Mutton keema cutlet – the juicy succulent minced meat wrapped in lacy breaded crumbs, crunchy and crisp from outside, hot and spicy from inside and it taste better in cold rainy days.
Monsoon and deep fried foods has unique relationship, they tend to enhance each other’s character so well that one can not be enjoyed without the other. Dark gloomy clouds, misty rains, howling sound of winds, incessant pitter-patter of rain drops against the window panes, frenzied palm and coconut trees swaying at a distant and amidst this high voltage dramatic scene when waft of warm aromatic spices comes from the kitchen matching perfectly with sound of sizzling cutlets in hot oil, nothing brings more comfort to the heart and weary soul than this. Plus a cup of hot masala tea to complete the climax.
Like every Bengali household, chops and cutlets are our inhouse favourites and specialties too. My mom makes killer chops on almost every occasion, literally from anything, from mochar chop, aloor chop, enchorer / jackfruit chop, beet chops, chanar / paneer chop to chingri / shrimp chop, mutton, chicken anything. And every recipe is replica of one another, the same potato casing filled with the chop in question, dipped in egg, a second dip in flour batter, then rolled in breadcrumbs or marie biscuit crumb and then deep fried. Cutlets are however reserved for super precious occasion like for some esteemed guest, anniversary get together and likes. But her cutlet recipes also looks same like chop but that does not make it less delicious and tempting.
This recipe of mutton cutlet is little different from the true Kolkata style. It is much more like shammi kebab except meat mince is not grounded here. No potatoes are added, simply because I do not like them in my keema recipe. It is in fact one bowl method, much more simplified than the long assembly line of breadcrumbs, flour batter and beaten eggs. The minced meat or keema is first braised and cooked in aromatic spices. To this eggs, mustard powder (the British imprint), breadcrumbs, drained yogurt (hung curd) – this one is Turkish imprint, and more spices if you like it real hot are added. I prefer to prepare this with left over keema after devouring the damn good mughlai paratha, one of the signature dishes from Kolkata and my most favourite one to use the keema in the recipe or the leftover from keema matar.
Now the tricky part of binding the cutlets – potatoes are unanimously used in almost every recipe. I give it a skip here. Some recipes also uses bread slices (my mom’s favourite binder). I skip that also. So where is the binder in the recipe here ? The answer is eggs. I have used one whole egg per two cup of minced meat mixture. Eggs are good binder. And yogurt makes the cutlets real juicy and succulent. It helps to retain the moisture. Now, since potatoes are not used here, so these cutlets will be on softer side, so handle them with care. Not the hard stuffs with which you can hit the other person. In short, if you like soft, juicy succulent meat cutlets use this recipe. Another important note – drain the minced meat very well. The mixture should not be watery. Instead of breadcrumbs, you can opt for salty biscuit or marie biscuit or rusk crumbs. I always an out of my stock of breadcrumbs, so these biscuit crumbs comes very handy to me.
- Mutton minced / keema : 2 cups
- Onion (finely chopped) : 1 large
- Ginger-garlic paste : 1 tbsp
- Garlic minced : 1 tbsp
- Green chillies (minced) : 1-2 tbsp (depending upon your heat profile)
- Bengali garam masala : 1 tsp
- Cumin powder, roasted : 1 tsp
- Red chilli powder : 1 tsp
- Mustard powder : 2 tsp
- Salt to taste
- Cilantro (finely chopped) : 1 tbsp
- Yogurt (hung curd / drained curd) : 1-11/2 tbsp
- Breadcrumbs / rusk crumbs : 1 cup
- Egg whole, beaten : 1 large
- Oil for frying
- Drain the keema or mince meat very well.
- Heat a pan, add some oil and fry the onions till translucent.
- Add the minced garlic, fry them.
- Add mince meat or keema and fry till the rawness disappear. Add salt and turmeric and keep braising it on high heat. take caution not to burn it.
- Next add all the remaining spices, ginger-garlic paste and keep sautéing till everything incorporates well.
- Keep aside and let it cool down.
- To the cooked minced meat or keema, add green chillies, mustard powder, yogurt, cilantro, half of the breadcrumbs and mix well.
- Add more spices specially check the garam masala if needed more, add now.
- Beat the egg very well and add it to the mince mixture.
- Combine everything well till the mixture begins to form lumps.
- Now shape the cutlets into circular disc, do not make it too thin or make too big.
- Roll them lightly in breadcrumbs.
- Refrigerate them for half an hour to one hour.
- Heat enough oil to shallow fry the cutlets.
- Fry two to three cutlets at a time. Do not overcrowd the pan.
- Fry the cutlets on each side 4-5 minute till golden.
- Flip each side only once or twice but not more than that.
- Serve hot with mustard sauce or ketchup or cilantro-mint chutney.