These days children are much more adventurous with food. You’ll see toddlers eating sushi, pad thai in lunch boxes and families going out for Ethiopian food. When I was in elementary school the most exotic thing someone would pack in their lunch box was a ham and swiss sandwich.
One day when I was in fourth grade I opened my lunch box and happily pulled out my delicious Kotlet sandwich and took a bite. A fellow classmate looked over in disgust and started yelling “Farnaz is eating a poop sandwich!”. Soon the whole lunch room was starring at me and all I could hear was “yuck” and “gross”. I was mortified and no matter how much I loved Persian food I begged my mom not to stray from peanut butter and jelly anymore! Looking back, it’s funny because the ingredients in Kotlet aren’t exactly “exotic”. It’s essentially just beef and potatoes…..very North American. Is a Kotlet sandwich really that different from a hamburger? Well, it was the 80’s and to kids back then it was. Today, I don’t think anyone would bat an eyelash at a Kotlet sandwich in a lunchbox. In fact, I think they would be begging for a bite!
Kotlet are delicious, easy to make and a staple in many Persian households. Beef and potato patties that are crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. They are delicious warm or cold, on their own as a main dish or in a sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. For my daughter I serve it with ketchup but for myself I like to eat it plain, with yogurt or torshi (Persian pickles).
(makes about 15-18 patties)
1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 medium onion, finely chopped or grated (I chop mine in a food processor)
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Put potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil on high and then turn down to medium heat. Simmer potatoes till they are fork tender (about 20 minutes). Drain and cool slightly.
Mash the potatoes with a masher or a ricer (I love using a ricer because the potatoes turn out very smooth)
In a bowl combine the ground beef, onions, potatoes, eggs, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. You may use a spatula or your hands to combine them well.
Take a piece of the mixture, roll into a ball in your hands and flatten. Form into oval shaped patties about 1 cm thick.
Pour enough canola oil to coat the bottom of a non-stick frying pan. Turn the heat up to medium-high and fry the patties for about 2-3 minutes per side, depending on the thickness. The patties should be golden and crisp on the outside. Fry in batches so you do not crowd the pan.
When finished frying, place on a plate covered with paper towel to absorb any extra oil.
Serve warm or cold. Enjoy!