This is a recipe for the famous Persian Kotlet. These are Turkey Kotlets ( turkey cutlets) and they are absolutely delicious. I used to use ground beef for this recipe but for the past several years I have been making them with ground turkey, and the result is lighter, crispier, and tastier kotlets! Iranians love their Kotelt and you will just have to try them to see the reason for this national affection. I never get tired of eating these and I have eaten them all my life. But eating kotlet and even watching it prepared after time, doesn’t take the place of a good recipe that works every time.
I remember years ago when I first moved to the U.S., I was dying for a Kotlet sandwich so I decided to make it. I didn’t have the recipe at the time, so I did my best to put together the ingredients that I remembered. I made the mixture and flattened it into patties. To my dismay, as soon as the patties hit the hot oil they fell apart and I ended up with browned ground beef; not exactly what I had in mind!
Kotlet tastes amazing hot right off the skillet; that is why you should always count on a few being eaten before they get to the table! It is also amazing served hot or cold by itself with sides, or as sandwiches for dinner parties and picnics. The traditional shape of kotlet is oval, but if you prefer to make it into round patties you may do just that. I promise it will taste delicious regardless of the shape.
Add the ground turkey, grated onion, grated potato and egg to a large bowl
Add salt and spices
Mix very well until all blended and resembles a thick batter.
Update NOTE: The batter may be mixed the day before and then shaped and fried the next day. Though this does not change the outcome of this recipe, it makes the batter less sticky and easier to shape.
Scoop 1/4 cup of the batter in the palm of your hand and squeeze the ingredient together
Press the batter into an oval roll or a round ball
Roll it gently in the cracker crumbs until coated on all sides
Get all of the batter rolled and coated, hold on to the remaining cracker crumbs
Set up a quick access line with: A platter covered with paper towel, 1 or 2 flat heatproof spatulas, the coated rolls, the plate of cracker crumbs, and the large nonstick skillet with hot oil
Put a roll in the cracker crumbs and press to flatten and coat on both sides
Use your hand or a spatula to gently drop the patty in hot oil
The oil should be hot but not smoking, it should sizzle when you put the first patty in
Fry the Kotlet patties undisturbed until golden brown, then flip the other side and fry until golden brown. Transfer each browned patty to the paper towel lined platter, then make a fresh patty and place it in the skillet
Continue until all of the pattie are browned. Try one right away! This is when they taste the best.
Enjoy a warm or cold Kotlet sandwich with onions, pickles, tomatoes, parsley and ketchup. Kotlet is one of the most popular picnic sandwiches in Iran!
- 1 ¼ pounds ground turkey (93% lean). You may use lean ground beef instead.
- 1 large potato, parboiled with skin
- 1 small onion grated (packed ⅓ cup)
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 tsp meat spice or your favorite curry powder
- ⅛ tsp saffron (optional)
- ⅔ cup fine cracker crumbs
- ⅔ cup vegetable oil for frying
- FOR THE SANDWICH
- Sliced red onions
- Sliced ripe but firm tomatoes
- Sliced dill pickles
- Fresh parsley sprigs coarsely chopped
- Italian ciabatta or French baguettes for sandwiches
- Place the unpeeled potato in a small saucepan and add about 1½ inches of cold water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low and cook for 30 minutes. The potato will be hard in the center when poked with a fork. Remove the potato from the pan and set aside until cool enough to handle. Peel the potato and grate it into a large bowl.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, with the exception of the vegetable oil and cracker crumbs, to the bowl. Mix all the ingredients well with a spatula or use your fingers to knead the mixture as you would with bread dough, until the batter resembles a thick batter.
- Add ⅔ cup fine cracker crumbs to a flat plate.
- Use a ¼ measuring cup to scoop the batter. Place the batter in the palm of your hands and squeeze it a few times before rolling it into a 3 ½- inch long roll. You may roll it into a ball instead.
- Place the roll in the cracker crumbs and gently roll it from side to side to coat all over. Repeat this step with the rest of the batter. Arrange the coated rolls in a single layer on a shallow sheet pan or tray. Reserve the leftover crumbs, you will need it again when you make the patties.
- Line a large platter with couple of paper towels. Set aside.
- Heat ⅔ cup oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. It should be very hot but not smoking
- Place a coated role in the reserved cracker crumbs and flatten it into a ½ -inch thick patty. Turn it over and press again to coat the other side. Gently brush off the excess crumbs with your fingertips.
- Use your hand or a flat spatula to carefully slip the patty into the hot oil.
- Keep making more patties and adding them to the skillet. Do not overcrowd, leave some room between the patties so you can easily flip them when browned.
- Brown each patty undisturbed on one side for 7-10 minutes. Do not move the patty too soon after you have placed it in hot oil; this will make it stick to the skillet and fall apart. After about 7 minutes you will see the edges starting to brown. Lift the patty slightly on one side, if browned, use the spatula to flip the other side and brown it for another 7-10 minutes. You want the patties to brown uniformly.
- Use the spatula to transfer the browned patties onto the paper towel lined platter to absorb the excess oil.
- For every patty that you remove from the skillet add an uncooked one to prevent the oil from getting too hot and splattering.
- Continue until all the patties are browned.
- Prepare a platter with thinly sliced red onions, dill pickles, tomatoes, and coarsely chopped fresh parsley sprigs. Serve the patties on Italian ciabatta or French baguettes. Top each kotlet with some ketchup and your choice of the toppings.
Make ahead tip: The batter may be mixed the day before and refrigerated, then the next day it's shaped and fried. The refrigerated batter will be firmer, less sticky, and easier to shape.
I use Premium saltine crackers to make the fine crumbs for this recipe. This box is the ‘Original’ crackers with sea salt on top, but these crackers also come in ‘Unsalted Tops’ with a lower sodium option.
If you’re unable to find saltine crackers in your area, make your own bread crumbs: Cut a loaf or two of French baguette or a similar white bread to small chunks and arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a 200 F oven for an hour or so until very dry; cool and process in a food processor until you have fine crumbs.