[This article was originally published in Zomppa, the International food magazine with a social cause.]
There are a number of Indian recipes which never find their way to the restaurant menu. Omlette curry is one of them. This is a very easy dish and it can be cooked in a jiffy. When the omlette boils in the gravy, it swells up a little, absorbs the flavours of the gravy and becomes soft and juicy. This curry is made in different ways in different parts of India. I am sharing this recipe from West Bengal (Kolkata), where it is called dimer jhol, and is cooked in a simple way. The gravy is always less in this dish, for a concentrated and culminated taste arising from carefully chosen spices mixed with omlette’s own flavour and aroma.
There is one interesting thing about omlette curry. If you have to feed a large number of people and have just half the number of eggs you need to make boiled egg curry, this humble omlette curry would be the answer. For example, if you have just three eggs and you want to make egg curry for six people, mix some besan (gram flour) with the beaten eggs and then make the omlettes. In this way, the omlettes would be denser and bigger and one omlette would easily suffice two.
Bengali Omlette Curry
[Mustard oil is pungent and Bengalis love to cook with this oil. Once the oil is heated and begins to smoke, the raw smell goes away, leaving an appetizing aroma behind. However, you can substitute with canola or sunflower oil if mustard oil is not available.]
- Eggs: 6
- Onion paste: 2 tbsp
- Green chilli paste: 1 tsp (divided)
- Milk: 2 tbsp
- Salt: ½ tsp for the omlette and 1 tsp for the gravy
- Finely chopped onion: ½ cup
- Finely chopped garlic: 1 tbsp
- Ginger paste: 1 tsp
- Bay leaf: 1
- Cinnammon sticks (one-inch each): 2
- Cloves: 6
- Green cardamoms: 4
- Peppercorns: 10–12
- Dried red chillies: 2
- Coriander powder: 1.5 tsp
- Cumin powder: 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder: ½ tsp
- Yogurt: 2 tbsp
- Spring onion greens’ paste: 1.5 tbsp
- Mustard oil (or white oil)
Break the eggs together in a bowl. Add ½ tsp salt and beat well. Add the milk, onion paste and half the green chilli paste and beat once more. Divide into six (or eight) equal parts and shallow-fry each part to make six (or eight) vertically folded omlettes. Keep aside.
Heat oil to the smoking point. Add the bay leaf and dried red chillies. When the chillies darken a bit, add the cinnamon sticks, cloves, green cardamoms and peppercorns. When these start sputtering, add the finely chopped garlic and sauté for 1 min. Add the chopped onions and sauté till the onions are browned and soft.
Add the ginger and sauté for 3 min. Now make a paste by mixing the salt, turmeric, cumin and coriander powders with a little water (roughly 3 tbsp). Add this paste to the pan and keep the flame at medium. Sauté constantly, till the mixture starts leaving oil. Sprinkle some more water and sauté till oil starts leaving from the mixture one more time.
Mix the yogurt, spring onion greens’ paste and the rest of the green chilli paste together in a bowl with around 2 tbsp water. Add this yogurt mixture to the pan now. Sauté for 5 min and then add 3 cups of warm water.
When the gravy starts boiling, slowly insert the omlettes, one at a time.
Cover and simmer for 5 min. Serve with rice or chapattis.