South Indian Beef Cutlets

There are several varieties of cutlets including vegetable and fish, but the one I ate most often as a kid was the beef cutlet. This crispy, flavorful, savory appetizer is something I would either dunk into a pool of Maggi’s Spicy Ketchup or eat with sarlas, a simple onion salad.

As always with these old-school, Kerala recipes, it’s all about the process. I’m finding the more I cook, the more I”m in love with the process versus just completing the task at hand. There are beautiful lessons in the process. Skills are learned or made better. Failures are challenged. And, of course, delicious food is created and enjoyed. These processes have so much to teach us if we let them. Who knew cutlets could be so philosophical?

Anyway. I’ve broken down this recipe by its process so that it’s easier to follow and prepare for. I hope you enjoy making this and as always if you have any questions, I’m always answering directly on my instagram @thefoodiecutie.


  • Beef, 2 lbs, round roast, cut into medium chunks
  • Meat Masala
    • Black Peppercorns, 1 tsp
    • Green Cardamom Pods, 6
    • Cloves, 8
    • Cinnamon Stick, 1/2 a stick
    • Cumin Seeds, 2 tsp
    • Fennel Seeds, 2 tsp
    • Red Chili Powder, 1 tsp
    • Turmeric Powder,  1 tsp
  • Golden Yellow Potatoes, 3
  • Coconut Oil. 2 tbsp
  • Shallots, 3, fine mince
  • Ginger, 1 inch piece, fine mince
  • Garlic, 6 cloves, fine mince
  • Green Chilies, 1, fine mince
  • Curry Leaves, 2 sprigs, minced
  • Egg, 1, beaten
  • Bread Crumbs, 1 cup
  • Vegetable Oil for frying

img_3247HOW TO MAKE IT

Spice Blend. Start by making the meat masala spice blend. In a saute pan, add in all of the masala ingredients except for the red chili powder and turmeric powder. On low heat, warm the spices just enough to release their aroma (about 3-4 minutes). Transfer the spices to a grinder to turn it into a powder. Once in powder form mix in the red chili and turmeric powder. Set aside.

Cook. Wash the beef under cold water. Squeeze out as much excess water as you can. Place the beef chunks in a pressure cooker along with 2 tbsp of the meat masala and 2 tsp of salt. Pressure cook on high for 15 minutes. While this cooks, boil the potatoes then peel and lightly mash them so that they’re slightly chunky. Set aside. Drain the excess water from the pressure cooker and then transfer the beef chunks, in batches, to a food processor. Pulse the beef several times to mince the meat. Pulse it until it’s all evenly shredded. Set aside.

Saute. In a large saute pan on medium high heat, add the coconut oil. Once the oil is hot, saute the minced shallots, ginger, garlic, green chilies, and curry leaves. Once the rawness of the ingredients cooks down, add in the minced beef and mashed up potatoes. Mix this together really well then check for salt and spice level. *I like to add 1 tbsp more of the meat masala at this point and then mix it in

Shape. A trick to shaping the cutlet is to use a regular spoon. Scoop up about two spoons worth of meat and then use the shallow side of the spoon to press into the meat. Press so that you begin to form a round, oval shape. Do this on both sides and ensure there are no cracks in your cutlet. Set this aside on a plate or baking sheet as you form the remaining cutlets. A trick is to refrigerate the formed cutlets for about 30 minutes so it holds the shape together more firmly. This helps as we go into the next step.

Dip and Dredge. Grab two bowls. In the first bowl, add one egg and beat it very well. In the second bowl. add in the bread crumbs. I like to designate one hand for egg dipping and the other for bread crumb dipping. First dip the cutlet in the eggs so that its thinly coated then place it into the bread crumb mix. With the other hand lightly coat the cutlet on all sides and shake off excess. Continue to do this for all of the cutlets.

Fry. In a shallow frying pan on medium high, add enough oil so that its about 1-1 1/2 inches deep. When the oil is hot, add in a cutlet. You can fry several cutlets at a time, but don’t overcrowd your pan. Cook each side for about 20-30 seconds or until you see a light golden color form. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cutlets from the pan to a plate lined with paper towels. Done!


  1. I typically use a round roast cut of beef. I have seen ground beef used, but I don’t prefer the texture. Minced meat offers a fuller bite in my opinion.
  2. You can fry this in coconut, vegetable, or canola oil.
  3. You can store these in the fridge for about a week or freeze them for several months.


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