- 330 g boneless chicken
- 5 g salt
- 6 g sugar
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ½ tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
- ¼ tsp gorom moshla
- ¼ tsp bhaja moshla
- ¼ tsp MSG
- ½ tsp lime juice
- 10 g tomato ketchup
- 5 g ginger
- 3 g garlic
- 2 g parsley
- 2 g coriander leaves
- 4 pcs mint leaves
- 5 g green chillies
For breading and frying
- 3 eggs
- 300 g breadcrumbs
- vegetable oil for deep-frying
Chicken cutlet (or fowl cutlet as it is referred to at several shops in Kolkata) is one of the city's most beloved snacks. No cabin menu is complete without it. A cutlet, similar to a schnitzel, is made by seasoning a thinned slice of meat and coating it with eggs and breadcrumbs. Our version, which is a recreation of the widely popular cabin-style chicken cutlet of Kolkata, is made from minced chicken. A good chicken cutlet is crisp on the outside with a flavourful filling of chicken on the inside. The crust is a gorgeous, even brown colour. Finally, it is the iconic diamond shape which defines the Kolkata chicken cutlet, which is what we have tried to recreate in this recipe.
- Freezing the chicken before grinding it will prevent it from turning to a paste. Again, chilling the chicken mixture before shaping and breading the cutlets will make it easier to handle.
- Recent studies have shown that MSG (Mono-sodium Glutamate)—often referred to by its brand name Ajinamoto—is not a harmful substance. It is a naturally occurring salt of sodium (just like table salt) derived from seaweeds that quickly and cheaply lends your dish an umami flavour. Glutamate salts are present in everyday food including tomatoes, mushrooms, meat, milk, cheese, and even human breast milk. Some people may be allergic to MSG—just like people are allergic to eggs, gluten, etc. If you are one of those people, certainly stay away from food that contains MSG, including all packaged chips, soups, instant ramens, etc. But for the vast majority of us, MSG is safe to eat. You can read more about it here, here, and here. You can also watch David Chang's fried rice episode of Ugly Delicious on Netflix (Season 1, Episode 7).
- While breading the cutlets, keep your 'dry' and 'wet' hands separate, such that you handle the eggs (wet) with your left hand only, and breadcrumbs (dry) with your right hand. (Reverse this if you're left-handed.) This is to avoid the eggs from wetting the dry ingredients and clumping them together. Anyone who has watched Alton Brown brandish his 'club hands' on television knows never to forget this crucial technique.
Preparing the chicken
- Chop the chicken into 3-cm cubes, and put them in the freezer for about 30 to 40 minutes to harden slightly. It's easier to grind semi-frozen chicken so that it doesn't become too pastey.
- Transfer to a grinder and grind to a mince. You can also use chicken keema if you like.
- In a mixing bowl, add the keema, salt, sugar, pepper, Kashmiri red chilli powder, gorom moshla, bhaja moshla, and MSG. Squeeze in some lime juice and tomato ketchup.
- Now, finely chop the ginger and garlic, green chillies, coriander leaves, mint leaves, and parsley. Add these to the mixing bowl too, and mix well.
- For easier shaping, chill the mixture again for 1 hour. Once done, divide it into 60-g portions.
Shaping and breading the cutlet
- For breading, in two separate flat dishes, take breadcrumbs and beaten eggs. Season each with some salt.
- Grease your palms with vegetable oil. Take a portion of the chilled chicken keema mixture and roll it to form a 12-cm long log. Taper the ends and using the breadcrumbs for dusting, gently flatten the log into a diamond-shaped cutlet 5-mm thick. Shape using a bench-scraper or a wide chopper/knife. Try to flatten the top and straighten the edges as much as possible.
- Once the basic shaping has been done, it's time to bread the cutlets. We will double-bread the cutlets to give them a substantial, crisp crust.
- For that, first dip the cutlet in the beaten eggs and shake off any excess. Then, dust it in breadcrumbs, pressing them on, so that they stick to the egg.
- Repeat the previous step once again: that is, dip the cutlet in egg and then breadcrumbs for a second time.
- [Throughout this process keep your 'dry' and 'wet' hands separate, such that you handle the eggs (wet) with your left hand, and breadcrumbs (dry) with your right hand. Reverse this if you're left-handed. This is to avoid the clumping of the dry ingredients.]
- Heat vegetable oil and deep-fry the cutlets on medium heat (oil temperature: ~180°C), until they are evenly brown.
- Serve hot with kasundi, and a salad of sliced onions, cucumber and beetroot.
- Bench scraper or flat chopper (for shaping)
- Mixer grinder