It is obvious by now that I am quite the mummy’s girl. No matter what the problem, I’ve found that my mom always has a way of getting us through it – cliched as that sounds! However, I realised that I had not yet shared the story of how my mum’s Kheema Cutlets got us through one of our greatest adventures as a team. So, on Mothers’ Day, here’s the story of Mummy and her Kheema Cutlets.
When we emigrated to NZ, my mom and I didn’t have much. While we had brought with us our life savings, it wasn’t a lot and soon the pressure of mum not yet finding a job started taking its toll. We had a small home and while we had bought a bed there was no microwave, no sofa and no TV. We had moved to NZ in winter and there was nothing to distract us from the sound of the cold wind seeping in through the window cracks except each other’s company.
We each hid from the other how miserable we were and kept at it. Going back to India wasn’t an option – we only had enough for 1 person’s ticket – and at one point we were worried if we would make next month’s rent. To ensure this didn’t happen, Mom started cooking food at an Indian couples house while I took up a part time job stocking shelves at the local dairy on weekends.
A couple of weeks later, Mom found out that the local Parsi organisation was having a function and the Indian couple suggested that she should have a small food stall there. Having never done something like this, both Mom and I were nervous but decided to give it shot. We decided to sell Kheema Cutlets and Pav – a Parsi version of the Kiwi Sausage Sizzle. The stall was a runaway hit – we sold off all the 200 cutlets we made and both of us were pleasantly surprised. With our first profits, we bought a microwave for the home.
Mom had a job by this point but we continued with the Cutlets making. And, with the next few stalls came a TV, a second hand sofa, a showcase. Soon – the entire house was furnished with the money we made from selling Mummy’s Kheema Cutlets.
It wasn’t easy making 200 cutlets at a time – we both used to marinate the meat until late at night, wake up at 4am on the day of the event and fry till the entire house was filled with the aroma of Cutlets. Both of us dreamt of Cutlets and having fried so many weekend after weekend we could barely stand the taste of eating one, delicious as they were.
Mom finally stopped making them when I graduated from school and started University. There’s a lot of things my mom has done for me since then as well but I’ll never forget those days. Her Cutlets got us through that first difficult year in a new country and gave me a better life. Her Cutlets made me a confident sales woman and taught me the value of working hard. And ironically, her Cutlets gave me the confidence to turn to food when I moved to a new country myself.
Happy Mothers’ Day Ma – I would not be half the woman I am today without you.
And now, here’s her recipe for making them at home – ingredients below the post as always!
Chop the coriander and chillies finely, wash the meat and marinate it with all the spices.
Soak the bread slices or the brun bread in water for a few mins. Squeeze out all the water and add the mushed bread to the mixture. Mix well and let this marinate ideally overnight or atleast for 30 minutes.
When you are ready to fry the Cutlets, remove the marinated meat from the refrigerator and let it come back to room temperature. Taking a small chunk roll it into a smooth ball and then flatten it into a Cutlet with the palms of your hand. In a separate bowl, whip up the eggs and also start heating the oil in a frying pan. Coat each Cutlet in rawa and then the whipped eggs before lowering it into the oil.
Once the Cutlets is browned on one side, gently turn it over and let it cook another couple of minutes. The bread in the mixture will make your Cutlets rise – this is a good thing!
Once they are cooked, remove them from the oil and let them drain on a plate covered with paper towels.
Serve the cutlets hot with roti or bread and some tomato ketchup
To make about 12 cutlets you will need:
1/2 kg Kheema
2 tsp Red chilli and Turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
Salt to Taste
3 x Slices of Bread or 1.5 Brun Bread
1/2 bunch Coriander
2 Chillies chopped
2 Eggs whipped
Oil for Frying