As you know, I grew up in India, and as much as my two grandmothers and mom instilled in me the love of all things food (Indian and Burmese), TV also had a role to play. My brother and I watched a lot of Cartoon Network (as you can imagine) and Hamburgers and Hot Dogs were the stuff of our dreams, particularly because the only way we could ever taste them, was in our minds as we watched the cartoon characters noshing on them!
The first chance I got to eating anything remotely out of our childhood TV shows was on a flight to the Andaman Islands where they served toast, eggs and sausages for breakfast. And while I did not hate it, it did burst my fantasy bubble a little bit. I guess my Indian taste buds, used to a minimum of 5 herbs spices in every meal, expected a little bit more.
But to be fair, it was airplane food – and there is yet to be something served on a flight that I could learn to love. I read somewhere that the reason most of us hate airplane food is because the high altitude and pressurized cabin alters our taste buds, so that everything you eat tastes bland and unappetizing. And I say most of us, because my husband LOVES airplane food. He enjoys the tiny portions, the way it’s presented – how everything comes wrapped individually. It’s extremely weird, especially to sit next to him, hungry, hating everything about cramped up spaces and the terrible food and there he is, giddy as a child when the food trolley comes a rollin’! Ugh!
Anyway, since my first assessment of the sausage came from such a poor source, I decided to give it a try again on land. It was definitely better, yes, but still nothing short of what I expected. Besides a little research on hot dogs (particularly the sausages) enlightened me on some of the crappy things they put in there, and I decided to steer clear of the thing forever.
BUT childhood obsessions have a way of nagging at you – so I gave in to the nagging and made it myself, the way I imagined hot dogs should taste like. I remembered these delicious ground chicken cutlets my mother used to make – and replicated the recipe, but using a ton of vegetables instead!
What makes these Veggie dogs awesome?
2. Unlike regular cutlets, this one isn’t deep fried. It’s lightly pan-fried with just a brush of oil on each side.
3. The patty is perfectly freezable. My mother usually makes large batches of these and freezes them under layers of wax paper in sealed containers. When the cravings hit, all you need to do is pop one out of the freezer and fry them up!
4. Like all homemade things, you know exactly what goes into it, and that’s just peace of mind on a plate.
I used beetroots, carrots, potatoes, green peas, sauteéd onions, sometimes I throw in some jalapeno in there too, fresh ginger, and my favorite spice blend: garam masala (Indian five spice), cumin powder, red chilli powder and salt. Mix it all in with some breadcrumbs (I usually get a garlic+herb seasoned breadcrumbs from Kroger) to absorb the excess moisture from the vegetables.
Now comes the fun part: rolling the vegan sausages. Use some cling wrap and spread 1/4 c of filling in a 5″ log. Roll and twist the ends like a candy wrapper. Knot the twisted ends for extra stability. Repeat with the rest. You’ll get about 8 sausages with this recipe.
Neat huh! Just like a real meaty sausage sans all the crap and junk they put into the processed meat. And you can store these (perfect for freezing) for whenever you need some Veggie dogs!
Oh but please don’t fry these without removing the plastic wrapper. Just snip the twisted ends with scissors and unwrap the veggie sausage.
Just before pan-frying, roll the veggie sausages in more breadcrumbs for that awesome crunchy coat. Slide into a hot dog bun, top with ketchup/mustard/mayo/your favorite relish and enjoy your Veggie Dogs hot!
– The 3 medium potatoes when cooked yielded 1.5 cups mashed potatoes.
– 1/2 medium beetroot, when cooked and grated, yielded 1 cup grated beetroot.
– I used roasted garlic flavored breadcrumbs, it greatly enhanced the taste. If you can’t get any, just use your regular breadcrumbs mixed with some garlic powder + Italian dried seasoning.
– If you deep-fry these veggie ‘sausages’, you’ll get a thicker, crispier crust. These were not meant to be grilled. Sorry!
– If you are not in the mood for hot dogs, simply shape them into cutlets, deep fry and enjoy!