this is actually a re-worked version of a corn cutlet my mum used to make. she used to buy corn cobs, grate them down and then mix in some breadand other stuff, pat them up intopatties and fry them. i still remember the first time she tried it out – i teased her about using corn (i had seen potatoes and veges being used, but corn? who used corn?) and prophesised that it might not turn out well. about half-an-hour later, i was gorging down the cutlets and telling her how wonderful they were – while my mum looked on with a triumphant smile! 🙂 the corn cutlets soon took up its place in my list of all-time favourites.
i wanted to make them for myself recently, but the lazy side of me balked at the idea of going to the store to buy corn cobs and then the task of grating them down (and then cleaning up the drips of juice from the counter) – and i couldnt go against the lazy voice. but the foodie in me rose to the challenge and decided to re-work the recipe – so i turned to a box of packaged whole corn kernels (genius huh?!) and while i was at it, decided to add in some paneer as well (anything with paneer tastes good for me, so why not? :)) and started to make my cutlets. serendipitously (probably an act by the foodie gods), my friend Saras drops by my place and joins me in the kitchen with her camera. and just as my cutlets threaten to fall apart when i try to fry them, she swoops in and rescues them and – this is a big AND – revamps them into something even more tasty, while sharing with me her tips for making them such that they have uber-crispy crusts and nice, soft insides. friend in need, indeed 🙂 it turned out to be a wonderful evening with yummy cutlets, great company and a glass of coke! 🙂
For the Corn-Paneer Patties:
1-1/2 cups Whole corn kernels (drain the water in the package before measuring them out)
80 gms Paneer, finely grated
1 small Onion, finely sliced/diced
Salt, to taste
Chilli powder, to taste
Garam masala, to taste
Oil, for shallow frying
For the coating:
4 tbsp Cornflour
Bread crumbs (If you don’t have breadcrumbs on hand, just toast up a couple of slices of bread, cool a bit and then dry grind it all up. You can use white or whole-wheat bread for this.)
Making the Corn-Paneer Cutlets:
1. Keep aside about 2 tbsp of corn and grind the rest (do not add water while grinding). Add in the grated paneer and mix well. There should be no big lumps in your mixture.
2. Add salt, chilli powder and garam masala. Then add the whole corn kernels (kept aside earlier) and the onion slices and mix them in.
3. Pull off pieces and pat them down into patties. The mix should be moist but hold its shape when patted down. If it is a bit watery, throw in a tbsp or two of bread crumbs (or you could use 1 or 2 tbsp of cornflour) and mix to reduce the moisture content. Set aside.
4. Pour in enough oil for shallow frying into your frying pan/skillet/etc (the oil should atleast cover the surface of the pan without gaps – if not, the sides of the patty might not be fried well) and put on medium heat to heat up.
5. Get your coating mixture ready: mix the cornflour with water to make a thin-ish batter (if you stick your finger in, the liquid should coat it lightly and stick when you pull your finger out). Add a pinch of salt to the batter and mix it in.
6. Keep your breadcrumbs on stand-by near your cornflour batter. Dip your patties into the batter, then pick them up and dump them into the bowl of breadcrumbs and coat all over. Prepare all your patties this way and keep them ready to fry.
And then off goes the patty (with other patties in line) to be fried up – put it gently into the oil (and do stand back, as the breadcrumbs can cause the oil to splutter) and fry till its as brown as you like on both sides. (If you are new to frying, here’s a tip: put in the patty and wait for the bottom side to get cooked. When the sizzling around the patty seems to lessen up a bit, turn it over and fry the other side. Keep this fry-flip routine going till both sides are evenly fried).
[When i started writing this post, i was only going to give the notes for the version with an extremely crisp crust with soft inside. However, if you prefer the more common version with a softer crust, just follow the instructions all the way up to step 4, but instead of dipping into the cornflour-water mixture, just coat lightly with breadcrumbs and fry it up – you may not have a whole lot of breadcrumbs sticking on, but that’s normal.]
Once they are done to crisp, brown perfection, remove the patties and drain excess oil on kitchen towels. Serve them a.s.a.p. with your favourite chutney or just chilli sauce. Of course, you could eat them all just by themselves too – and that’s just what i did! 🙂 and there were none left for the usual “nicely done” photos – they’re that good!! 🙂
*Photography by Saraswathi Raja Krishnan