Friday, October 21, 2011

Indian Omelet

One of the best feedback I have ever received about myself was from a colleague who I have since lost touch with and who I have never been able to thank.

“If you don’t mind, I want to tell you something,” he told me, just as he was on his way out of the office on his last day at work.

“Sure,” I told him.  He worked in another department and I hadn’t interacted too much with him, so I really didn’t know what to expect. 

“You cannot take compliments,” he told me flatly. “I have been observing this for almost a year now. Every single time, someone compliments you, you make excuses for yourself. You may not realise it, but it is rather putting off, you know. Anyway, you take care,” he said, hurrying out of the door before I could even recover from what he had said and thank him.

Later that evening, I was at a small get together at a friend’s house. Lots of booze, different varieties of chips and enough packets of cigarettes – we were all set to have a great evening. The music blared and the conversation flowed.

However, my mind was far away, brooding over what the colleague had said.  Was that really true? Did I really have this habit of brushing off compliments? How long had been doing this, putting off friends and well wishers in the process, without even being aware of it? And how was I going to learn to accept compliments 'gracefully'?

Late into the night - it was almost dawn, actually -  we all wanted something more substantial than chips to eat. A quick search of the fridge revealed lots of eggs, some chillies and some wilted coriander leaves and I offered to make some omelets for everyone.

His mouth stuffed with a huge bite of omelet and bread, a friend declared that this was the best omelet he had ever eaten. I started to say that it was not him, but the alcohol talking (which, in all probability, was the case). I almost said that there was no big deal in making omelets, that anyone could make great omelets (which is very much the case). But I stopped myself and just mumbled a “thank you."

It wasn't difficult after all. I was learning, trying and starting to accept compliments gracefully.

Indian Omelet

This Indian version of the omelet almost makes eggs sexy! A generous dose of chillies, ginger and coriander leaves makes the eggs aromatic, and the onion adds a bit of sweetness and crunch.


Eggs: 2
Onions: 1/2 small, or about 3 tbsps chopped
Chillies: 3-4, or as per your personal spice preference
Coriander leaves: 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Ginger: 1/3 tsp, chopped
Turmeric: 1/4 tsp
Milk: 1 tbsp
Salt, to taste
Butter or oil: 1 tbsp (I prefer butter as it browns the underside of the egg easily and quickly)


Whisk together the eggs and milk till the mixture almost doubles in volume.

(If you have the time, separate the whites, whisk them till frothy and doubled in volume. Mix together the yolks and milk and whisk together till smooth and then add it to the whites, whisk again for 2-3 mins. I almost never do this but it does make a very fluffy omelet).

Throw in the chopped onions, chillies, coriander leaves, ginger together into a bowl. Add the salt and turmeric powder and mix together with your fingers till the onions and the herbs start to release their juices. Add it to the beaten eggs.

In a non-stick frying pan, add the butter and once melted, spread it evenly all over the pan. Then pour the egg mixture into the pan. In about a minute, the eggs will start setting around the edges of the pan. Once that happens, turn down the heat to the lowest setting and cover the pan with a lid and cook the eggs for another 2-3 minutes or until they are completely set on the top.

(If you don't like to brown your eggs on the underside, cover the pan for about 2 minutes. Then flip the omelet over and cook uncovered for 1 minute).

When you make an Indian omelet, it is absolutely imperative to serve it with some tomato ketchup on the side. Everything else - grilled tomatoes, hash browns, even bread - is optional!

A few months ago, a Twitter conversation between @indianfoodrocks, @desisoccermom and @Soma_R about Indian Omelets led to posts on their respective blogs on how they make Indian Omelets. I am horribly late in posting mine, but I finally managed it. Here are the links to the other Indian Omelet posts:

Soma's Omelet

Omelet from Shulie’s Kitchen

Jaya’s Omelet

Sandeepa’s Omelet

Friday, October 7, 2011

Semiya Payasam

Growing up, I used to call semiya (or vermicelli, as it is known in English) 'worms'. Take a look at the picture -  the semiya strands do look like  (dried) worms, don't they?

So, much to my mom's dismay, I would never touch anything made of semiya. It was only when I was well into my teens and was forced to have it, out of courtesy, at a friend's place that I grew out of my rather brattish attitude to semiya.

Today, of all the payasams that I make - coconut milk payasam, rice payasam - semiya payasam reigns as  my favourite. A lot of it is, I think, to do with how easy and quick this payasam is to prepare. Toss the semiya in some ghee, simmer it milk, sweeten it, simmer some more and it is ready - in almost under 30 minutes.

It is no wonder then that semiya paysam features so often on my menu, especially on festive days.

Semiya Payasam


Semiya/Vermicelli: 3/4 cup
Low Fat Milk: 2 cups
Low Fat Evaporated Milk: 1 tin/ 380 ml
Sugar: 1/2 cup (this amount works for us, adjust as per your taste buds)
Cardamom: 10 pods, crushed into a coarse powder
Assorted nuts (I use 1 tbsp each of almonds, cashewnuts and pistachios)
Ghee: 2 tbsps


Heat ghee in a wok and roast the vermicelli till it starts to change colour from translucent to white and brown. Keep tossing the vermicelli continuously around the wok, else it will burn.

Transfer the vermicelli into a colander and rinse it in warm water. This step is optional, but doing this will wash the ghee away and therefore, you won't have any ghee floating on top of the payasam. 

In a deep, thick bottomed pan, mix together low fat milk and the evaporated milk and bring to a boil. Add the vermicelli to the milk. The uncooked vermicelli will sink to the bottom of the pan and so, give it a good stir occasionally till the vermicelli softens and cooks. Once cooked, the vermicelli will plump up.

After the vermicelli cooks, add sugar, chopped nuts and the cardamom powder and let the payasam simmer on low heat for about 15-20 minutes.

Garnish with chopped pistachios and serve hot. I personally prefer to let the payasam rest for at least a couple of hours in order to let the flavours mingle.

Of Chalks and Chopsticks: September was being hosted here; unfortunately, I haven't had any time to work on my story. So, for very selfish reasons, I am going to extend the deadline to October 31st. If you, like me, haven't worked on yours yet, do it now!

It is not just about the ingredients or the recipe, good food happens when it is served with love!!

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