Make Mine An Indian Omelette
A breakfast favourite all over the world, the humble omelette is a delicious and nutritious recipe that can be dressed up with fancy flavours or dressed down to a plain and simple serving – a versatile dish to suit every taste.
Typically the method involves whisking eggs with a little milk or cream and a sprinkling of seasoning, before pouring the mixture into a pan, with a heated dab of butter or splash of oil. The range of ingredients that can be added are vast and varied. Favourite fillings include cheese, onion, ham, bacon and mushrooms, as well as a variety of chopped vegetables which are either cooked to set in the omelette, pancake-style, or folded into the mixture to produce a parcel.
How the omelette came to India
Omelettes have been around for hundreds of years, although the style of omelette we think of in the present day was first created for the bourgeoise, French middle classes, in the 18th century. This style of cooking eggs eventually made its way around the world to India and was most probably introduced during colonial times. This was an interesting period for the development of fusion cuisine as the cultures of the East and West came together, mixing their traditional recipes, flavours and cooking techniques.
Amongst the British colonial population, initially it was the breakfast and lunch meals that showcased the first examples of fusion cuisine – dinner tended to be the domain of wholesome, English food. The omelette was an excellent example of a traditional European dish, given a simple, Indian makeover and is now widely popular across the country.
India's favourite recipes
An Indian omelette is traditionally thinner and lightly fried to a golden brown on one side. Chillies and spices such as turmeric, cumin and coriander are an Eastern addition, to be combined with the more typical tomato, cheese and onion flavourings. But the iconic, stand-out favourite of Indian omelettes is the Masala Omelette.
The tempting aroma of sizzling Masala Omelettes infuses the air at streetsides throughout Mumbai, not only during the daylight hours but late at night – ideal for a midnight snack. They are often served with small rolls of bread known as pav, an Indian fast food favourite. The cooks that specialise in bringing this tasty treat to the streets whip up eggs for a fluffy texture, before throwing in generous sprinkles of the ground spices that make up masala. Chopped onions, chillies, and ginger are commonly added as well as a handful of fresh, cilantro leaves to give the omelette a citrusy zing.
In the southern Indian states, another interesting omelette popular amongst street vendors is Bread Omelette. This recipe involves the addition of slices of bread whilst half the egg mixture is cooking in the pan, before the rest is poured over the top, fully coating the bread. Once the omelette has been cooked on both sides, it is served up with a selection of chutneys... but it also tastes fantastic with tomato ketchup!
Omelettes are just one of the many simple yet delicious street food favourites of India. Try out some of the more inventive examples of these snack food delicacies and enjoy all the authentic flavours of this exotic country.