Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Aloo Tikki Chaat (Stuffed Potato Shells)

Lunch time in school was special. Small recess and long recess. 2 lunch boxes/ dabbas to carry. One with a small snack and the other with lunch. These definitely added to the weight of the already heavy school bag, but was there any other option? I, for one, couldn't do without  the lunch box ( the big one) ! Besides, lunch time was the ideal time to gather round and share my lunch box with everyone and laugh over silly jokes or gasp at some bit of gossip or an 'inhuman punishment' by a teacher. 
 Those days were fun! I'd demand 'interesting' lunchbox options from my Mom. No 'poli-bhaji' (roti/ flat bread & vegetables) everyday for me please! and I always wanted extra so there'd be enough to share and for me as well. Did you all also have fun times like that? Did you share lunch boxes and have a really good time?
These days I hear of children complaining about what their Mom packs in lunch boxes and say things like, "don't give me any of that yucky green spinach thing" or " I don't want anything that looks different" and also that there is no sharing. 
So what is a 'good' lunch box ? Peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Not that I have anything against that, of course, I like PBJ just as much as anyone else, but I like variation and yes, I like to share.
I still remember the fun we used to have in school, small recess, we'd just share a few biscuits , wafers (cookies and chips) or some nuts and swap books or stamps, coins whatever one was interested in. Hastily check if we had done our homework or quickly scribble it with a bit of help from a friend's notebook. During the long recess we would all gather in a large group, a dozen or so girls, smiling , giggling and all with their dabba. Ready to share! There was a variety to share, someone had idlis or dosas, and then someone had theplas or rice or poli-bhaji. everything was yummy and everything was to be shared. We would eat with our hand. No one said,"eeww" to that, no one scorned the contents of a lunch box.Sometimes a girl did not bring lunch, maybe her Mom was unwell or maybe our friend forgot to pack it in her school bag, it did not matter, there was enough for her to eat with us. It was all so much fun. Back then, lunchtime was a time to bond over food. A thing that continued even when I went to college and then work.

I have for you today, cutlets, which make a good lunch box option for the fussy ones as well as the not so fussy ones and something that has a healthy filling too, moong/ mung bean sprouts.  It's been a while since I blogged from one of my favorite cookbooks, 660 Curries.  This particular recipe was bookmarked, dog eared, actually... and then I guess, in the routine, I quite forgot about it. I spied a small unopened packet of moong beans that needed to be used up. What better way to start the year!
Cutlets , specially stuffed ones are my favorite. I like to have them for lunch or dinner, preferably both!

M and I enjoyed these and little S also (to my satisfaction, after the surprise) ate half a cutlet, considering that it was after his dinner, he did it justice and warmed my heart! Squeeze my baby bunny!
I shared some with my friend in the apartment community I live in and she gave it her stamp of approval too!

These make good lunch box options if you have a microwave in the office to warm food and your colleagues will surely want some! So share the goodies aound, your friends will love you for these tasty treats!

You can make these on one day (if you have sprouts oh hand) or like me in stages, boil potatoes  and make the stuffing a day earlier, the chutneys/ sauces in the morning and then final assembly at tea or dinner time.



To begin with, do the prep. Sprout the moong beans.


For the Potato Shells:
1 pound Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
1 tsp. Salt
1 tbsp Oil
4-6 slices firm white bread


For the filling:
2 Tbsp Canola oil
1/2 cup Red onion , finely chopped
1 cup sprouted moong (or red cowpeas)
2 tbsp Finely chopped Cilantro
1/2 tsp Toasted Cumin-Coriander Blend
1/2 tsp Cayenne (  ground red pepper)
1/2 tsp salt


About 6 tbsp Oil for shallow frying 
Chaat masala for dusting

To make the shell, place the mashed potatoes in a bowl and add the salt.

Hold the bread slices under running water  to drench them and then squeeze out as much water as possible. You should end up with a rolled up wad of moist but firm bread.

Work the bread into the potatoes and knead to form a slightly sticky dough. Rub oil over the dough and allow it to rest for 15-20 mins

Make the filling. Heat oil in a medium  size pan, add onion and stir fry till light brown. add the sprouts, cilantro, spice blend, cayenne and salt. cook stirring  frequently to warm the sprouts and cook the spices. Set aside to cool.

To assemble: (the author has a different and systematic way of assembling the shells, I did mine the unsystematic way, but with the same results, here is my way)

Pinch off a bit of the potato dough (should make about 12 patties) and using your palms, flatten the dough into a dumpling like wrapper. Spoon about 2 tsps of the moong filling in the center. Gather the edges and bring them together to the center pinching the seam to seal tightly. Gently flatten the top making sure the filling stays completely covered. Shape into a patty, roughly 3 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick.

Repeat the process for the remaining dough.

Line a plate/ cookie sheet with paper towels.

Heat oil in a non-stick skillet or a well seasoned cast iron skillet over medium heat. Arrange the patties in a single layer without crowding the pan and cook them till they are golden brown and crisp on the underside.

Flip over and cook on the other side till golden brown and crisp. Transfer the patties to the paper towel lined cookie sheet/ plate. Repeat for all the remaining patties .


To serve: Place 2 patties on individual serving plate. atop each patty, soon 1 tsp each of the chutneys (recipe follows), dust with chaat masala and garnish with cilantro ( optional) and serve.



For the chutneys ( I made 2, Mint-yogurt chutney with chilies and Tamarind - Date chutney)

Mint-yogurt chutney
1 cup firmly packed Cilantro (leaves and tender stems)
1 cup firmly packed fresh Mint leaves
1 tbsp thick Yogurt 
1 lengthwise  slices of ginger (21/2inches l x 1 inch w x 1/8 inch t)
1/2 tsp Salt
6 Green chilies
Pour 1/4 cup water in the blender and then pile in all the ingredients. Puree  until it forms a smooth green sauce. Store in an airtight container or freeze. Use as required.

Tamarind - Date chutney
1 tsp Tamarind paste / concentrate
1/4 cup crumbled Jaggery / firmly packed dark brown sugar
10 pitted Dated, coarsely chopped


Pour 11/2 cup water  into a small saucepan add tamarind and whisk  to mix well.
Add jaggery and dates and bring to a boilover medium heat.

Boil uncovered, stirring occasionally until the liquid had evaporated to half
Remove from heat and cool. Transfer the contents from the saucepan to a blender jar and blend till smooth.
Transfer to a jar ( glass or plastic) and store in the fridge. Use as needed. 



I am linking this post to the Sweet Heat challenge#4 - Let's Rock Indian hosted by Michelle and originally started by Lyndsey.



A while ago, my dear friend Ash shared this wonderful award and MeMe with me. Thank you so much dear Ash!

1. What makes you laugh, smile or giggle?
My baby and his antics. Reading P.G.Wodehouse books. When my Dad relates an incident- he is a raconteur, not unlike PGW !


2. What are your dreams for your future?
The least is to live a happy and healthy life. And oh! I wouldn't really object to wealth......

3. If you are going to a cruise, where would it be and why?
Round the world!  I want to see everything that there is to see! ( now you see why I will not object to question 2 stated above)

4. How would you spend your vacation and with whom?
Vacay with my family... how? hahahahahah! anybody can guess, having fun mixed with the usual vexations only a wife and mother of a 31/2 year old can know!
 
5. If given a life, what life would you choose ? Your life now or your past?
I'm happy with what is... but childhood definitely has a strong attraction... carefree days ( of course there was the dread of homework and exams, but what of it? easier than problems of adulthood, don't you think?)

6. Is there something that you wished before when you were young but you didn't get it?
Of course! Like most kids my list of wants (which I mostly confused for needs) was long enough to add grey hair to my parents head!

7. Have you been in a situation where you might have given up but you still choose to move on?
Yes, I always tell myself, into each life, some rain must fall.... it is my choice, to sit and grumble or dance in that rain. And though  a pathetic dancer, I am a rain lover and cannot resist it ;)

8. Is there someone in your life who has been your source of strength and inspiration? 
Sure! But it would be unfair to name one person, in different circumstances, different people/ personalities have inspired me and I am thankful to each one of them.



I invite all my blogger friends who would like to participate to do this MeMe. Play along ! 

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19 comments:

  1. Yummylicious!! My favorite kind of chaat!

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  2. Omg, stuffed cutlets looks absolutely irresistible and inviting..congrats on ur award..

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  3. Good one and really enjoyed the MeMe...:) I have always made Aloo Tikki without the stuffing, so am going to try this..!!

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  4. awesome tikki's.. can these be shallow fried or deep fried? I am planning on making these when I achieve my first 5 lbs diet goal. I know I am a little weird, loose weight and then add on at the first achievement itself. Cannot stay away frm potatoes and starch for long, besides these have sprouts too..:)<3
    Love Ash.

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  5. YUMMO..Thanks for the recipe..This looks mouthwatering..I have bookmarked it..

    Aarthi
    http://yummytummy-aarthi.blogspot.com/

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  6. I remember a Marwari friend, Seema, who always had a really special lunchbox and she was the most generous soul-- she'd always share it with me and it usually was full of these fabulous pooris and some great subzi or another. She made me a forever fan of Marwari food. Sure, school recess times and all the food that accompanied them made for some great memories.
    P G Wodehouse makes me laugh too. :)

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  7. Its like 9 PM here and I've had dinner and now I am totally drooling over this absolutely yummy looking chaat. Chaat is my major weakness and I just can't resist it. I'll defnitely be trying out this recipe soon.

    Thank you so much for linking to Sweet Heat. Can't wait to see what else you come up with.

    Cheers!

    Michelle

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  8. I never took any lunch box :( The school give a 2 hours break- everyone must go home (as it was a small town not a huge deal for us) We had hot lunch everyday!
    But took snack - we use to share, laugh...
    The stuffed tikkis really look awesome.

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  9. Happy New Year Manasi, let the New Year bring more laughter and hapiness to your world.
    yes, school lunch was a big thing for me too, all that swapping lunches was so much fun. I think I loved noodles most those days.

    The cutlet looks really nice.

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  10. Thank You, all, for the lovely comments!

    ASH, Yes these are shallow fried over medium heat until well browned. U can try with an oil spray if u wish to reduce the oil very significantly.

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  11. What makes it super tasty is that green chutney- love it.

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  12. Those look amazing and ever so scrumptious! A wonderful dish.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  13. The array of colours make this so appetizing. Happy New Year to you and the family hon.

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  14. looks yum! first i thought it was stuffed with sweet corn, after going thru ur recipe i realized its probably sprouts.. nice idea :)

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  15. looks so yummy...
    http://ourlens360degrees.wordpress.com/category/foo-deli-cious/

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  16. perfect lunch box recipe.
    happy to follow you.. :)
    @ http://noelcollections.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete

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