Fig 1. Lobia/ Black eyed pea cutlets
Presently my criterion for "recipe to blog about" is really just "if I make it, I post it." So I am going to go with whatever I cook on a daily basis for now rather than wait around to cook fancy stuff. Daily food is of great value.. I mean, if I have to make it daily, it must be valuable! :)
I often don't have time to cook. But I am not very fond of eating out a lot. And I like to keep Maggie or take-out as reserve for really really hard days. So I often freeze and reserve some small quantities of home-made food for such moderately time-crunched-weeks. One of my plan-ahead foods is cutlets/burger patties.
Chawli/Lobia/ Black eyed pea cutlets:
I wanted to make cutlets that I can freeze. Non-vegetarian cutlets can be frozen quite easily. But vegetable cutlets often contain potatoes. Potatoes are good for binding the vegetables in the cutlet together. But I have not yet had a good experience with freezing cooked potatoes. After defrosting it, cooked potato feels crumbly/brittle/powdery as far as I have seen. :( So I have been wary of making potato based cutlets that are meant to be frozen.
However one binding thing that has worked well for me in frozen cutlets is bread crumbs. Bread crumbs absorb the moisture from veggies and become sort of pasty consistency that helps bind together the cutlet. So this recipe contains bread crumbs. No potatoes. I hear egg or corn flour paste work as well (for future reference, could try this recipe from Tasty Palettes/Mixed Sprouts Burger). For now there is no egg or corn flour paste in this recipe.
Here is some info about Lobia on wikipedia. Fairly healthy vegetarian way to get protein in our diet.
Oh, an addendum: I just read about the Mirch Masala: Announcement : My Legume Love Affair (MLLA) Edition 21 This appears to be the brainchild of The Well-Seasoned Cook. (Such nice names you all have!!) Since I just posted this recipe and looks like they are collecting legume based recipes I will send this post to their event!! How cool! My first event entry! :)
Ingredients: My quantities here are somewhat approximate. Please use your judgment while putting these together. Maybe I will update these in future if I find people actually using these measures!
Cooked, roughly mashed black eyed peas (lobia) ~ 1&1/2 cups after cooking
Cooked and roughly chopped spinach ~ 1/2 cup
Finely chopped cilantro ~ 4-5 stalks
Finely chopped green chillies ~ 1 or 2
Cumin seed (Jeera) powder ~ 1/2 teaspoon
Cilantro seed (dhania) powder ~ 1 teaspoon
Garam masala ~ 1/2 teaspoon for fragrance (optional).
Salt, pepper - to taste
Bread slices ~ 2-3 for bread crumbs (or can use store bought bread crumbs)
Semolina (Rava) ~ say about 1/4 cup to roll patty before frying.
1) Cook the black eyed peas (lobia) in a pressure cooker or in a vessel. I use pressure cooker when crunched for time. But avoid it if I have time. (Pain to wash large cooker!!) It will take time if you use an open pan. Can soak dry lobia in warm water for an hour or so and then cook on low.
2) Mash the cooked lobia roughly by hand (after it cools down) or with a potato masher.
3) Toast 2-3 slices of bread. Multigrain bread works good too. Run through a dry chopper to get bread crumbs. I hear untoasted bread works well for this too.
4) Meanwhile cook the spinach (say in a microwave for about 2-3 minutes) and then roughly chop the cooked spinach. Instead of spinach you can use whatever veggies are at hand. For firm, solid veggies like zucchini or carrots chop them somewhat finely after cooking.
5) Mix in a bowl - chopped cooked vegetables (spinach in this case), finely chopped cilantro and green chillies, mashed lobia, salt, pepper, garam masala, cumin seed (jeera) powder, cilantro seed (dhania) powder. Mix these well with your hand. Let the spices and salt get well homogenized with the lobia and veggies.
6) Then add bread crumbs and lightly kneed-in with hand. Add a little water to the mixture if you feel it is too dry. After bread crumbs have been added you should be able to press together and shape handfuls of the mixture into small patties. If the mixture is too dry and crumbly you may need to add more water. If that still doesn't help hold the mixture together maybe add more bread crumbs and water.
7) Shape into flat round patties. I got about 8 medium patties.
8) Now, you can shallow-fry the patties as they are. I like to dip them in some semolina (rava) to give the patty some crispness.
1) I shallow-fried about 4 of these cutlets immediately. I froze the remaining 4 patties (after rolling in rava, but still unfried) in a ziplock bag. Stayed just fine in the freezer. To defrost, I take say 2 cutlets out the previous night and keep them in the fridge section. In the morning they are defrosted enough to be shallow-fried.
2) I would not have believed it till I did it myself, but you don't need much oil if you use a good non-stick pan. I think mine is called "hard-anodized" and I love it. I used about 1-2 drops of oil per side for each cutlet. If I had that "brush thing" I think it would have been enough to lightly "brush" a bit of oil on each side of the cutlet.
I like to use these cutlets in a sandwich, say for lunch. Here is a simple sandwich lunch I made today.. bread, butter, green chutney, tomato slices, salt + red chilly flakes, 2 cutlets per sandwich. All packed in cling wrap. Do serve ketchup on the side - these cutlets are a bit on the dry side otherwise.
Fig. 2. Cutlet sandwich
I like to combine this with other accompaniments for a lunch-box. I usually go for yogurt and fruits. Here I have also added tomato ketchup in a make-shift foil "sachet". This way I feel there is enough to eat if you are really hungry. If not, you can just save yogurt or fruit for later.
Fig. 3. Today's lunch combo - (top, clockwise) Yogurt, fruit, cutlet sandwich and a sachet of ketchup
If you like them, orange juice/coke, crackers, chips, bottled cold-coffee, bottled flavored milk, etc. make decent add-ons too. Depends on how health conscious you feel that morning. ;) If you don't pack junk you can't eat junk? Doesn't always work that way.. the vending machine is thy enemy!
Ok, folks! Thanks for reading and please visit again! I hope to post every so often... once a week average is the goal. I know, my blog could do with a nicer name.. but imagination does not spark at the moment. Ok, I'll get going now. Happy cooking!