Thought I could add some spice to your life...

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Let us now talk about some easy, easy snacks. These are largely my own simplified versions of what is otherwise pretty common roadside stuff.

Evanstonian Omlette

Required ingredients:
1. Mixed vegetables, cut into small pieces : frozen, packed stuff is fine – try to use the variety with lots of peas, carrots and cut green beans
2. Chicken or meat franks (for Hot Dogs)
3. Two eggs
4. Shredded cheese (optional)
5. Cilantro (Coriander leaves – optional)
6. Other, standard stuff
7. Usual fare : Oil, salt etc

Break the two eggs in a bowl. Add some salt and half a cup of milk. Mix thoroughly. Chop the cilanthro leaves and add to the mix. Cut one or two franks into small, thin disc-like pieces. Now heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and add the meat pieces. Fry them on medium high heat. After about 3 minutes, add the veggies and keep frying. Add half a teaspoon of salt while frying. After about 7-8 minutes, add a generous helping of cheese : stir thoroughly. Then, within a minute, add the egg mix. Spread it out in the frying pan like you do with an ordinary omlette. After 3-4 minutes, reduce the heat. Do not disturb the pan. Soon, the omlette will be a one-inch thick pizza-like thing with a soft top and semisolid crust at the bottom. Now you are done. Do not fold it : it is too thick to fold. Take care to ensure the bottom is not burnt.

Next, comes the chef’s trick. Slowly tilt the pan and let the omlette slide to a plate. It must not break. Sprinkle some powdered pepper on it. Add some ketchup on top : if you are skilful enough you can write your guest’s name on the omlette with the ketchup. She will remember, for sure.

Grad student Burrito

Once we had a whole plate of mutton Biriyani left over from a party. It was then that I conceived this Indo-Mexican, very grad-student Burrito. All I needed apart from it was some tortillas and mayonnaise. I was pretty surprised with my innovation. So here goes.

Cut up an onion and a green pepper into thin, long pieces and fry them in oil. Keep it separately. Now, take a tortilla and spread it out. Now you need to make the stuffing. First, lay on it some rice from the Biriyani in a stratight line along the middle (much like they make the filling for egg rolls in Kolkata). Then, cut up the mutton or chicken chunks into long pieces and put them on the rice. If you have some cooked rajma, you can add it too. Next, add some mixed veggies. If you use frozen vegetables, thaw them well before making the stuffing. Add the onion-capsicum fry to it. Finally, add a strand each of mayonnaise and ketchup in the form of a straight line on the stuffing. Now roll the tortilla into a cylindrical shape. Place the tortilla on a frying pan on medium high heat. Hold it with a spatula so that the rolling does not come off. But the heat will soon ensure that the tortiall retains its rolled shape. Turn it over very, very carefully and keep heating. Within 3-4 minutes, you are ready with a burrito. My suggestion would be to treat your Mexican friend with it: he will never have had a burrito that tastes like THIS.

Egg Roll

This is so simple that I wonder whether it is worth writing the recipe here. But the fact that so few people actually make it makes me feel that writing out may at least act as a reminder that one does not have to physically visit Kolkata to have an egg roll. You know the ingredients: half of an onion, a green chili, an egg, a tortilla, some lime juice and some ketchup. Cut the onion into long, thin pieces. Pare the chili too into very small pieces, and keep them. Break the egg and stir it with half a teaspoon of salt. Now heat some oil (be generous) in a frying pan and fry a tortilla, turning it over in the pan. Not too papery, not too soft. Keep it aside. Then, spread the egg mix out in the pan, and after 30 seconds, cover it with the tortilla. After a minute, take it off the pan and lay it out on a paper napkin with the tortilla facing down. Just like the burrito above, add the onion pieces in a line. Throw in the chili (only if you like). Add the ketchup in one strand along the onion. Sprinkle the lime juice all over. Then roll the paper with the tortilla-omlette inside. One suggestion : at every step, try mimicking the egg-roll wallah you ate it from the last time. With this, you create not only a very delicious dish, but a piece of Calcutta too.


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