Posted by: gdevi | July 6, 2010

Fish cutlets

What we call cutlets in America refer to a certain thin cut of meat, but in India, cutlets are made of any kind of minced meat, fish (or mashed vegetables) sauteed with onion-ginger-garlic-green chillies and other spices, shaped into small patties and fried. Sort of like the American fish cake. Home made cutlets are deliciously great, but the best cutlets I have eaten in India are from the India Coffee House; ICH is a wonderful restaurant chain that you find in most big cities in India. Chain food does not necessarily mean mediocre food. We had one close to the University which we used to frequent just to drink their decoction coffee and eat their cutlets. (This is why I can never drink coffee in America; decoction coffee is addictive!) ICH serves two cutlets to a plate with a small garnish of onions and green chillies sprinkled with lemon juice and salt. Tasty!

Dayani and Krish both like this fish cutlet recipe; it is very easy to make.

4 clean fillets of any kind of white fish — tilapia, white fish, cod etc

1 onion, minced finely

2-3 medium potatoes, skinned, boiled and mashed

1 green chilli, finely minced

2 tsp garlic, finely minced

2 tsp ginger, finely minced

1 tsp red chilli powder

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp black pepper

1 egg

1/2 cup bread crumbs or as needed


In a flat bottomed saucepan, saute the onions until they are translucent. Add the ginger-garlic mixture, saute another couple of minutes, then add the green chillies, red chili powder, turmeric and cumin and mix everything well. Saute well on low heat taking care not to burn the mixture. Add the fish fillets, break and flake into the pan and coat with the onion mixture well. Cook the flaked fish well in the onion-spice mixture. Set aside to cool.

Boil, skin, and mash the potatoes well. Add the fish-spice mixture and mix well; in fact, grind to a fairly smooth paste with a heavy spoon.

Add the lemon juice and salt. Mix well.

Crack open the egg on a flat plate and beat the egg well to make an eggwash. Make small lime sized fish balls, shape into patties, dip the patties in the eggwash, and then in the bread crumbs. Pour some oil in the saucepan and fry the cutlets in batches of four-five each. Fry carefully in medium heat until they are browned on either side. Keep on paper towels to drain excess oil.

Serve hot with onion-green chili-lemon juice garnish. Very tasty! I made some today and Dayani and Krish ate all of them immediately! Our friends Linda and Neil’s son Mike is building our deck for us and I gave some to Mike and his friend as well; excellent carpenters and good kids and they loved it as well. Isn’t it amazing that all over the world people cook fish more or less the same away?

PS: The other great place in Trivandrum to eat fish cutlets is the SMC–or Sree Moolam Club. My father used to go there in the evenings to play cards and when he came back for dinner he would always bring these wonderful fish cutlets for us. There was this wonderful old gentleman who was a friend of my father’s — he passed away some time ago — Mani Uncle — and sometimes he would come home with my father — I think he thought of my father as a younger brother or even a son — just a wonderful man — and it would be rather late at night and Appu and I would be already asleep and Mani uncle would tell my mother, Sridevi, go wake up the kids! I have brought cutlets for them! Appu! Gayatri! Wake up! It was funny.  There we were, at eleven o’clock at night, eating cutlets whether we wanted to or not! Even now when we go to Trivandrum, Appu will get fish cutlets for all of us from SMC. The cutlets are made differently there and they are more expensive than at India Coffee House. The SMC cutlets are made with thick fillets of king fish breaded in some sort of special herb mixture. I have never eaten such delicious cutlets before or after!


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