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#1 vikramkarve

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 05:07 PM

AN UNFORGETTABLE VEG CUTLET AT KHODADAD CIRCLE DADAR TT
by
VIKRAM KARVE


If you happen to be at Dadar TT, on one of those hungry evenings, and are in the mood for something different, then head for a small eatery called ‘Swagat’ next to Birdy’s at the northern end of Khodadad Circle. It’s an unpretentious down-to-earth place, so don’t bother to go inside, unless you want to suffocate in the fumes emanating from the kitchen; just sit on one of the tables outside and order a plate of Veg Cutlets and wait in anticipation whilst watching the action on the street.

You won’t have to wait for long, for here they mean business; and you will find thrust in front of you, a plate with two dark brown piping hot vegetable cutlets in a bed of freshly cut tomatoes and cucumber.

First, an exploratory nibble. The cutlet is superbly crisp on the outside, but inside it’s a zesty melt-in-the-mouth medley, an almost semi-liquid conglomeration, a spicy potpourri, or rather a delicious hodgepodge of assorted vegetables (carrots, beetroot, peas, potatoes and many others). It’s hot – both temperature-hot and spicy-hot – and leaves a tangy sensation on your tongue. No, don’t go for the glass of water – just place a slice of cucumber on your tongue, and when it cools down, pop in a slice of tomato. That’s the way begin to eat it!

After the first bite, you won’t find it that piquant, especially if you add a dab of tomato sauce, but if you want to really relish it, do eat it in small pieces, exactly as I described it, without any additives like the dreadful tomato-pumpkin sauce the serve at these places. Let the symbiosis of tastes come through ( of the blended medley of vegetables and spices, chillies and coriander, ginger and garlic and the crisp crust ) and let the aftertaste and pungency linger within you for some time – so please don’t have tea or coffee, or even a sip of water, immediately after enjoying the cutlet.

You may have eaten all types of cutlets, in various sizes and shapes, but this one is different. The vegetarian cutlet at Swagat is no ‘run of the mill’ stuff! You can take my word for it.


Epilogue

My wife’s concept of a cutlet :

Take all the leftovers from the fridge, ‘CUT’ them up, season with salt and red chilli powder, mash, make into rounds, roll in leftover breadcrumbs/atta, and ‘LET’ them into a hot pan with yesterday’s left over oil.

You see, her recipe is quite simple - you “cut” and you “let” and, presto, you have your cut-let.

No wonder I crave and pine for a decent cutlet and don’t let go of an opportunity to satiate my gastronomic yearning whenever and wherever I can find a cutlet (including the insipid bland apology they serve on the Deccan Queen).

Dear Reader, please let me know where I can enjoy some good cutlets, veg and non-veg, so that I can embark upon a cutlet-eating spree. Meanwhile, let me close my eyes, heighten my gustatory senses, and in my mind’s eye, savour with simulated vicarious relish, the unforgettable cutlet I enjoyed at Swagat in Dadar TT. Oh yes, it was different!


VIKRAM KARVE

vikramkarve@sify.com

#2 Suresh Hinduja

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 10:07 PM

If I ever open a restaurant, I want my food to be written about so glowingly by Vikram Karve. :)

Vikram, welcome to our small nukkad on the web.
After reading your excellent piece on cutlets (or cutless as many menus describe it   :)   ) I  feel like eating some right now.

I have some old memories of Khodadad( KHOdAAdAAd ) circle-

Dayaram Damodar for some great Farsan
Fresh up-where I had my first chocolate milk shake
Aroma restaurant(towards Chitra cinema)
Plaza fish market over the bridge
Shri Krishna- batata wadas
Laakhan Gola waala at 5 gardens
the Cake (kek) ladies of Parsi colony...

Brilliant place, has it retained it's old charm?

BTW I studied at St Joseph's, not that it did any good.
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#3 Suresh Hinduja

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 09:35 AM

Paneer Cutlets
Fresh Paneer, chillies, garlic, capsicum and coriander

Posted Image
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#4 rummate

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 01:13 PM

Lets delve on the origin of the cutlet. My understanding is that it originated during the British Raj and it bears no resemblance to the cutlet eaten by the Westerners.Any other views please?

Calcutta has some famous joints serving cutlets with names like Kobiraji cutlet and Fowl cutlet. Its in this city that the cutlet has been perfected to a different level.

#5 Suresh Hinduja

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 07:03 AM

Rummate,
How about the bhejitable Chop which is not a Chop but a cutlet?   :)

and from  
Gautam's old post

Accompanying them are such riffs on the traditional kachoris as the radhaballabhi, using green peas, and quite possibly inspired by the growing prominence of “English’ vegetables in the urban foodways. Motor shuntir kachori certainly was a delicacy much in favor with the great houses, relying on an ingredient that was in season but briefly, and required a battery of kitchen help to shell and prepare for its intended use. Another such was the Vegetable Chop, using Beetroot, Carrots, Potatoes (then still a seasonal novelty), Peanuts and raisins, dipped in ‘breadcrumbs’ (made of a rusk and not bread, which was baked by Muslims or Christians, and taboo to the orthodox Hindu both for that reason and for being yeast-fermented). Aloor Dom, again using a fairly new and luxury item, would have taken ts inspiration from the Muslim chefs of the great houses, but came to have have its uniquely Hindu Bengali manifestations via the confectionaries started by the erstwhile Hindu employees of the zamindar families.

Some of these employees branched out to establish non-vegetarian establishments, as well, catering to the nascent groups of ‘Young Turks’ (as it were) and others in the Bengali society who were willing to break with the orthodox taboos and embrace modern eating habits, outside their homes of course (a pattern visible to this day, particularly among Hindu males).

These restaurants offered native interpretations of the western and fusion cuisines emerging in zamindar households. Here were ‘chops’, ‘cutlets’, fish fries, dhakai parota, mughlai parota, dimer devil [Bengali Scotch eggs?], kosha mangsho etc.  These are more in the realm of snacks or tiffin type foods, even if substantial, rather than full meals.


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#6 Sury

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 04:57 PM

Vikram,

Relished your cutlet experience. I could almost feel the taste in my mouth. You sure got me craving. ;)

Keep these delish posts coming!  

Sury
http://limadelhi.blogspot.com/

#7 Peppertrail

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 06:53 PM

Paneer Cutlets
Fresh Paneer, chillies, garlic, capsicum and coriander

Posted Image

Suresh:

That looks scrumptious ;) Recipe please.

#8 Suresh Hinduja

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 10:35 AM

Ammini,
These are from a mithai shop in Bangalore, I forget which.
I do know how to make them and generally it involves fresh paneer with finely chopped chillies, coriander, garlic and capsicum. Make a ball, roll in bread crumbs and press into a heart shaped mold before frying it in a shallow pan.
Will try and make them and post the results.
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#9 Suresh Hinduja

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 10:38 AM

Rummate,
How about the bhejitable Chop which is not a Chop but a cutlet?   ;)

Bhejitable Chop from K.C.Das
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#10 waaza

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 02:47 PM

Rummate,
How about the bhejitable Chop which is not a Chop but a cutlet?   :D

Bhejitable Chop from K.C.Das

so what is the little green 'bhejitable' in that then, Suresh??
cheers ;)
Waaza

#11 Suresh Hinduja

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 03:17 PM

Peas, Waaza.
and carrots and beetroot.
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#12 waaza

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 02:30 PM

and are the veg wrapped in mashed potato, then breadcrumbed?

Beetroot is unusual, no?

Is this a Bengali dish?

cheers
Waaza

#13 Suresh Hinduja

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 02:53 PM

and are the veg wrapped in mashed potato, then breadcrumbed?

Beetroot is unusual, no?

Is this a Bengali dish?

cheers
Waaza

Absolutely right on all counts. Even more unusual is that it is called chop a term that would be reserved for meat cuts.
Unless chop is derived from Chaap which sometimes defines a pattice.
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#14 Veena

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 10:38 PM

Many of the small unassuming "tea houses" in Bombay (my grandfather owned a few) that served vegetable cutlets used to have beetroot in them.  It adds a nice earthy taste to the dish.  Vegetable sandwiches sold on Mumbai streets also have boiled beetroot slices along with the usual suspects (potatoes, onions, tomato, cucumber, chutney and butter).  I am craving one of these now.

Veena

#15 Suresh Hinduja

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 04:35 PM

Many of the small unassuming "tea houses" in Bombay (my grandfather owned a few) that served vegetable cutlets used to have beetroot in them.  It adds a nice earthy taste to the dish.  Vegetable sandwiches sold on Mumbai streets also have boiled beetroot slices along with the usual suspects (potatoes, onions, tomato, cucumber, chutney and butter).  I am craving one of these now.

Veena

Shankar Vilas Hindu Hotel ?
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#16 chiro

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 09:51 PM

Dear All,
All over bengal you get all sorts of Chops and Cutlets, as well as rolls.
Ubiquitous is the veg, fish, mutton and chicken. But the specialist 'chop' shops esp in north calcutta do about 10-12 different variety, almost all veg( mocha, aam beet, aaloo, simlai mirchi etc) along with ' peyagi '-which is onion pakora and pakoras, of course.
The south calcutta ones, esp near gariahat do the non-veg 'rolls' and 'Cutlets'- all derived from the english terms and taken on an indian (or anglo indian) context.
I am sure you will not be surprised to learn that most of the rolls, cutlets and chops(non-veg) were available in the sri lankan( run by jaffna tamils as opposed to the sinhalase) shops in eastham, london-presumably reflecting the same origins and british influence.  
Chiro

#17 waaza

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 03:43 PM

chiro,
my brother lives a short bus ride away from those shops in East Ham, in London. I'll be there just before I fly off to India in August, so I might seek out these shops. The ones where he lives (Green St. in Upton Park) come and go, I've only had their pakoras (onion/potato), but I've sampled the only real Indian food from a take-away/restaurant (in the UK) from this street. The owners of the shop were willing to give my SIL lessons on how to prepare their food (which I though was not main stream Indian) but she didn't take up their offer, having two small children at the time.
Green St in east London, to me its like little India..... :) :D :D
cheers
Waaza

#18 Veena

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 09:57 AM

Shankar Vilas Hindu Hotel ?


Something like that :-)  Vasant Vilas on Lamington Road used to be one of them.

Veena

#19 chiro

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 09:45 PM

Dear Waaza,
I dont leave that far from green street-illford area. There is a nice south indian( principally T. Nadu cuisine) restaurant called sri-ratiga in illford. But then again, if you are off to India, why bother .   :)
Chiro