I first had Kotleti at boyfriend’s parent’s house. Looking back, it was probably the first Russian meal I was ever served. Kotleti are basically chicken cutlets, like chicken nuggets but that actually taste good and are made from real food.
This is one of those recipes where I think “IDK why people all over the world aren’t making these“. There’s nothing special about the ingredients, but when they all come together, fried in a little oil, the basic chicken is transformed. They are simple and flavored perfectly.
Kotleti are typically served with rice or potatoes and wait for it…no sauce.
My little midwestern brain can’t compute.
Sometimes I make a little sauce out of mayo/mustard/honey or yogurt/lemon/herbs to dip these in. But Kotleti is probs the juiciest chicken recipe you’ll ever make, so I can’t believe I’m saying this, but you don’t actually need a sauce with them. !!!
This is meal prep food. The food you want to eat for both lunch and dinner. Food that will fill you up but make you feel energized and not tired. Food that feels good to eat because it’s homemade. Food that will convert a vegetarian (heheeee maybe).
It’s nostalgia food for Boyfriend. Every time his mom comes to visit, or we go back to SF, his mom sends us home with tupperware filled with these. If you’re thinking “that’s weird to fly with chicken in your suitcase“, trust that you will change your mind after you eat these.
As with the last, this recipe is straight from Boyfriend’s mom. You can find lots of Kotleti recipes on the internet, but these are the best, hands down, so you might as well stop looking and start eating.
Kotleti (Chicken Cutlets)
(Start making 30 minutes before you want Kotleti)
2 lbs ground chicken breast*
3 eggs, separated
1 small onion
1 small potato
1 cup soft white bread**
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp garlic powder
* Boyfriend swears the Kotleti tastes different when you grind the meat yourself. I have about 100 other things on my kitchen must-buy list before a meat grinder but I wanted to point that out here.
** I used a small loaf of sourdough bread and just scooped out the insides. If you’ve got a loaf of bread you could use the soft white part from the center of 3 slices or so.
Start by separating your eggs. In a large bowl, combine the yolks and ground chicken. In a smallish bowl, beat the egg whites with a whisk until frothy (about 2-3 minutes).
Now, get ready for the least-fun activity of your life: grating an onion. Grate the onion and the peeled, small potato and combine with chicken mixture.
Take your bread and soak it in the milk. I just let this sit in a bowl, combined, for a few minutes. You’ll take the bread, squeeze out the excess liquid then add the bread to the chicken mixture.
You’ve got most of your ingredients in the large bowl at this point. Stir your egg whites into the chicken mixture, then add your garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
Heat up some olive oil on a non-stick skillet on medium heat (I prefer this to stainless steel, as you need less oil). You’ll take a dollop of the chicken mixture and add it to the pan. I fit about 5 of these in each batch on the pan. I’d give you guidance on the shape, but I wouldn’t exactly say I’ve nailed this yet. Think oval shaped and kind of flat. The mixture is a little wetter than your average meatball dough so this isn’t the easiest thing in the world.
Good thing is, it doesn’t really matter!
I did about 5 minutes on the first side, and 3 on the second side, covering with a lid in the last minute to ensure they’re cooked. Depending on your heat, you may need to alter this slightly.
These make about 20 Kotleti and they make the PERFECT leftover lunch. Traditionally served with a side of potatoes but they taste just as good with a heap of greens.