Madras Omelette

Every country has their own version of the omelette – the Italians have their frittata, the Spanish omelette is very popular, etc. India has it’s own version too and it differs slightly from region to region. Everybody has their own spin on it.

The recipe featured here is the one my family has been making for years. It’s extremely flavourful with the addition of the herbs and onions. I also like to add curry leaves in a lot of my cooking as it’s very good for health.

Some people add the onions and chillies raw, but I find that sauteing it in a little vegetable oil takes it to the next level. It’s tastier this way.

It’s so easy to make and makes for a really satisfying breakfast.

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PREP: 10 minutes COOK TIME: 10 minutes Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 green chillies, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped finely
  • Handful of curry leaves, chopped finely
  • Salt to taste
  • Vegetable oil

Instructions

Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a small pan and add the onions, chillies and ginger. Saute for a few minutes until the onions are just cooked. Add the herbs and salt and mix well. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for 10-15 minutes.

Add the onion mixture to the beaten eggs. Heat a frying pan, add about two ladles of the egg mixture and spread it around the pan. Add a little oil around the edges. When the omelette is half cooked, fold about a third of the omelette into the centre. Do the same with the remaining one third. Flip the omelette over and cook until both sides are golden and the inside is cooked through. Serve hot with toast.

Mixed Lentil Pancakes

This is a complete balanced nutritious meal by itself. It’s also vegan, like many vegetarian dishes in India and really delicious.

Lentils contain lysine while rice contains sulphur based amino acids missing in lentils. Therefore, a combination of rice and lentils makes it a complete protein, supplying the body with the essential amino acids that it requires. In fact, rice and dal is a great food for weight loss.

The Indian word for this preparation is called ‘Adai’. The mixture has to be very thick and it should not be ground fine – rather like semolina. The mixture should not easily fall off the spoon. And the pancakes are quite thick. It will take some time to cook through and hence the heat should be low.

I have included the Indian names of the lentils also, in case you want to purchase them from an Indian grocery store.

The best accompaniment for this is the coconut chutney that I had shared earlier with the Split Mung Pancakes. It’s best to have this for breakfast (if you have the time to soak the lentils) or for lunch. I like them golden brown at the edges and on the inside. The addition of raw rice makes them crunchy.

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PREP: 11/2 hours+10 minutes COOK TIME: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw rice
  • 1 cup boiled rice
  • ½ cup split pigeon peas (Toor dal)
  • ½ cup yellow split peas (Channa dal)
  • ½ cup split black gram dal (Urad dal)
  • ¼ cup split mung dal (Mung dal)
  • 10 dry red chillis
  • 1 tsp asafoetida powder
  • 3 tbsp curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • Vegetable oil

Instructions

Wash the rice and lentils. Soak the raw rice, boiled rice, pigeon peas, chickpeas and black gram dal with just enough water to cover them for 11/2 hours.

Soak the split mung dal separately in a little water.

Grind the rice and dal mixture with the red chillies, asafoetida, curry leaves and cumin to a coarse paste. Do not add too much water. Add the soaked mung and salt. Mix well.

Heat a frying pan and spoon about a cup of the batter. Spread it into a thick pancake – the batter will be difficult to spread. It cannot be spread thin. Use a little vegetable oil to pour around the edges and cover the pancake. When the edges are golden brown, flip the pancake and cook on the other side until it turns golden brown. Serve hot with coconut chutney. This recipe makes about 8–10 pancakes.

Spicy Cheese Toast

The cheese toast featured here is quite unconventional from the one you may be used to. It’s a family favourite and can be put together in a jiffy.

It’s a delicious way to start the day or even for a light lunch paired together with a green salad. I used cheddar cheese because of the strong flavour but you can use any cheese you want. You could also mix two different varieties of cheese.

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I also used extra chilli powder but it depends on each individual’s palate. The same thing can be made with chopped green chillies and herbs instead of the red chilli powder.

This recipe makes around 12 slices of cheese toast.

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PREP: 10 minutes COOK TIME: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp pepper powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt to taste
  • Vegetable oil/Butter
  • Wholemeal bread slices
  • Extra cheese (optional)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 175 C.

Beat the eggs well with enough salt and pepper. Sift the flour with the baking powder. Add it to the eggs along with the chilli powder and turmeric powder. Mix well and fold in the grated cheese.

Toast one side of the bread lightly with a little oil or butter. Spoon the cheese mixture on the other side of the bread, spreading it carefully to the edges. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until it puffs up and the edges are lightly toasted. If you wish, you can sprinkle extra cheese on top and grill for a few minutes until the cheese melts. Serve immediately.

Split Mung Pancakes

A very satisfying comfort dish – this is a traditional recipe from the state of Andrapradesh in India. The Indian name for it is ‘pesarettu’.  It is one of the many varieties of ‘dosa’ or pancakes. Each region in India has their own version of the dosa. Since it’s made from split mung beans, it is very high in protein and it’s also completely vegan.

It’s the perfect way to start the day and keeps you going till lunchtime. You can soak the lentils overnight and grind it in the morning. I usually make it for lunch.

Traditionally, dosas are quite large but this version fits in nicely with a household pan. Stir the batter well before making each pancake. It should be served immediately.

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PREP: 4 hours COOK TIME: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 11/2 cups split green mung
  • 2 green chillies
  • ½ cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp ginger, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • Curry leaves, chopped finely
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste

Coconut Chutney

  • 2 cups coconut, grated
  • 2-3 green chillies
  • 1 tsp ginger, chopped
  • 1/2 cup roasted/puffed chana dal
  • Few curry leaves
  • Salt to taste

Wash the mung dal and add water to just cover it. Soak for about 4 hours.

Grind to a coarse consistency with the green chillies, coriander, cumin and ginger in a blender or food processor. Do not add too much water while grinding. The batter should fall easily from the spoon but it should remain thick. You can add a little water if it’s too thick.

Heat about 2 tbsp of oil and saute the onions until they are half cooked. Add the curry leaves and remove from heat. Add this to the ground batter.

Heat a large frying pan, spoon ladles of the batter in the centre and using a flat based ladle, spread the batter across the pan starting from the centre using a clockwise movement. Spread it as thinly as possible and pour a little oil around the edges of the pancake and in the centre as well. Cook until the edges are crisp and golden brown. Flip the pancake and cook for a few minutes on the other side. Turn it back on the original side and fold over into a semi-circle or roll it starting from one edge (as pictured).

For the coconut chutney, grind all the ingredients together with just enough water in a blender to a fine paste. Add more water if required. Heat the oil in a small pan and add the mustard seeds when it becomes hot. When they stop popping, add the split lentils. When they turn golden brown, add the curry leaves and remove immediately from the heat. Garnish the chutney with this dressing.

Serve the pancakes with the coconut chutney. This quantity makes about 10-12 pancakes.

Buttered Eggs

Nothing could be simpler than this breakfast or brunch dish. Green chillies, ginger, onions and herbs combine with eggs to give this recipe quite a strong flavour kick. Hot toast is all that is needed to make this really special.

It may seem like scrambled eggs, but it tastes quite different. Butter elevates this simple recipe to a new level. The herbs and chillies provide a vibrant colour and it’s so easy to make.

The perfect way to start the day with a nutritious and protein packed meal. It will boost your energy levels through the morning, ready to face the day. It’s delicious served with wholemeal toast or even bagels.

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PREP: 10 minutes COOK TIME: 15 minutes SERVES: 4

Ingredients

  • 10 eggs
  • 3 large onions, chopped
  • 4 green chillies
  • 2 tbsp ginger, chopped finely
  • 4 tbsp curry leaves, chopped
  • 4 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

Heat a large pan of water to a boil.

Whisk the eggs with enough salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a pan and add the onions, green chillies and ginger. When the onions are cooked through, add the curry leaves and coriander. Mix well and take the pan off the heat. Cool for about 10 minutes and add it to the eggs.

Reduce the heat and place the bowl of eggs in the boiling water (double boiler method of cooking). Add the butter. As the eggs begin to set, stir gently until they form large soft curds. Keep lifting and folding the eggs until they start to thicken. Cook the eggs until they are soft and creamy. Pile on hot toast and serve immediately.

Feathery Buttermilk Pancakes with Plum Compote

The aroma of pancakes frying for breakfast is so satisfying. In fact, I make pancakes at anytime of the day. This is a foolproof recipe that ensures fluffy pancakes every time.

A ready mix may seem a good option, but just a few simple ingredients are all you need to put together to make these soft and delectable pancakes. They are so easy – just mix the dry and wet ingredients together. Eggs are optional. I haven’t used any eggs in this recipe though.

Cultured foods are very good for the functioning of our bodies. Buttermilk is what makes these pancakes sensational. I usually make the buttermilk by diluting yoghurt with water and beating the mixture in the blender.

If the batter seems a little lumpy, don’t worry about it. It will be fine once you make the pancakes.

The plum compote goes beautifully – a little sweet but not overly so. The tartness of the plums makes for a satisfying contrast. You could of course use any fruit of your choice – berries, apples, peaches or whatever fruit is in season. A refreshing change from maple syrup!

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PREP: 30 minutes COOK TIME: 20 minutes Serves:4

Ingredients

  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Melted butter
  • Water if needed

For the compote

  • 400 gms fresh plums
  • 150 gms sugar
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cups water

Instructions

Sift the flour with the baking soda, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and mix well. Make a well in the centre and add the buttermilk and eggs (if using). Combine together quickly to make a thick batter. It should be of pouring consistency but thick enough to adhere to the ladle. Set aside for 20 minutes.

Heat a large frying pan or griddle over moderate heat, brush with butter and pour or scoop about 1/2 cup of batter onto the pan. Brown on both sides, using more butter if necessary and serve hot with the plum compote.

For the plum compote, halve the plums and deseed them. Cut each piece into two.

Add the sugar and spices to the water and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the plums and cook until it is done, 20 to 30 minutes.