Friday, 30 December 2011




     1)    Yam – 1500 gm.

Freshly dug organic violet yam
     2)    Onion – 200 gm.
     3)    Bread – 500 gm.
     4)    Fresh or frozen green peas – 200 gm.
     5)    Mild green chilies – 5 Nos.
     6)    Black pepper powder – 1½ teaspoons
     7)    Garam masala powder – 1 teaspoon
     8)    Ghee (clarified butter) – 1 tablespoon
     9)    Coconut oil or other cooking oil – 1 tablespoon
     10)     Salt – 2 teaspoons
     11)     Butter or ghee or cooking oil – to grease the pan

To Cook:

          Peel the yam and cut into large chunks. Soak the pieces in a solution of 2 litres of water with 30 ml. of vinegar. This will help to remove the slime and the grime which will sink to the bottom. Wash in 2 or 3 changes of clear water. Drain and transfer to a pressure cooker. Pour in a litre of water and tip in 1½ teaspoons of salt. Put on the lid and set on high heat.

          As soon as you hear the first whistle, turn down the heat and cook for 5 minutes. Switch off the heat and let cool naturally. Peel the onion and chop to superfine pieces. Pluck off the stems of the green chilies and chop to superfine pieces. Shred the bread finely with your fingers.

          Once the cooker is cool enough to open, take out the cooked yam and drain off the water (yam stock). Mash the yam nicely.

          Set a thick wok on high heat. Pour in the ghee and the coconut oil. Tip in the chopped onion and the chilies. Stir for 2 minutes and tip in the green peas. Turn down the heat to medium and stir. As soon as the green peas are cooked (they will change colour and will be partially fried), tip in the remaining salt (½ teaspoon) and stir.

          Now tip in the mashed yam and sprinkle the pepper powder and the garam masala powder. Use less pepper powder and garam masala powder if you like milder cutlets or if you are cooking for little kids. Stir quite well for the spices to mix fully with the yam.

          Tip in the shredded bread. Stir nicely and switch off the heat. As soon as the mixture is cool enough to touch, set a flat pan on medium heat. Grease it with butter or with ghee or with cooking oil. Cholesterol/cardiac patients can avoid the greasing by using a non-stick pan.

          Make lemon sized balls from the mixture. Flatten them into thick (1 cm.) patties and put them on the greased pan. Lower the heat, cover with a lid and roast the yam cutlets slowly (see note no. 3). As soon as the lower side is lightly caramelized, put a few drops of melted butter or ghee or oil on top of the cutlets and gently flip them over to roast the other side.
Serve hot with fresh tomato sauce (see my recipe). These cutlets are so tasty that kids queue up for the cutlets as they are getting roasted. So as soon as you spot a yam, go right ahead, cook and enjoy!

Yam cutlets with fresh tomato sauce
     1)    For the rustic styled cutlets in the picture, I have used violet yam. You can make beautiful cutlets of varying natural colours by using violet, pink, cream, rose or white yams.
     2)    For restaurant style shape and softer texture, you can use a cutlet/cookie cutter and also substitute the bread with 300 gm. (approx.) of bread crumbs.
     3)    Covering the cutlets with a lid or cloche while roasting makes them softer and the slow roast method gives them better texture and taste.

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