ginger rasam is really light on the stomach and the juices of lemon, coriander and ginger will help you digest your food much better. What's more, it is so easy to rustle up that it figures on my menu at least once in a week!
lemon ginger rasam

To make the rasam, I do not use too much of toor dal. Instead, I use more of the toor dal water. So what I do is that I pressure cook a cup of toor dal with a pinch of turmeric. Then pour 1 and half cups of water into the dal container and give it a swish. Then remove the water separately, along with two tsp of the cooked toor dal. I reserve the rest of the toor dal to make dal the same day. Or it keeps well in the fridge for a week, you can use it on any day you are making a dal or sambar. Once you have this dal water mixture, it takes just five minutes to put together this rasam. Lets see how. 

Preparation Time: 5 Minutes
Cooking Time: 15 Minutes

Ingredients of Lemon Ginger Rasam 

1 and 1/2 cups toor dal water 
2 tsp of cooked toor dal 
1 green chilli, slit lengthwise
1 inch ginger grated or chopped
juice from 1/2 lemon 
2 tsp of chopped coriander stalk
salt and sugar to taste
oil for tempering
4-5 curry leaves
1/2 tsp mustard 
1/2 tsp cumin seeds or jeera
a pinch of asafetida

Method to prepare Lemon Ginger Rasam

Cook about a cup of toor dal and add a cup and half of water to it. Now gently swish the water with a ladle and separate it out from the dal. Take two tsp of the cooked dal and mash it well. Add it to the dal water and set it aside.
toor dal water

In a mortar, crush the ginger and coriander stalk together coarsely.
ginger coriander lemon

Now bring one cup of water to a boil on medium flame. Slit a green chilli and add it to the water, along with the coriander-ginger paste.
boiling rasam

Once it comes to a rolling boil, add the toor dal and water mixture. Add to it salt and sugar to taste. This is a sweet-sour rasam, hence the need for the sugar. Also, sugar enhances the flavor of ginger.
rasam with lemon and ginger

Prepare the tempering by heating oil, add to it the asafetida and mustard. Once the mustard starts crackling, add the curry leaves and jeera. If you like your rasam spicy, you can add some coarsely powdered pepper to the tempering. 
Now pour the tempering on the rasam. Turn off the heat. Adjust the salt and squeeze in the juice of half a lemon into it. 
lemon ginger rasam

That is about it! Enjoy it with steaming hot rice or drink as is as a soup. It is refreshing and light on the stomach.