I've always pan-fried them similar to these Aloo Tikkis but this time I decided to bake them first so they would be more uniform and develop a better crust... To give the appearance a boost (the just baked ones had a pale look) and increase the crispness of the coating, I then pan fried them on a tawa with just a tsp of oil. Very satisfying and tasty. The recipe below is what I remember of my neighbour (Radha) aunty's recipe with a few tweaks from my end.
BAKED VEGETABLE CUTLETS
Potatoes - 2, boiled, peeled & mashed
Peas - half cup, microwaved for 4-5 mins with water, coarsely mashed
Carrots - 2, peeled & grated
Beetroot - 1, peeled & grated
Onion - 1, minced
Ginger - half inch piece, minced
Garlic - 2 to 3 cloves, minced
Mint & Coriander leaves - 1 handful each, washed and chopped
Chilli powder - about 1 tsp
Shakthi Curry Masala Powder - 1 to 2 tsp (or to taste)
Bread Crumbs - about half cup (optional, used as required)
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp + 2 tsp
All purpose flour (maida) - half cup
Milk - half cup
Bread crumbs - about 1.5 cups
1) Heat a tbsp of oil in a pan, and toss in the onion, ginger & garlic. Fry this till transparent and softened.
2) Now add the grated carrots, beetroot with a bit of salt and stir for a few minutes before covering it and reducing the flame so the veggies sweat it out and soften a bit. Keep stirring every once in a while until the veggies are tender.
3) Add the chilli powder, curry masala powder & salt and after a few minutes, the mint & coriander leaves are tossed in as well.
4) Next the mashed potatoes & peas are stirred in and cooked until the mass combines and the flavours are mixed in uniformly. If you feel that the mixture is not firm enough, please stir in upto half a cup of breadcrumbs to lend more texture.
5) Allow this to cool a bit before making equal sized balls out of the mixture... these can then be shaped to your desire.. i made heart shaped patties reminiscent of my athai's cutlets which I enjoyed as a kid.
6) For the coating, put separate bowls of milk, flour & a plate of bread crumbs (I ran several slices of whole wheat bread in a mixie to get soft bread crumbs).
7) Preheat oven to 350F, coat a cookie sheet/baking pan with some oil and keep aside.
8) Dip each cutlet first in milk and then in flour, followed by a quick dip in milk again and then rolled into bread crumbs. Lay these carefully on the baking sheet, repeat till done.
9) Cook these in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping over once in between.
10) Just before serving, heat a tava and spread a tsp of oil or so evenly, place the cutlets and let them cook on both sides (i had to do this in 2 batches - hence the 2 tsp of oil in the ingredient list)... till golden brown and crisp. Enjoy with ketchup.
I would like to send this as my entry to Cook & Create with luv for luv event hosted at Asankhana. Thank you Asha & notyet100 for the suggestions.