Arbi Cutlets


This dish was discovered accidentally while we were cooking a meal in 1Shanthiroad as the arbi meant for a dry sabzi got overcooked and mushed. The resulting cutlets turned out better than the original plan.


This recipe is from The 1Shanthiroad Cookbook, edited by artist Suresh Jayaram and published by Reliable Copy. #1Shantiroad Studio/ Gallery is Bangalore’s oldest running non-profit residency and arts space. The recipes included in the book have come from 77 contributors, from across four continents—all having been involved in the art space at some point, including artists-in-residence. 

Arbi 1 kg
Cooking oil 1 tablespoon
Semolina 1 cup
Sesame seeds 2 tablespoon
Chana dal 2 tablespoon
Urad dal 2 tablespoon
Dry red chilli 4
Asafoetida 1 pinch
Sesame oil 6 tablespoon
Coriander seeds 1 tablespoon
Mustard seeds 1 teaspoon
Chana dal 1 tablespoon
Urad dal 1 tablespoon
Dry red chilli 2
Salt To taste

Wash the arbi well to remove all residual mud and then half-cook it in a pressure cooker. After one whistle, switch off the cooker and let the pressure settle.


Take out the arbis, wash in cold water, and remove the peel. Cut them into medium- sized pieces, put them in a bowl, and pour in a few spoons of sesame oil. Mix well, so they are all coated with the oil, and keep aside.


For the seasoning, dry roast chana dal, red chillies (broken in half), urad dal, and sesame seeds. Roast each ingredient separately as they roast at different speeds. Let them cool. Grind them to a coarse powder in the mixer-grinder, adding a pinch of asafoetida and salt to taste.


Heat a few tbsp of sesame oil in a frying pan, and add coriander seeds, mustard seeds, 1 tbsp of chana dal, 1 tbsp of urad dal, and 4 red chillies, broken in half. Once the mustard seeds begin to pop, add in the oiled arbi and a pinch of salt.


Put a lid on the pan and let the arbi slow cook. Stir it every few minutes to make sure it does not stick to the base. Once it begins to cook, add in the fresh ground seasoning and let it cook till it is soft and begins to roast in parts. Once this happens, turn off the gas and let it cool.


Take the cooked and seasoned arbi, pat it by hand into cutlets, and coat each with semolina on either side. Heat cooking oil in a pan and shallow-fry the cutlets, flipping it over once each side is cooked. Wait for the semolina to brown and the outer layer of the cutlet to become crisp. Take them off the frying pan, and place on a tissue to pat off the excess oil.


Serve hot with chutney or dip.

Sarasija Subramanian is an artist based in Bangalore. She is the editor at Reliable Copy, and was an artist-in-residence at 1Shanthiroad in 2018.


Kadamboor Neeraj is an artist and writer based in Baroda.

This is an excerpt from The 1Shantiroad Cookbook published in 2020 (Reliable Copy).

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