Saturday, April 12, 2008

0 Recipe #36: North Indian-Style Omelette -- Eggs For The Adventurous!

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Don't know about you, but every once in a while, I get tired of eating the same kind of omelettes with the same old ingredients. Most omelette recipes you'll see in typical American cookbooks or online recipe archives will have ingredients like tomatoes, cheese, & vegetables (i.e., usually onions, spinach, mushrooms, peppers, and the like). The origins of these recipes are typically American (particularly Continental and Southwestern American), Spanish, English, and French. There's nothing wrong with that, but sometimes it just gets a little.... predictable. So every once and a while, I like to shake it up and toss in something unusual. ;-)

I realize that not all of you will fancy the idea of the below recipe, as it's undoubtedly different from what many of you might be accustomed to eating, but I ask that you keep an open mind and give the concept a chance before you dismiss it. You never know, you might discover, that by trying this recipe, that you've found a new favorite dish to make.

It's been taste-tested in my household (I made it last night for dinner), and it came back with a green light. And those of you who regularly follow this blog, already know that my household has some fairly discerning "customers" to please. ;-)

So, if you are an omelette lover, enjoy Indian dishes & spices, have an adventurous palate & are up for something a little bit out of the ordinary, there's a very good chance you'll like this recipe. The great thing about this recipe is also super-fast & easy, & takes less than 5-10 minutes to make. And with that introduction, I give you the recipe for an "North Indian-Style Omelette"!

North Indian-Style Omelette

1 Tbsp. butter
3 eggs
1 dried red chili, crushed
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 Tbsp. raw almond slivers
1 tsp. garam masala (or if you don't have this, you can use red curry powder instead -- i.e., "McCormick's Gourmet Collection Blends" makes a decent version)
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
salt & pepper, to taste

1. Crack eggs into a bowl, & beat together.
2. Add all remaining ingredients -- save the butter -- to the bowl & mix together thoroughly.
3. Heat nonstick skillet (or omelette pan) to medium-high heat & add butter.
4. After butter melts, pour egg mixture into the pan. After omelet starts to solidify, fold over & cook until golden brown. Serve & enjoy!

Yield: Makes a single serving. (If needed, double, triple, or quadruple recipe, etc.)

Chef's Notes:
Tips for the health-conscious: You can also add a bit of Lite non-dairy creamer to add richness. It's a great way to add a fuller flavor without the fat calories. Also, if you'd like to reduce fat calories, you can make an egg-white omelette or leave out the butter. Of course, if you leave out the butter, you'll need to make the omelette in a non-stick pan; Calphalon makes great non-stick pans that aren't made with Teflon. As many of you already know, Teflon pans contain a chemical known as perfluorooctanoic acid (or PFOA), which is potentially unhealthy, especially since it's been known to peel off & bond to food. Now while the verdict's still out on PFOA's long-term effects, it's probably best not to chance it. Think about it. Would you want a substance like that in your stomach? I certainly wouldn't. In general, I try to steer away from ingesting chemical compounds whenever I can help it, whether they be found in food, the air, or household objects. ;-) )

On that note, I don't use non-stick aerosol sprays like PAM & the like, for the very same reason.

IMPORTANT: If you aren't used to cooking with hot chilis or high-heat spice blends, I'd particularly recommend using a mild garam masala the first time you make this dish, especially since this recipe also calls for a red chili, which already gives the dish plenty of heat. You can always add more spice to the dish after you are done cooking it, by sprinkling some red pepper flakes on top. Or, alternatively, if you want to use a hotter garam masala, there's always a next time around. ;-)

After all, you want to make sure that the dish is still edible! That reminds me of the first time I ever cooked with chilies: Several years ago, (it's probably been more than 10 years at this point!), I made an atomically hot daal dish that practically took my fiancé's head off. I'll give him credit: He's stuck by me & by my food, through thick & thin. Even after surviving some of my worst culinary catastrophes. ;-)

I'm telling you this story not to scare you (LOL!), but rather to humble myself before you & tell you that even the most experienced & creative chefs have a few dynamic disasters every now & then. I firmly believe that, you've got to live on the edge & push the boundaries every now & then, especially if you want to be exceptionally creative in the kitchen. Even if you've been cooking for 40 years, you still have to experiment if you want to discover new & exciting combinations. For as much as you do know, it's what you don't know or haven't yet discovered that'll keep the prospect of cooking fresh & exciting.

So, if you're gonna go for it in the kitchen, do it with a grand relish. Even if that means you'll clock up some potentially embarrassing, marvelously heinous creations every now & then. When you fail, fail fantastically & do it without remorse or excessive apology. It's simply a way to learn what works & what doesn't. It's also the pathway to achieving extraordinary things in the kitchen, & in life in general.

And in this life, it's rare to have grand successes without experiencing grand "failures" along the way. Otherwise, if everything was all safe & perfect all the time, how would you truly learn? What would be the point of living without the unexpected & a little adventure? So live a little.

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