Friday, May 06, 2011

Freezer Cutlets, and Goodies from India

A few more weeks have slipped through my fingers- weeks filled with unwanted excitement like tornadoes roaring through our city and colds and coughs making their rounds. But here we are- my sister landed in St. Louis yesterday, I have the day off, the sun is shining and all is well with the world. I hope to capture many of her vacation moments on the blog so I hope you'll see frequent updates on One Hot Stove.

Earlier this year, you all shared so many terrific ideas for freezing Indian dishes. Several people mentioned freezing vegetable cutlets- little patties full of mashed vegetables. Boiled potatoes are a mainstay of these kinds of patties, and potatoes don't have a reputation for freezing well, so I was eager to try this for myself. If it worked, it would be a very good thing to have a freezer stash of patties, because everyone seems to love these little snacks.

I started with making cutlets this past Sunday.

  • Into a large bowl went 2 potatoes and 1 large sweet potato (all pressure cooked, peeled and mashed). 
  • In a skillet, I heated a little oil and sauteed 1 large onion, 1 large green bell pepper, a couple of small carrots (all cut in small dice) and a large handful of peas
  • These par-cooked vegetables went into the bowl along with seasoning- salt, turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander and cumin powder, ginger garlic paste. 
  • There was a handful of parmesan cheese that needed using up so in it went. 
  • I kneaded the mixture together, then formed small patties and rolled them in fine rava (sooji or semolina).

The sweet potatoes add wonderful sweetness and richness to the patties but they do have a very soft texture and make the patties more fragile. Once coated and fried, they held together just fine but you do need to handle them gently.

At this point, I pan-fried the patties until they were barely golden on each side, then transferred them to a baking sheet and stuck the baking sheet in the freezer to get the individual patties to freeze. A few hours later, I lifted the patties off the sheet and put them all in a sealed container (since they are frozen they don't stick to each other to form a giant mass of patties) and back into the freezer.

Cut to Thursday evening when I wanted a fresh hot snack ready for when sis got home from the airport. I pulled the freezer container into the fridge in the morning to start the thawing process. Then all it took was a round of shallow-frying, this time to get the patties really brown and crispy on each side. And they tasted as good as new!

So to conclude, freezing vegetable cutlets works very well indeed. They taste great at room temperature too, making them good candidates for lunch boxes and picnic hampers.

Vacation Moment #1: Squeals of Joy

I feel luckier than the winner of the mega millions- my sister looked at the wish list (thanks for the great ideas, everyone) and brought along all these gifts for my greedy food lovin' self. Here are some pictures for you, with the names of the goodies mostly in the native language (pardon the imperfect spellings).

Specialties from Bangalore: Subamma Stores

This food store is legendary, but my sister was shocked when she visited it. The way she tells it- it is a tiny congested place, their sign-board had fallen down and there was a throng of customers clamoring outside. The store keeper kept shouting, "Swalpa Control, Madam" as a barely effective method of crowd control. My sis bought a bunch of items; the store keeper was so busy that he asked her to add them up herself and give him the money.

These two goodies are to be deep-fried- the first is a crunchy accompaniment to meals and the second makes wonderful curd rice, just in time for summer.

Savory snacks:

Why are these called Congress peanuts? Does anyone know?

Sweets: coconut roti and flaky pastry puffs

With Love from Southern Maharashtra

My mother's often-requested batter fried peanuts:

The town of Sangli is known for its fiery hot bhadang (tempered puffed rice). This is a spice mix that makes it easy for me to replicate the taste in my own kitchen.

Metkoot, a spice, grain and lentil powder to be mixed with ghee rice or yogurt rice. This is comfort food.

Peanut chutney slick and sticky with oil from the peanuts. 

Karnataka Specialties: 
Made with love by my sister's ma-in-law 

I've never even met this lady- but think of how kind and generous she is, sending me her home made spice blends. And in large enough quantities to last me until 2025, what're more.

Chennai (Madras): Grand Sweets
They are not exaggerating even a little when they call this store "Grand Sweets". Everything I have ever tasted from there is as grand as it gets. Oily as these pickles are, they were perfectly packaged and not a drop of oil was visible once they were unpacked.

I've tasted the first and last jars before- the tomato pickle and the vathakozhambu thokku- both to be simply mixed with fresh rice for a divine meal. The middle two are new to me- gongura pickle and curry leaf pickle. I have a feeling I'm going to love them.

So that's a virtual feast for you. If you live in St. Louis, drop by to sample any of these- I am overwhelmed with this bounty and would love to share it with you.

In the next post, I'll tell you about my sister's new creative venture: she designs and sews the cutest bags. Today I am teaching her to knit. Meanwhile, here's to a wonderful weekend!


  1. You are making me so envy. Those are some goodies, I can kill for. Love them all (except for ones I am not familiar with). Kodbale (we call them chegodilu) are my absolute favorite of all things on this page. Enjoy them all !!!

    I love idea of freezing, somehow missed that whole freezing food thing. I am going to try it out soon as my kids love aloo tikki :)

  2. Oh my my.. how i miss indian snacks... kodbale and chiroti are my fav!!

  3. Ufff! Subbamma stores is literally in our backyard and one of my favorite stops while I am home. Kaayi obbattus are heaven, enjoy all the goodies and eat some on my behalf too.

  4. oooh- what fun Nupur!! The pics are making my mouth nipattu and the batter fried peanuts look yummy- is the recipe already on your blog? (will go search)..Is Metkoot like paruppu/kandhi podi? (with roasted and ground urad dal and cumin seeds etc?)
    I LOVE the stuff at Grand Sweets. My mom broguht me some of the vathakozhambu paste from Grand Sweets too but I haven't used it yet (their thattais and ladoos are to die for)

    I haven't tasted the grand sweets version- but gongura pickle is one of my faves- I think you'll love it..

    Can't wait to hear about the bags your sister designs!

    very excited for you-Have fun!!

    Oh and belated Happy Birthday!!- isn't your birthday sometime now? (fellow food loving Taurus..:P)

  5. Enjoy the goodies and your sister. I am looking forward to a post about your sister's bags. Your story about the spices from "your relative" you've never met is heartwarming.

  6. Wow, what a load of food! You must be set for a year :) Happy snacking and eating! I could relate to the experience narrated by your sister with regard to Subbamma stores. Everything I purchased there on my recent visit was unique and tasted good.
    Really looking forward to your post about your sister's sewing projects and also curious to hear your experiences with your sewing machine.

  7. Your post made my mouth water. Most of the Bangalore goodies are "must-brings" when my in-laws from bangalore visit us. Me, being from Kolhapur, I always crave for shengdana chutney, methkoot and most of all zhanzhanit kolhapuri masala! Enjoy the authentic delicacies and fun times with your sis.

  8. Wow..look at those goodies!! That's quite a spread.

    I used to make veggie patties and freeze them for emergency dinners during college years(i.e. when I was buried under books and had no time to make anything). I discovered that black eyed peas work really well in these patties. They are not too heavy like some other beans and are a great binding agent. You get your dose of protein too.

  9. Thanks for sharing with us that fantastic array of goodness. So many exotic things I have never seen or tasted, and all look so delicious I want to jump on a plane to India now.
    Thanks for the tip on the patties. I'm always looking for good ideas for lunch boxes I can make and store.

  10. Oh my! lookit those goodies! My mouth is watering, specially at the sight of the Metkut, tomato pickle, gongura and curry leaves pickle..ooooh! I tasted this brand of tomato pickle when i was newly married and loved it, but being married for 2 days makes u a bit careful when asking for it over and over again :((
    U lucky girl!!! Enjoy maadi !

  11. Hi Nupur! Enjoy all the pampering from your sister. Woof woof to you and Dale from Chimi. We are in MUM for a month.

  12. You and your sister have *totally* nailed the stuff you can't score in North America; love your stash! Those instant mixes from The Grand Sweets and Snacks (yep, thats the name) are life-savers. TGSS also does a fantastic onion pickle that has replaced the tomato as my fave.
    Intrigued by the "Congress" peanuts--is there a story behind the name?

  13. Everything looks awesome...enjoy the kodboles and vangi bhat mix...Next time, try the brinjal thokku from Grand sweets..I was in Chennai last week and bought it there...Its super, finished almost half the bottle already...

  14. Nupur that is quite the care package!!!! I cannot stop laughing at "swalpa control, madam!" - which is exactly what one will need when faced with all these goodies!

  15. Nupur,
    I don't live in St. Louis. But I am ready to drive down from Louisville to sample some of those goodies. Especially drooling over the chakali, metkoot, and bhadang masala. Eat on my behalf, dear!:) Enjoy your time with your sis.

  16. Your sis went to Subbamma!! :D

    And that Congress Kadalekai? Tell me if you can stop eating them. The sandge is not for crumbling - they work like Papad :)

    Have fun, Nupur. Grand Sweets too! This is the best gift ever.

  17. Lucky you, all those goodies making me we need recipe for mom's batter fried peanuts something tells me I would love them a lot and congress kadlekai funny name I say. Enjoy goodies and especially sisters company.

  18. Hi Nupur! That is the ultimate dream goody bag for a foodie like you! I would love to steal some of those from you, only I don't live in St. Louis.:(
    Enjoy the delicious foods and your sister's visit!

  19. Omg, wonderful goodies, cant take my eyes from those pickles..slurp..

    Freezer cutlets looks fabulous,love this brilliant idea..

  20. Wow - that is quite a lovely collection of goodies! Lucky you! I *always* used to bring back stuff from Grand Sweets (I LOVE their thattai and seedai, vathakuzhambu thokku is also to die for) when I was in the US. After moving back to India last year, we now live two streets away from the main Grand Sweets store :-D - it takes quite some will-power to not stock our snack box with their stuff every week!

  21. Love the photos, and the font you used to label the goodies - its so expressive, and appropriately conveys the child-like glee anyone would feel on receiving such a bounty :)
    Gojju and I haven't had that combination since my grandmother died...thats the kind of food she and my mum would cook up and relish together in a secret mother-in-law-daughter-in-law feast which the rest of us bland food lovers (dad and the kids) didn't get the point of. Wish you many delicious days ahead :)

  22. Hey Nupur,

    I am very glad to know that you are doing well. And it all the goodies look so delicious. I am so envious :)

  23. Lucky Nupur...
    Those first few pics almost got my eyes moist. We've moved from the city just last month and i've been missing it like crazy. Especially the masala dosas and the weather.
    That's some loot you've managed to get... :P
    Happy for you.. Enjoy yourself

  24. oh wow!!! But like Nandini said the sandige is not for sprinkling on rice, its like papad to be eaten with rice/sambar/rasam. And that one looks like Avlakki (poha) sandige they are very good!


  25. What lovely goodies Nupur. I bet your sister did not have any room to bring anything else. Just kidding. You are so generous but alas traveling to St. Louis is not in the cards. But enjoy and have a great time with sis.

    Frozen potatoes have given grief and bad taste but glad to know that they work fine in cutlets.

  26. Lucky you Nupur.. Awesome stuff from India.. Enjoy the goodies and have fun with your sister.

  27. Lucky you Nupur,
    I am drooling over the pics :-) Being a native of B'lore, have had snacks from Subbamma stores all my life.Now in US, I miss them so much.
    One tip, the holige (or coconut obbattu) needs to be kept airy. Normally, when I bring them, I spread them on a news paper and leave it out on the table. Otherwise, they get spoilt. Just wanted to share this tip with you, if in case you have plenty of these...

    Enjoy all the wont be hungry for a loooong time ..:-)


  28. Enjoy the goodies and have fun with your sister!

  29. those are quite a few goodies you have there, but since I have a sweet tooth, my eyes are only on the chirote!

    I freeze not cutlets but aloo tikkis once in a while - I add sweet potato to it as well and I've found that adding a little cornflour to them helps bind the tikkis. Think they should work for the cutlets too.

    BTW, I've linked your post on raosted peanuts to mine here(, trust that is OK.

  30. freezing cutlets is such a smart idea.... loved the foodie gifts... grand sweets vathakozhumbu thokku is always on the list for my friends coming from madras....i must visit this store the next time i am in blore...have fun with your sister

  31. Priya Y-M- Kodbale are one of my favorites too, and these are super spicy!

    Krithi's Kitchen- Yes, I always love all these Indian snacks too.

    Altoid- I have been eating lots on your behalf ;) and how fun that you grew up near this famous store!

    Lavanya- I made wimpy baked masala peanuts and posted them a long time ago I think. I'll have to get my mom's recipe though, these are addictive.
    Yes, metkoot is exactly like that, lots of dals and spices. In fact it is very nutritious with many different grains and lentils.
    Birthday was couple weeks ago and it was lovely :) Happy Birthday to you too!!!

    Anonymous- Thanks :) Food gifts made by hand are always very touching and I truly appreciate them.

    Inji- With the snacks I am set for two weeks tops ;) My sewing machine is being monopolized by sis- she's a genius on the machine.

    Rashmi B.- So it looks like we crave the very same things!

    snehal- Thanks for that tip, next time I'll definitely add some black eyed peas to the patties, I have lots of those on hand.

    lacaffettierarosa- I hope you get a chance to taste some of these goodies at some point- Indian snacks are so innovative and there are hundreds of variations.

    Manasi- Thanks :) I have been gorging on the tomato pickle (ignoring the heartburn that sometimes follows it).

  32. Anjali- Have fun in Mumbai, I am sure you are enjoying your fave foods there! So Chimi got to visit Mumbai too? How did you manage that?

    Niranjana- My sis looked for Bolst's brinjal pickle but could not find it. I can hardly complain because she got me so many other pickles ;) I too wonder how Congress peanuts got that intriguing name.

    Arch- I want to move into Grand sweets and taste everything there :D

    desiknitter- LOL how true, I'm afraid I have lost absolutely all willpower since those snacks arrived in my pantry.

    Swapna- Thanks :) I will try the bhadang masala once we get through these amazing snacks!

    Nandini- That's what I meant about the sandge, I use them like papad, crumbling them on dishes while eating. Should have phrased it better.

    Sreelu- I will definitely get my mother's recipe for masala peanuts, everyone who tries them gets instantly addicted which may or may not be a good thing :D

    Yogita- It really is a dream gift box, all my favorite things in one place :)

    Priya- Thanks!

    Archana- Well, now you have unlimited access to Grand Sweets, I know who to hit up for these delicacies next time ;)

    Sacredfig- I was jumping up and down exactly like a gleeful child, now how could you possibly guess that? We're planning to make pineapple gojju later this week and I can't wait.

    Shivani- Don't be envious- come join in the feast :)

    medha- Oh dear, I can imagine the homesickness. I hope you can recreate the Bangalore specialties in your own kitchen and satisfy that longing!

    Suma- Yup, that's what I meant with the sandge, I should change the wording to make it clearer.

    Indosungod- She truly got nothing else :) just a couple changes of clothes, no kidding! I was surprised that frozen cutlets worked so well, given that people have such problems with freezing potatoes. The other ingredients probably help in keeping them together post-thawing.

    Pavani- Thanks :)

    Mina- Thanks for the tip! And you are right, I am satisfied for a long time to come!

    Usha- Thank you!

    aqua- Thanks for the cornflour tip, I shall try that next time. And of course, thanks for the link too :) feel free to link to any post.

    arundati- Thanks :)

  33. Hi Nupur, You are one lucky girl. First of all your sis visiting and secondly she brought along sooo many goodies. You have fun girl, you so deserve it. I am from Madras and to look at all those goodies from 'Grand Sweets' just got me homesick. Let me give you a small tip to savor those mixes ( vathhakozhambu and tomato and other delectable mixes to it's max - Scoop out a tbsp full of the mix and add it to 2 cups water and bring it to a simmering boil. This will give you the actual thick 'kozhambu' and the gravy that is eaten with rice. This also ensures your mix is not used fast ;) Now pour this over hot steaming white rice, add a small dollop of ghee ( yes throw caution to wind just this one time, when you eat something so special, savor it like a king ;)). On the side it is best had with sandige ( we make the plain white that is made with sabudana or the flavored sandige your sis got) and pachadi. Typical pachadi is a mixture of grated carrot, cucumber , green chillies, tiny tomatoe pices and chopped corriander in thick yogurt. try having this combo I told you and you will taste a small piece of heaven ;)

    As far as the 'Karuvepillai' chutney goes, it does not taste great with rice. So what i do it add some water ( half glass or so to 1 tbsp and microwave it for 30 secs and eat it with dosas and idlis in the morning. ah, that is so tasty.

    Say hi to your sis and can't wait to see her hand-made creations.


  34. Nupur! how nice of your sister to pamper you with foodie goodies! I am very happy that now you have a skill swap session, eager to see what yon create next; I love the Nipattu and Kodbale ANC not to forget the sun dried Chillies so aot for summer.....:)
    I did not know you get bhadanga masale, will get my stash next time from Pune or Mumbai. Let me know where you got the Bhadanga masala from.....

    Have a fun time with Dale and your sis!

  35. So delighted to see sun dried chillies, kodbale, nipattu and bhang masala! Let me know which store you got Bhadang masala from, looks like Subamma store will be my favorite haunt next time around....

    Have a fab holiday with your sis! Eager to see the bags and the knits....:)

  36. Quality time with a loving sister ! One of the most precious and heart warming gifts of life !
    Enjoy your time together !

  37. Lovely Nupur...Your post inspired me to request some of these goodies from my BIL who will be visiting us soon from Blore:)

  38. OMG! I dont live that far away from bangalore, but distance is irrespective when youre AWAY from home, and the slightest glimmer of a memory or a hint of some homely association is enough to bring on the pangs of nostalgia and of wanting to taste and savour every bit of that homeliness. So much of that is an association of the things I could eat so easily back home. Things I often took for granted, until I moved to goa (just an overnight bus ride away) from bangalore. And this post just took me right back home :)

  39. What a bountiful haul! Especially those Mixes and spice powders. All the stuff from grand sweets is what I have on my wishlist for anyone coming from chennai to Delhi and I can guarantee they are all awesome - enjoy your time with your sister.

  40. Nupur, you are one lucky girl!!! Thanks for sharing pics of all your goodies, that was so nice of your sister. Enjoy the delicacies and savor this wonderful time with your sister!

  41. Nupur, I love Subbamma stores. It's heaven. Congress kadalekai is thus named because it was invented in the year that the Congress party split. And since this has split, not whole, peanuts, a clever person christened it Congress kadalekai. My trick is to eat a bowl of this spicy goodness tossed with chopped onion, a chilli or two, generous amounts of fresh coriander and lime juice. My father made that his signature nibbles at parties and we're always asked to rustle up a bowl. :)

  42. Hello Nupur. I am a St. Louisan and have no idea how I ever found your blog, but it's incredible! Seeing all of these interesting foods from India makes me realize how little I know about your food, but I'm glad I'm trying to learn.

  43. this all looks so exotic to me but I hope it brings you lots of comfort - all except the patties which are my comfort food - I often put some in the freezer if I have too many - great standby for dinner

  44. Amazing goodies Nupur. I always take pics of the stuff I get back from our India trip too :)

  45. Manu- Yes, I totally realize how lucky I am :) Thank you for your great tips on using the mixes!

    Ashwini- I forgot to ask my mother where to get bhadang masala, I'll ask her this week and let you know!

    Smita- I hope you get to enjoy lots of goodies too!

    haathi- Aww- I understand missing the taste of home! But living in Goa must be wonderful :)

    Miri- I know- I've been enjoying every single one of those mixes!

    Johanna GGG- LOL yes, each culture has its own comfort food which is exotic to everyone else!

    Divya Vikram- Yes, I wanted to document these lovely traditional treats.

  46. Mmmmm..Sandige from Subbamma stores and snacks from Grand sweets - my "go to" places for both items! Where do you get the Maharashtrian masalas from?

  47. Wow....look at all those goodies Btw, can you tell me where Subbamma stores is in Bangalore? It sounds like a must-visit store.
    I tried out your ragda patties and it came out really well. Loved it and have blogged about it.

  48. Nupur, howdy. Just wanted to let you know that I'm once again using your lovely pics from Subbamma Stores for another giveaway. And please, please let me know if you'd like to join in the draw as well, since this time it will be for the US folks.


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