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Assemble all the ingredients. Chop the onion into small pieces. Dice the green chillies into ultra tiny pieces so it will not taste hot but add flavor. Used garlic purée as opposed to pieces.
These are the curry leaves. Try to chop finer than this. It adds flavor and aroma. The trick to a good cutlet is what is inside.
Boil the potatoes first. If you cover the lid they cook faster. About 30 minutes but depends on the size of the potato. We prefer to boil with the skin and then peel after.
Cut the top of the Mackeral can most of the way but leave 5% of the top still attached. This allows you to leave the fish in the can and drain the fish oil water to sauté the onions and spices.
Set the stove top pan on medium heat and add the fish oil water from the can and heat for 2 minutes. Why waste all the good juices from the fish can right?
Add the chopped onion, 1 Ceylon Cinnamon stick, 1 tbs. garlic, 1/2 tsp. turmeric, 1/2 tsp black pepper, finely chopped curry leaves and 1 finely chopped green chili and sauté for about 3 minutes.
Add the fish pieces from the can and cook for 3 minutes.. This Mackerel fish is very tasty and works well with the savory infusion of Ceylon Cinnamon and the sparkling freshness of lime.
Now mash the fish using a flat spoon like this. You want a nice fine smooth mash.
Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Not to worry, this is not too much. We prefer to add 3 teaspoons. But you can add more salt later, after you put in the lime. But for now 2 teaspoon is perfect.
Reduce temperature to medium low (setting 3) and add the boiled potato and mash it into the fish. Cook until the the paste mix is firm enough to make into balls. About 10-15 minutes.
Let the fish potato mixture cool down. About half an hour. If it is too hot it's hard to make the cutlets balls which is why you wait for it to cool. Don't forget to take out the Cinnamon stick.
Now add two tablespoons of lime and mix well. Check if you need more salt at this stage. The potatoes absorbs all the salt so it might need more salt.
Beat 4 eggs with a whisk. Yes we know the picture only shows 2 eggs, but you are going to need 4 eggs for double coating the cutlets with the bread crumbs.
Scoop up a little bit of the fish and potato mixture and using both palms of your hand make it into a ball. Best is to wear gloves since you don't want any food going under your fingernails.
There you have it. Nicely round balls. If you are a perfectionist you are going to go crazy trying to make them perfectly round. Don't worry you get another chance to make them rounder.
The cutlet should not be larger than 1.25 inches wide. This size makes it easier to roll into balls and tastes better because the proportion of the outer bread crumbs to inside filling is just right.
This is how the fish balls should look like prior to dipping them with the egg wash and then coating with the bread crumbs.
Dip the fish balls in the egg mixture. Best is to dip and wiggle it around the bowl by hand. All you need is a light even coating of egg.
Put the bread crumbs into a deep pan as opposed to a flat pan. A deep bowl make it easier to coat all sides of the cutlets with the bread crumbs.
1ST BREADCRUMB COATING - Add 4-5 egg soaked fish balls into the bread crumb bowl and shake from side for about 10 seconds. That will give it a nice even coating of bread crumbs.
Make sure the breadcrumbs coat every inch of the cutlet. You can reshape the cutlets at this stage to make them more round.
Now dip the cutlets again into the batter again. We are going to add a second coat of bread crumbs so the outer shell is stronger and not too fragile. Double bread crumbing makes it easier to fry too.
2ND BREADCRUMB COATING - Make sure the breadcrumb nicely coat the entire surface of the cutlet.
Finished ready for frying.
Add the vegetable oil and preheat to 390 degree F. Do not use Olive Oil which does not heat or fry well. We got this lovely mini fryer at Target in the US for $25. This way we won't waste oil.
Load the cutlets into your fryer pan. Do not place the cutlets on top of each other, otherwise they will stick together. There should be space around the cutlets so all sides get fried evenly.
Fry the cutlets for no more than 60 seconds at 390 degrees F. If your fryer does not get up to that temperature you can put it in for slightly longer.
See the lovely Golden brown color? Lift up and hold the drain basket over the oil for 10 seconds so any excess oil drains before you remove the cutlets.
Cutlets are very tasty especially when hot, so it's best you fry them about 15 minutes before serving. By the way frying them on a frying pan just won't work. We tried and it became one big mess.
Best is to dip it in hot chili chutney. The sweetness and hotness of the chutney blends well with the fish cutlets. Or you can try some Sri Lankan MD brand Ketchup which is fabulous.
Some people have cutlets parties where a group of friends gather to make cutlets as a joint effort. All you need is some good wine or some Ceylon Cinnamon Tea. Then each person takes their share home.
The hotness of the cutlets dipped in hot and sweet chutney sauce is offset by some authentic Sweet Ceylon Cinnamon Tea. Like wine and cheese but better.