The Holiday Tradition Begins
A common Christmas holiday feast consists turkey, stuffing, gravy, potatoes, honey-glazed ham, Brussels sprouts and is not complete without Christmas cake made of dried raisins, candies peel, almonds, apples and whiskey.
Brussels sprouts don’t normally elicit a positive reaction from many people. Take a chance this holiday season to cook up more yummy recipes featuring Brussels sprouts. And every season, these recipes convert more and more people into Brussels sprouts lovers! These veggies are full of fiber and vitamin C, making them a nutritious addition to any meal!
My first experience with Brussels sprouts was cutting them and cooking in tomato gravy. But bitterness turned me off for few years until I had made these cutlets. Ever since I’ve been enjoying them and experimenting with various preparation styles.
The plant that was bred to be the Brussels sprouts we know today probably originated in Ancient Rome. It wasn’t until the 13th century that they were grown in Belgium, and, hence, were named for the county’s capital. Interestingly, the word Brussels came from the Dutch word “Broeksel” meaning “home in the marsh,” and marshes provide a very similar environment to where they now grow on the Central Coast, near ocean inlets, or sloughs.
Sulfurous little Brussels sprouts made their debut in our area in the 1920s when newly arrived Italian farmers began planting them along with artichokes. By 1940 the acreage was significant, and today several thousand are grown in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties. The tall stalks yield dense buds that resemble mini cabbages that thrive in the cool, coastal fog and have a slightly bitter taste that can sweeten when frosty temperatures hit.
In fact, the area is so well suited to Brussels sprouts that up until 1993 there was a Brussels sprouts festival sponsored by the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The festival went on for 12 years before it was uprooted for dwindling attendance. There were Brussels sprouts on pizzas and in ice cream (possibly the entire reason for the demise of the festival) and attendees who couldn’t bear to eat them were encouraged to whack them with golf clubs and hit targets. Since then, a more diverse variety of produce has been planted on the coast, making Brussels sprouts less significant, and their celebration has taken a backseat to that of garlic, strawberries, artichokes and olives, which all have their own festivals in our region.
About three-quarters of Brussels sprouts production is slated for the frozen food aisle, with only about 15% harvested for consuming fresh. But like most vegetables, Brussels sprouts yield the most nutrients when eaten fresh and raw; steaming, sautéing and roasting are second best. Brussels sprouts contain high levels of vitamins C and K, as well as significant amounts of potassium and feel-good B vitamins that give you energy and a sense of well-being. They are high in protein—2 grams for only ½ cup cooked. However, they are missing certain amino acids so the protein is incomplete unless eaten with a serving of whole grains. They also contain tons of fiber and sulforaphane, a phytochemical touted for powerful cancer-fighting properties.
Blend cooked brussels sprouts.
Grind cooked brussels sprouts, grind and mash along with potatoes.
Dip in corn starch, breadcrumbs and shallow fry.
- 2 cups - diced potatoes
- 1½ cup - halved brussels sprouts
- 4 tbsp - oil
- 5 - green chillies. Add more if you love spicy.
- 1 tbsp - jeera powder
- 1 tbsp - fresh ground coriander powder - optional
- ½ cup spring onion or onion - optional
- ½ cup - fresh coriander
- 2 tbsp - corn starch (In India it is called corn powder)
- ½ tbsp - water
- 4 tbsp - seasoned bread crumbs. (If you have plain bread crumbs at home, add dried
- Dice potatoes to even sized pieces. Fill pan or cooker with 2 cups of water and cook potatoes till soft. Do not over-cook. If over-cooked they retain lot of water and you cannot shape them to cutlets. If you are not confident how much to cook, while steaming potatoes, keep pricking with fork. If fork doesn't slide in, keep cooking till it slides.
- Pour 2 tbsp oil in a pan. Heat to medium. Add green chillies, brussels sprouts and onion. Do not add spring onion. Cook for 2 minutes, add salt and stir. Close the lid and cook for 10 minutes till brussels sprouts are soft. Turn off and let them cool.
- Blend cooked brussels sprouts mixture coarsely.
- Add salt and ground brussels sprouts to potatoes. Mash together till well mixed. Add coriander and spring onion.
- Make even, desired sized balls. Press them a bit flat. Keep them aside.
- Add water to corn starch in a bowl. Stir till well mixed. Thicker the cornstarch batter is, crunchier cutlets are. But it is hard to roll cutlets in thick batter. You make judgement what you like.
- Roll cutlets in cornstarch, then in bread crumbs.
- Add oil to a griddle (tawa). If you are making many cutlets, use electric griddle. Only electric griddle, you can fry all at same time.
- Place cutlets on oil and press lightly. Pressing makes cutlet flat and fries evenly. Fry cutlets on both sides till golden brown.
- Serve hot with ketchup or cilantro chutney. Optionally serve with lettuce leaf, cucumber rounds or radish rounds.