When each of her daughters got married, my mother gave them a notebook in which she had neatly written, in Tamil of course, the recipes she had collected; I consider it a treasure. Nevertheless, there were quite a number she did not prepare at home. Those were the ones that had eggs in the ingredients (she was allergic). It was in my Aunt Cynthia’s house that I became aware of these preparations and potato-cup mince cutlet was one of these. This is a high protein-high energy dish and it is not prepared very often because a lot of labour is required though preparation is not very difficult.
I engaged my daughter to help me in paring the potatoes and also to make the cups. The original recipe does not use breadcrumbs but I have introduced it to give a variation in the texture of the casing and result is, if I do say so myself, brilliant. I make it very often after Christmas using the force meat leftover after stuffing the chicken instead of the mince.
For the mince
- ½ kg Mince (beef, mutton or chicken)
- 1 large Onion, diced
- 6 Green Chillies, de-seeded
- 1-inch piece Ginger
- 10 Garlic cloves
- ¼ tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tsp Aniseed powder
- 1 T Coriander powder
- 2 tsp Salt, or to taste
- 1 T Vegetable Oil
For the potato-cup
- 3 kg large Potatoes
- 1 ½ tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Pepper powder
- 1 L boiling water
For deep frying
- 2 C Vegetable Oil
- 1 C dry Bread Crumbs
- ½ C Maida (Plain Flour)
- 3 Eggs (Hen’s), beaten
- ½ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Pepper powder
To cook the Mince
- Grind together the green chillies, ginger and garlic in a mixie or blender.
- Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan.
- Add the onion and fry till it becomes translucent.
- Transfer the ground ingredients to the pan, adding 2 tablespoons of water, and fry on low heat.
- Add the turmeric, aniseed, and coriander powders and the salt. Mix well.
- Add the mince and blend well; close the vessel, and cook till the mince is dry. Add ¼ cup of water if it begins to stick.
- Remove from heat and cool.
To prepare the potato cup
- Pare and cut the potatoes into large chunks.
- Boil 1 litre of water, transfer the potatoes, and cook on low heat till soft.
- Remove the chunks, using a slotted spoon, draining the water. Transfer to a large bowl and mash the potatoes with a potato masher or a ladle while they are still steaming hot.
- Add salt and pepper and blend well.
- Divide the mix into medium-sized balls and flatten each one into a roughly 8-cm disc. Smear your palms with oil to prevent the mix from sticking to them.
- Place 2 tablespoons of mince on a disc and cover it with another one, pressing the sides together to make a rounded cutlet.
To deep fry the cutlets
- Heat the oil in a kadai or wok.
- Meanwhile beat the eggs with salt and pepper.
- Arrange on the kitchen counter in the following order: a plate of flour, the bowl of beaten egg, and a plate of bread crumbs.
- Roll each cutlet in the flour, dip in the egg and coat with bread crumbs.
- Drop the cutlets carefully into the oil. Fry on low heat, turning them over once.
- Remove and drain on kitchen towel.
- To mash the potatoes with smooth and velvety texture, do not allow them to cool.
- The cutlets are quite heavy; turn them over very gently in the hot oil to avoid them breaking.