Oven-baked Vegan curried croquettes

India’s love affair with street food is no secret; pani puri, samosa, chaat, kachori, vada pav, gobi Manchurian, momos, tikki etc etc, the choices truly are endless. Also, the flavours and offerings vary greatly depending on the state, city or town in which you find yourself. One such delight is aalu chop or cutlet i.e spiced potato croquettes that are mixed in or stuffed with lots of vegetables and flavoured delightfully with herbs and spices. Then, they are rolled in bread crumbs and fried until they are crisp little dumplings that pair so very well with sweet and tangy chutney and dips of all sorts. Chops or croquettes are definitely one of my favourite snacks and while I love deep-fried things, I like to feel a bit virtuous about my day-to-day food choices and feel less than ideal about having to bookmark a crisp croquette as an occasional treat; especially when they are such a great way to lure fussy people into eating vegetables. Hence, my Oven-baked Vegan curried croquettes. These croquettes are healthy, delicious, vegan and are a great way to use up left over dry vegetable curries and things and can be adjusted to use any vegetable in your fridge. The key, really, is to cook your vegetables down until most of the moisture has evaporated and flavour them with herbs and spices of your choice. You can find below my go-to ingredients for my vegan croquettes; I mean it really doesn’t get much better than the combo that is cauliflower, potatoes and peas. That said, give this recipe a go with what you’ve got; you are sure to find yourself quite satisfied with how your oven-baked vegan croquettes turn out.

Ingredients (makes 12)

For the veggie mix

  • 450-500 grams of starchy potato, scrubbed clean and diced into 1sq inch pieces
  • 1tbsp of olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds, coarsely crushed
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 small piece of ginger grated
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp of tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp of garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp of coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp of chilli flakes or 1/2 tsp of chilli powder
  • 250 grams of cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
  • 100 grams of green beans, chopped
  • 1 small carrots, minced
  • 15 grams of minced coriander leaves
  • Minced green chillis to taste (optional)
  • Zest from 1 lime

For the crispy coating

  • 2 tbsp of all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp of water
  • 100 grams of bread crumbs
  • 1/4th tsp of salt
  • 1/4th tsp of turmeric powder
  • 1/4th tsp of chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil

Method

  • Place potatoes a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 6-8 minutes depending until fork tender. Alternatively, you can boil them in water until tender but preferably, do so by chopping the potatoes into large uniform chunks and leaving the pill on. That way, they won’t absorb a lot of water.
  • Cooling off slightly, mash until smooth and set aside.
  • Place a pan over medium high heat and add the oil.
  • Once the oil is hot, add in the crushed cumin seeds and once they are fragrant, add in the onions and salt and cook until softened.
  • Add the grated ginger and garlic and cook until the oil starts to separate.
  • Add the tomato paste and once well incorporated and cooked through, add in the turmeric powder, coriander powder and the chilli flakes and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.
  • Add in the chopped cauliflower, beans and carrots and sauté until the vegetables are cooked through and the beautifully golden and dry.
  • Take off the heat and add to the mashed potatoes.
  • Adding the lime zest, the minced coriander and green chillis (if using), mix well with a fork until the curried vegetables are uniformly incorporated.
  • Shape into log, balls or quenelles and set in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to cool.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven at 200 C fan with grill.
  • Now, to prepare the crispy coating; mix the flour and water to make a slurry and set aside.
  • Add the salt, turmeric powder and chilli powder to the bread crumbs and mix well; alternatively, toast slices of bread (stale is better) until golden and pulverise until you get uniformly sized coarse/fine bread crumbs.
  • Add in a tbsp of oil to the spiced crumbs and combine gently with your fingers until the breadcrumbs are oil-slicked.
  • Dip each veggie croquette into the slurry and place over the crumbs.
  • Using your dry hand, roll it into the crumbs until well coated and place over a lined baking dish.
  • Once ready, bake the croquettes for 25-30 minutes until golden and crispy.
  • Serve with dips and sauces over fresh green salads and enjoy!

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