Thursday, August 26, 2010

Recipe: Tomato Omelette (Vegan) aka Besan Ka Chilla

As a child of 8 or so, I was suprised when the drive-in restaurant in our home town that was run and managed by Brahmins started offerring a dish called Tomato Omelette. While many Brahmins in Mangalore did eat fish and eggs, - it was unheard of, for an Udupi menu restaurant to actually serve eggs.

As a child of my generation you did not put such questions into words and since I'm not a great fan of fresh tomato chunks, I never tasted this dish until much later. It was then that I realised that what was called a Tomato Omelette in Mangalore, was a close relative of the besan ka chilla of North India.

While the chillas that I have had in North India, are much thinner (more water in the batter) and have a mix of onions, tomato, chilli, ginger and fresh corriander, the tomato omelette is a thicker batter with tomatoes and fresh corriander as the main ingredients.

What I make at home, is a combination of the 2. With the cuttings of North India and the thickness of South India almost like an Utthappam.

1 small tomato
1 small onion
1 green chilli
a pinch or two of shredded ginger
a few sprigs of fresh corriander (dhaniya)
salt to taste
pinch of haldi
pinch of corriander powder - optional
2 small katoris of besan
Water - as required

Chop the tomato, onion, chilli and corriander. (My chunks of tomato are larger, so I can pull them out - still don't like taste/texture of fresh tomato)
Make a batter of the chopped cuttings, ginger, the besan and water.
Add a little turmeric powder, so that the omelette is yellow when cooked. (close to what an egg omelette colour is like)
Add salt to taste.
If you want to make it like Utthappams (thick and fluffy) add a bit of eno to the batter to aerate it.
Lightly grease a pan.
Pour batter and fry the omelette

You can flip it over and fry it on the other side too if you like.

This can be served with any number of combinations.
In Mangalore it is served with coconut chutney as a breakfast or snack item.
The husband prefers it with bhujiya or sev, so I serve it to him with a bhujiya ki sabji
For myself, I was in the mood for something sweet and spicy, so I had it with some homemade Jalapeno Jelly that a friend had given me.
With the humidity, the jelly was running all over the omelette, but it tasted excellent :)

You can even serve this with a vegetarian side dish, if you want to make a complete meal out of it.

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