Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Cut & Let



mouth-watering memories of Mumbai (2005 - 2006) - I wonder if the cute little place called Swagat still exists at Khodadad Circle in Dadar

If you happen to be at Dadar TT, on one of those hungry evenings, and are in the mood for something different, then head for a small eatery called Swagat next to Birdys at the northern end of Khodadad Circle.

It is an unpretentious down-to-earth place, so dont bother to go inside, unless you want to suffocate in the fumes emanating from the kitchen; just sit on one of the tables outside and order a plate of Veg Cutlets and wait in anticipation whilst watching the action on the street. You won't have to wait for long, for here they mean business; and you will find thrust in front of you, a plate with two dark brown piping hot vegetable cutlets in a bed of freshly cut tomatoes and cucumber.

First, an exploratory nibble. The cutlet is superbly crisp on the outside, but inside its a zesty melt-in-the-mouth medley, an almost semi-liquid conglomeration, a spicy potpourri, or rather a delicious hodgepodge of assorted vegetables (carrots, beetroot, peas, potatoes and many others).

It's fiery hot - both temperature-hot and spicy-hot and leaves a tangy sensation on your tongue. No, don't go for the glass of water just place a slice of cucumber on your tongue, and when it cools down, pop in a slice of tomato.

That's the way begin to eat it!

After the first bite, you won't find it that piquant, especially if you add a dab of tomato sauce, but if you want to really relish it, do eat it in small pieces, exactly as I described it, without any additives like the dreadful tomato-pumpkin sauce the serve at these places.

Let the symbiosis of tastes come through ( of the blended medley of vegetables and spices, chillies and coriander, ginger and garlic and the crisp crust ) and let the aftertaste and pungency linger within you for some time so please don't have tea or coffee, or even a sip of water, immediately after enjoying the cutlet.You may have eaten all types of cutlets, in various sizes and shapes, but this one is different. The vegetarian cutlet at Swagat is no run of the mill stuff! You can take my word for it.

And if you are a hard core non-veg cutlet aficionado, try the mutton cutlet at your nearest Irani joint or better still the matchless Mutton Cutlet Curry at Good Luck at Deccan in Pune. [of course, the inimitable Naaz Cutlets of yesteryear are no more with the transformation of Pune Camp's most famous Irani cafe, Naaz, opposite West End, into a Barista]

My Wife's Recipe for Cutlet – CUT & LET

My wife’s concept of a cutlet :

Take all the leftovers from the fridge, CUT them up, season with salt and red chilli powder, mash, make into rounds, roll in leftover breadcrumbs / atta / flour, and LET them into a hot pan with yesterdays left over oil.

You see, her recipe is quite simple - you "cut" and you "let" and, presto, you have your cut-let.No wonder I crave and pine for a decent cutlet and don't let go of an opportunity to satiate my gastronomic yearning whenever and wherever I can find a cutlet (including the insipid bland apology they serve on the Deccan Queen).

Dear Reader, please let me know where I can enjoy some good cutlets, veg and non-veg, so that I can embark upon a cutlet eating spree.

Meanwhile, let me close my eyes, heighten my gustatory senses, and in my mind's eye, savour with simulated vicarious relish, the unforgettable cutlet I enjoyed at Swagat in Dadar TT. Oh yes, it was different!

By the way, TT stands for Tram Terminus. I understand there used to be the Dadar Tram Terminus at Khodadad Circle long long ago!