A culinary experiment to save time

A minor tweak for vegetable cutlets

Preparation of vegetable cutlets is one of the more elaborate procedures described in A Short Course in Culinary Experiments (preparation SD10).  The ingredients list had 14 items; not exactly a cup tea for someone who revels in the idea of, “Simple is Tasty.”  This preparation was an exception to the general theme of the book, but the elaborate procedure also produced something delectable; which I have to admit, would not have been possible with the “Simple is Tasty” approach.  In addition to the long list of ingredients, the cooking procedure was also slightly tricky.

One of the easy mistakes that you make in the preparation of masala for cutlets is the amount of water/moisture in the masala.  If the moisture is too much, the cutlet patties will not hold well.  Rescue methods can be employed to reduce the moisture, but that may diminish the taste.  One solution suggested to reduce the moisture content was to make the cutlet patties and leave them in an open pan, overnight, in the refrigerator.  The refrigerator acts as a desiccator and part of the moisture is removed, thus giving stability to the cutlet patties.  However, this requires extra time and additional planning.  Here is a simple but elegant solution.

Before I go further, I have to say that this experiment was not my idea.  This culinary experiment was done and reported to me by a bonafide culinary enthusiast and scientist, Prof. J. P. Y. Kao.  Step no. 1 in the procedure SD10 was modified as follows:  Peel the potatoes and cut them in quarters.  Cook the potatoes in a microwave oven.  Periodically check (every 3 minutes) to see if the potatoes are cooked well.  In Prof. Kao’s kitchen, the potatoes were cooked and ready for mashing in 12 minutes.  Since the moisture content was minimal, the cutlet patties needed no special attention to retain their shape and lattice stability, for subsequent steps.  The rest of the cooking procedure of SD10 was unaltered.  And by all accounts, the vegetable cutlets were as scrumptious as ever.

h/t Prof. J. P. Y. Kao.

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