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Spanish Omelette, Desi Tadka

Every so often, we meet up with missionaries from a certain Christian order and talk about the Holy Bible and related books. These missionaries are all bright young men, usually far from their homes and families, sometimes their countries, in addition to being polite, friendly and excellent company for discussions of this sort. Having been in their position decades ago, if there’s one thing I absolutely love doing, it is cooking for them.

One of these chaps was 19 years old, and had already lived away from his family for a long time, almost all on his own in the big, wide world. Made us reflect on how sheltered a life Cherie (17 yo) is living.

Two of these young men dropped by yesterday, and after we were done with our discussion, all of us trooped into the kitchen where they peppered us with questions (this was our first meeting) while I cooked for our supper. On the menu this evening, was a Spanish omelette, accompanied by coleslaw, buttered toast and Coke.

This recipe serves 6 as a light meal. The dish however is substantial, easy to cook, easy to eat and tastes quite good. It tastes good when cold/room temperate too, and is a good idea for a picnic or to carry on a train journey as the first meal unwrapped. Leftovers can be made into sandwiches, stuffed into pies or other pastry or rolled into wraps among other ideas.

You’ll need:

  • 2 Potatoes, large, diced
  • 2 Onions, large, diced
  • 1/2 Cup Chicken, boneless, chopped
  • 10 Pods Garlic, chopped
  • Handful Coriander, fresh, chopped
  • 2 – 3 Green chillies, finely chopped (optional)
  • 10 Eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp Peppercorns, pounded
  • For the tadka / tempering
    • 10 leaves, Kadi patta
    • 1 tsp Black mustard seeds
    • 1 tsp Ginger, fresh, finely chopped
  • Cheese, grated (optional)
  • Oil for cooking
  • Salt to taste
  • Non-stick frying pan large enough to hold the lot

To make it:

  1. Immerse the potatoes for about 8 minutes in boiling water, then drain and let dry.
  2. Heat oil in a pan, add the potatoes, stir from time to time, until cooked through.
  3. Add onions, garlic, chicken, black pepper and if using, green chillies too. Saute for a few minutes until the chicken is cooked. Add the chopped coriander. Mix well.
  4. Add the eggs, mix well and let the lot sit there, on a very low flame, covered, until the top is firm-ish.
  5. Flip the entire omelette on to a plate and put it back into the pan, so what was on top, is now at the bottom. Do this a couple of times till the omelette is cooked from within.
  6. If using cheese, place the cheese on top of the omelette and cover it so it cooks.
  7. Flip the omelette onto a platter for serving.
  8. Heat some oil, splutter the mustard seeds, then add the kadi patta and ginger, fry for a bit and pour it on top of your omelette.
  9. Serve hot, with toast and tomato ketchup.

Notes:

  • For step #4, if necessary, keep it the oven with the top element turned on. If you don’t have an oven, heat a roti-tawa really well, and place the tawa atop the pan, not touching the eggs, so its heat will cook the eggs from the top. The same methods can be used to melt the cheese in step #6.
  • If you want a classic omelette, omit the cheese, chillies, chicken and final tadka. Replace the coriander with flat leaf parsley.
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Recipes

Shahjahani Anda Lajawaab

As emperors go, most were a bored, pampered lot. Having people all around who did little more than say ‘yes’, a kingdom to run, plenty of money and war, and decently large houses, they really didn’t have much me-time. When they did have aforesaid time, they spent it doing things they’d already done before.

One one such day, bored out of his wits, saddened by all the wars and definitely hungry, but not for the tried and the tasted, the emperor threw a tantrum, yelled for his head cook and asked him to make a dish for breakfast that would give him the strength of 10 men.

The royal cook decided to use as much butter as he would for a group of 10 and in consultation with his trusted team, knowing the emperor liked eggs, made a dish that used eggs from all four corners of the kingdom – hen, duck, pigeon, quail, partridge, parrots and whatever else his kitchen assistants could lay their hands on. The butter used also came from different animals from all across the land – cows, buffaloes, goats, elephants and all kinds of other mammals.

It took a team of runners to collect the milk and eggs after travelling the vast distances required. Wild hens were the toughest. They fought and pecked and flew up into the air to descend with their talons outstretched, eyes wild and full of fury. The only way the deed could be accomplished was to send married men with dominant wives. The milk and butter were easier, as the animals could be found easily and transported to the palace.

Tragically, the omelette had a bit of eggshell left and the poor cook lost his head over the unwelcome crunch that traumatised the evening of the poor king. The recipe was never cooked again, nor were omelettes made in the royal kitchens for the next 30 years until the king died (of chronic cardiovascular heart disease) and his son took over, who really liked eggs and hadn’t eaten many for 30 years.

The recipe below has been adapted from the fictitious original and uses Amul butter and normal hen’s eggs. The video is at the end of this page.

This recipe is about 6,500 calories and I did it just to use the amount of butter you can see in the recipe below. If you’re doing it yourself, please know that it certainly is delicious, and can be made using sensible amounts of fat and eggs.

Ingredients:

  • 18 eggs
  • 700 gm Butter, in 100 gm portions
  • 700 gm Tomatoes, chopped
  • 700 gm Onions, sliced
  • 500 gm Chickpeas, soaked boiled and drained
  • 50 gm Garlic, minced
  • 25 gm Green chilies, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Jeera, powder
  • 1 tbsp Deghi mirch
  • 2 tsp Chili powder
  • 2 tbsp Garam masala
  • Salt to taste (remember your butter probably has salt already)
  • 50 gm Coriander, fresh, chopped

Preparation & Equipment:

  • Beat 9 eggs
  • Boil 9 eggs, peel, reserve yolk, slice 7, finely chop 2
  • Frying pan large enough for a large 9 egg omelette
  • Pan large enough to hold the onions, tomatoes and chickpeas together
  • Plate large enough to serve the omelette and chickpea mixture together

Method:

  • Melt and heat 400 gm of butter
  • Add onions, saute till beginning to brown at the edges
  • Add tomatoes, saute till beginning to leave the edges / ooze oil
  • Add jeera powder, chili powders and garam masala. Stir well.
  • Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Blend the mixture by either taking it off the fire, cooling it and then roughly blending in a blender, or if you have an immersion blender, use it to roughly blend the mixture in the pan. Set aside. Keep warm.
  • Melt 100 gm butter in a pan and when hot enough, pour in the eggs for your omelette. Spread and tilt as required.
  • When cooked, add the sliced/chopped boiled egg whites to its surface in rows, then roll the omelette inwards, incorporating all the boiled egg whites. Place on a plate.
  • Melt 200 gm butter and add garlic and green chilies, saute for a bit, then add the chopped boiled egg whites, saute for a bit, then add the reserved boiled egg yolks, mash well and incorporate well into the mixture.

Plating:

  • Put the omelette in the middle of a plate on top of the chickpea mixture or add the chickpea mixture on the side.
  • Add the yolk-garlic mixture on top of the omelette.
  • Add the coriander on top of the yolk-garlic mixture.
  • Serve hot, cold or frozen – it’ll still be as unhealthy though it does taste best when hot.
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Recipes

Thai Clam-Potato Curry

We order all our seafood using this app called FreshtoHome. An order placed in the evening results in delivery between 9am and 11am, and I’m speaking of Greater NOIDA. Another reason I like using this app, is the variety of fish delivered is restricted to what they have in stock, and not what the local residents prefer buying.

This means, we have access to lesser available varieties of seafood, such as clams, mussels, shark and all manner of other species, in addition to their being fresh and free of preservative chemicals.

We picked up a batch of tiny clams this time. Remember to clean your clams thoroughly, including picking out bits of seashells as well as soaking them for a while in water so the sand that’s inside them can sink to the bottom. Even better was a suggestion from a friend, Apolina, a marvellous cook. She suggested they be placed in a sieve that’s partially immersed in water, so the clams stay on the sieve while the sand filters down.

How do they taste? If you’re new to seafood, clams are a great place to start, as they don’t have that strong fishy smell that quite a few sea creatures tend to bring along with them. Some of us, like me, think it’s an aroma, while others think it’s a stink. Your call. Clams have a bit of a bounce and in my opinion, must retain that bounce. They mustn’t be mushy or extra soft and all of that – do that to your red meat – cook the living daylights out of it, as contradictory as that sounds. Seafood? We have to be a little more delicate. So there’s a bit of a bite in clam meat, a slight bounce and a distinct aroma and flavour that you’ll come to associate with molluscs.

Cooking was quite simple. When using coconut milk, make two versions – one thin and the other, thick. The thicker one is used to finish the curry, while the thin one is for cooking. The thicker one is prone to curdling and must be treated delicately.

Ingredients:

  • Clams, 500g
  • Tom yum paste, 50g
  • Onions, 2 large, sliced
  • Potatoes, 2 medium, diced small-medium
  • Coconut milk, thin, 500ml
  • Coconut milk, thick, 200ml
  • Oil, 2 tablespoons

Method:

  1. Heat the oil
  2. Fry the onions for a bit
  3. Add the tom yum (or other) paste
  4. Fry a bit more
  5. Add the clams; fry
  6. Add thin coconut milk and potatoes; mix well
  7. Cover and simmer for 8 – 10 minutes while the potatoes (and clams) cook.
  8. Add thick coconut milk and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  9. Adjust seasoning
  10. Serve with hot rice.

Notes:

  1. Remember to clean them well.
  2. Did I mention cleaning them properly is important?
  3. Don’t forget to clean them thoroughly.
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Recipes

Spicy Tuna Salad

There’s this very cliched and common blend of spices that results in a fairly typical south Indian flavour profile, and it’s one I particularly enjoy. Last night whilst putting together a salad, I used this to top the lot and it tasted wonderful. If you’re using tuna, as I did, you might find it somewhat dry. If so, a dab of mayonnaise (the white gloop, not the real stuff) alleviates the dryness and even adds to the overall experience.

Ingredients:

  • 500 gm Tuna fillet, diced, washed and drained
  • 1 tbsp Yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 handful Kadi patta / curry leaves
  • 2 tsp Chana dal / split and polished baby chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp Ginger, fresh, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Garlic, fresh, finely chopped
  • 1 large Onion, coarsely sliced
  • 1 tsp Chili flakes
  • 3 – 4 Red chilies, dried
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil as required

Method:

  1. Heat the oil
  2. Splutter the mustard seeds
  3. Add the red chilies, chili flakes, onions, garlic, ginger, kadi patta and chana dal
  4. Saute till the dal is well fried. The onions should be browning around the edges by now.
  5. Add the tuna.
  6. Cook and toss repeatedly for about 5 – 7 minutes.
  7. Serve hot.

Notes

  • Please use black mustard if you prefer and reduce the quantity if you wish. I like my mustard.
  • Sometimes, tuna fillets have quite a large bit of dark meat, which I don’t particularly like the taste of. I repeatedly soaked and drained the diced tuna until the colour was lighter and then drained it one final time for cooking.
  • This dish
    • can be eaten as a salad
    • will go well with boiled potatoes
    • works nicely in a sandwich or a wrap.
    • makes a nice filling for a pie, with potatoes
    • tastes good stuffed into a paratha, mashed with some potatoes and seasoning
    • can be bulked up by tossing with some cooked pasta
Categories
Recipes

Chickpea Chutney Sandwich

So I thought if I’m cooking every day for Cherie’s lunch, why not begin posting? It’ll be a nice way to record the recipes plus a nice innovation comes up every so often, which is nice to share. Here’s today’s lunch for Cherie, a chickpea and chutney sandwich.

You’ll need

  • Chickpea Spread
    • Boiled and mashed chickpeas, about 3 tablespoons
    • Finely chopped spring onions, about 1/2 a tablespoon
    • Extra virgin olive oil, half a teaspoon [optional]
    • Salt to taste
  • Chutney – your own favourite recipe
  • Tomatoes, finely sliced
  • Onions, finely sliced
  • Mayonnaise or butter

Mix the ingredients for the chickpea spread well. The oil is optional, though I like it for the flavours and smoothness it lends to the spread. The spring onions in the spread are for a bit of texture. This spread keeps the sandwich smooth, creamy and adds a layer of the somewhat known, given we’re using it in an application we don’t usually do. If you’ve stored the spread for a while in the fridge, it may become dehydrated. If so, just add a little extra water and mix well.

When spreading the spread and the chutney over the surface of a slice of bread, I suggest first spreading a thin layer of mayonnaise or butter first. This will prevent the moisture in the spread and the chutney from leaking to the bottom of the sandwich making it look ugly as well as making that part of the sandwich, delicate and prone to breakage. You don’t want that, do you?

  1. Spread two slices of bread with a thin layer of butter or mayonnaise
  2. Spread one slice with the chickpea spread and another with the green chutney
  3. Layer some onions and tomatoes over the chickpeas
  4. Cover with the other slice spread with chutney.
  5. Grill and serve hot

That’s it. You could even, and you didn’t hear this from me, cut these into four, coat them in besan batter and deep fry for one very different bread pakoda, huh? ;)