To start off with, some of my recipes on how to cook winter vegetables with an Indian twist have been featured on the website Cooks United. If you haven't already, check out this interesting recipe sharing website. Not only does it have an impressive list of interesting recipes, but also a lively discussion forum where you can ask and answer questions about cooking and baking. Along with the forum and recipe collections, Cooks United also features a magazine section, with articles, features and tips on cooking for the season and techniques. You can sign up to interact with other like minded souls, or just browse through their collection of recipes, the dessert ones in particular are to die for. You can save, exchange and rate recipes as well. What more would a dedicated foodie want?
Its only been a week or so, but the post I wrote about kids and restaurants has had several comments and has incited a really lively debate. I seem to have struck a nerve, particularly with parents, about the way in which kids are treated in restaurants. I wanted to confess that that particular post has been sitting in my drafts folder for a long time. It took a tweet from a fellow mum on Twitter about her experience at Ikea, to get me to hit publish on that post. I am quite glad I did, in a way. Its been cathartic, but also at the same time, has brought about several reactions from people that I didn't expect. Thank you to all those who took the time to read and engage with the post. I have every intention of responding to all the comments, but that will probably be another blog post in itself.
And of course, I am hosting the Sweet Heat Chilli Challenge this month. The theme is Indian Food (of course!!) and the announcement is here. Please go ahead and link up your Indian recipes that use chilli (or are spicy) and lets all rock Indian!
I am also going to be teaching another Cook Indian class with Kathryn from Get Cooking, and I am really excited about this one, as its going to be an all day class to truly mimic the way we Indians cook our food. If you are local and want to sign up for a day filled with some amazing food and cooking experiences, details are here. I am also going to be hosting another live blogging session, especially after that overwhelming response to the butter chicken.
Phew, that's quite the start to 2012 isn't it? I wonder for how much longer I can keep up the frantic pace :-)
This spicy bun omelette is one of my very favourite... ahem... hangover meals! Some of the best memories that I have are of university in India. For the first time in my life, I was out of my house and into a hectic life filled with parties, political rallies, crazy discussions at 2 AM, tea, coffee... oh, and a little bit of studying too in between all those social engagements. Haha. I still have no idea how I managed to escape uni with a decent GPA the way I used to live there. We only had classes three days a week, and I made sure all of mine were in the afternoon, in order to facilitate my nocturnal lifestyle. Most nights found me hanging out at dhabas (street eateries) in the campus, debating everything from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to Barbara Cartland and Georgette Heyer (blush) Our little group of friends could talk for hours and hours, and we drank enough coffee and chai to keep all the tea and coffee estates in business. I was rarely in bed before 3 AM, and I still remember calling my poor mum at 5 AM, pretending I had just woken up, when in reality I hadn't even been to bed. Ah, the joys of student life!
Of course, all this carousing did mean that we needed to keep up our strength. And one of my favourite all-day-every-day snacks was this delicious and filling bun omelette. It is pretty much what it says on the tin. An spicy omelette on a bun. Fragrant, hot out of the tava (pan) and drool inducing, this bun omelette has offered me enough sustenance through my two years of university. When it comes to dhaba food, I found that a blind eye is always best. Ignore how they make the food, and just concentrate on the taste, that was my philosophy. What you don't know about how they make their food so delicious, is immune boosting at its best (which is why after all these years, I have the best immune system in the family)
I wanted to try and recapture my student memories by making this simple, spicy bun omelette eher, albeit in a much more hygienic environment. I started off by making my own buns (as you would, of course... well, technically, no you wouldn't, but its my blog post here :-)) I then tied to recreate that authentic dhaba taste. I must admit, it was very very close in taste to what you would get in dhaba. A spicy, hot omelette, sandwiched between two halved of a pillowy soft bun, which was just heated through enough to make it a teeny bit crisp. You can make this spicier by increasing the chilli powder, and adding an extra green chilli, if you wish. You can also add some ketchup as well, for a truly dhaba-esqe experience (yes, really!)
All this bun omelette needed was a steaming hot cup of chai to complement it and I was back arguing with my friends Manish, Preeti, Amrita and Shree back at uni (well, on Facebook anyway :-)) I couldn't quite get that charry flavour that we get with dhaba food, but I just put that down to having used clean pans :-)
For the buns:
1 package active dry yeast (1 tbsp)
¼ cup water
1 cup milk, scalded
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons shortening
1 teaspoon salt
3 ½ cups sifted all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Soften active dry yeast in warm water. Combine milk, sugar, shortening and salt. Cool.
Add 1 cup of the flour and beat well with a wooden spoon. Beat in softened yeast and egg.
Gradually add remaining flour to form soft dough. Knead the dough until soft and pliable, then roll into a ball and place in a large bowl.
Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled in size (1½ to 2 hours)
Turn out on lightly floured surface and shape into 6 large rolls (alternatively you can shape into 8 smaller rolls, to make Indian pav)
Place rolls next to each other in a baking tray, then cover and let rise for another ½ hour, until risen. (if you make 8 smaller rolls, they will become square when they rise and get squished against each other)
Bake in moderate oven 375 degrees F for 17 - 22 minutes, until the rolls are golden.
Note: If you have bread machine, just place all the ingredients into the bowl, then make a dough using the dough cycle. Take out the risen dough, shape rolls by hand, and let rise again. Bake as directed.
For the omelette:
½ medium onion, diced fine
1 green chilly, sliced finely
1 small tomato, diced fine
¼ tsp hot chilly powder (or to taste)
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp garam masala
Small handful fresh coriander, chopped finely
Salt and pepper to taste
A tbsp or so of oil
Break the eggs into a large bowl. Whisk until well mixed. Add the chilly powder, ground coriander and cumin, garam masala and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk well.
Add the diced onion, tomato, green chilly and chopped coriander. Mix well.
Heat the oil in a large pan, then pour in the egg-masala mixture. Cook until just set on the bottom. Preheat your grill, then place the pan under the grill for a few minutes, until the top is set. Slide the cooked omelette on to a plate.
In the same pan, place the sliced bun, slice side down and heat for a minute, until the bun is heated through.
Serve the omelette on the bun, with a hot cup of chai.
Note: An alternate way of making the omelette - Fry the onion in a litle oil, for about 2 - 3 minutes, until the rawness disappears. Add the diced tomato, green chilly, spices, salt and pepper. Fry for an additional 2 minutes. Add the fresh coriander and lightly beaten eggs. Stir together once, then cook the omelette until the bottom is just set and a very light brown. Flip the omelette over, and cook the other side for a few minutes. Serve on the fried bun, as above.