These days of Covid lockdown, my family, who are otherwise voracious sweet eaters are not getting any sweetmeats and I am not making any desserts either. We’re eating very simple vegetarian food all week to detox, so in the evenings when everyone gets hungry, the sweet fix comes in the form of my Nutella on toast or peanut butter on toast or sometimes a combination of both with a lashing of my homemade strawberry jam (my daughter’s dessert club sandwich creation). Luckily I had made all these spreads and jams just a couple of weeks ago.
So today I decided that we could do something different for tea. Before the lockdown of the whole of India was announced eight days earlier, I had bought some sweet potato and managed to get hold of a fresh coconut a couple of days ago and thought why not try a combination of the two. I had seen a lovely recipe by a Bengali gentleman who had made something like this with regular potato and poppy seeds and it was really delicious, so I thought I’d adapt and try something different.
These sweet potato and coconut cutlets came out brilliant and the whole plate was gobbled up within minutes. It’s really easy to make, is gluten free and vegan! You can deep fry the cutlets on medium heat till they go a lovely golden brown, but that takes too much oil, so I just pan fried them and got an equally delicious outcome with one fifth the oil consumption. You could have them as an evening snack and when things start limping back to normal, you could serve them to your guests when you feel brave enough to start having people over. These can be prepared earlier and kept in the fridge for a couple of days before frying.
Ingredients (makes 15 cutlets)
400 gms boiled and peeled sweet potato
100 gms fresh coconut grated thick
¾ tsp salt (I used pink salt. If using regular salt may need to add less)
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
2 green chillies finely chopped
1 tsp kalaunji (nigella seeds)
½ cup sesame seeds (mine were lightly roasted but raw is also okay)
Vegetable oil for frying
* Sweet potatoes tend to get a bit mushy so keep them in the fridge for about an hour after boiling and cooling or keep the formed cutlets in the fridge for an hour or so before frying.
Get Started (Pictorial steps below)
- Mash the sweet potato and add the salt and mix till completely incorporated. Then add the coriander, chillies and nigella seeds and mix well. After that, add the grated coconut and mix.
- Separate the mixture into 15 portions, roll each portion between your palms to form a ball and them shape them into two-inch diameter disks about 1cm in height and coat thoroughly with the sesame seeds.
- Pour oil to cover the entire base of a non-stick pan (preferably) and fry the cutlets on medium heat for about 5 minutes per side. Adjust the heat so that the bottom doesn’t burn. If you’re frying them in batches, before you add the next batch, scrape out all the loose sesame seeds from the pan else they’ll burn and ruin the next set of cutlets. Add more oil for the next batch after the pan is free of all sesame seeds.
- Try to evenly cook all sides of the cutlets. Serve with any sauce or chutney of your choice.