Adapted from 5 Spices, 50 Dishes by Ruta Kahate
Sooji, also called rava, is a kind of semolina available in Indian markets. There is coarse sooji and fine sooji on most Indian grocers’ shelves. Either will work. Likewise, so will plain Cream of Wheat.
- Have the butcher slice the meat into ½-inch-thick slices. At home, lay the slices between sheets of plastic wrap or in a large, resealable plastic bag, then pound each slice with a mallet until the slices are ⅛ inch thick-that is, extremely thin. This might require more pounding than you think: You want the slices thin enough that they are nearly translucent. The pounded slices will be quite large. You'll want smaller pieces for frying, so cut each pounded slice widthwise into two pieces. You'll wind up with 10 slices or so.
- Using a food processor or a blender, process the cilantro, chiles, lemon juice, water, ginger, garlic, kosher salt, turmeric, and cumin to a fine, smooth paste. Taste for seasoning: You want the paste to be zippy with lemon and quite heavily salted. Smear the masala paste onto each slice on both sides. Stack and restack the slices until each slice is evenly coated. Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature or up to 12 hours in the refrigerator.
- Line a large plate with paper towels or a kitchen towel. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat until nearly smoking. (A 12-inch cast-iron skillet would be ideal.) Place the sooji or Cream of Wheat on a large plate. Remove any big chunks of marinade from the slices, and pat the slices if they are wet. A dry surface is good, but be sure to not scrape off marinade excessively. You want most of the paste to stay put.
- Dip each slice in the sooji or Cream of Wheat until the slices are well coated. Panfry a couple of slices at a time, cooking each side until crisp and browned, about 3 minutes per side. Don't overcrowd the pan when frying-the crust easily goes soggy. When each slice is cooked, transfer it to the lined plate. Serve immediately.
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