Himself has been a bit in capacitated this week and so haven’t been cooking. I become a bit of a slob and just grab something, or nothing as the case maybe. Which makes me think of my Mother. She was a widow for 34 years, but standards never slipped. She would always cook for herself and set the table, always do the dishes ( no dishwasher). She would always peel her new potatoes ( didn’t like skin) as well as her tomatoes ( didn’t like skin), this puts me to shame. Mental note to oneself……. Must do better.
I have a new cookbook ,well two or three, or maybe even four, but the one I am currently in love with is Chefs at Home. This is a compilation by 57 chefs in aid of Hospitality Action, a charity which supports the hospitality industry.
There are many recipes and ideas in this book which have piqued my interest, so much so I must have bought Amazon’s complete stock of sticky page markers.
There are a couple of recipes/ ideas that I have been salivating over for the past few days, namely JAMSHEDPUR -STYLE EGG ROLLS and PARSI OMELETTE.
The Parsi omelette led me on a quest to find out more about Indian spices and their concoctions. The recipe called for Garam Masala ( already in my store cupboard) and Dhansak Masala, ( not heard of before ).
I am absolutely not an authority on this subject, but have been reading a lot. There is an Indian supermarket, a very large one, not far from Heathrow airport ( this area of London has a large population from the Indian sub continent). Unfortunately I haven’t been there, since Covid struck but have every intention of visiting again, armed with my various books to try and fathom out the vast array of ingredients, fresh, dried, canned or frozen !
India is approximately 13 times larger and has 1.46 BILLION people. The UK is on the whole fairly densely populated but comes in at 64 million. Thinking of regional cooking, in what is a fairly small country the UK has a lot of regional dishes, so going on from that, just imagine the differences in a country like India .
Masala, is the generic word for various mixtures of spices. Each region has its own special blend, so in the north, where winters can be cold, it is Garam Masala, meaning hot spice. It has a rich warm fragrance and tastes hot and aromatic.
In Maharashtra, the capital of which is Mumbai, and sits on the Deccan Plateau. It has a tropical climate and good vegetation, hence lots of fruits and vegetables. The Masala that is used here is GODA MASALA and is not usually found commercially but made in the home and contains coconut, whereas in the Punjab it is TANDOORI MASALA, it rich in colour, is fragrant and spicy. And then I found GUNPOWDER MASALA and DHANSAK MASALA.
Moving on to the Parsi Omelette, it calls for Dhansak Masala, and had no idea where it could be bought, hence I had to make it myself.
I used half the quantities of spices suggested and even so made a fair amount, which I have stored in a jar. I started out grinding my spices in a pestle and mortar, but it was seriously hard work, moved onto a hand grinder ( now discarded) and finally a high speed jug blender. A small coffee grinder, will work well.
- 100 grams coriander seeds
- 25 grams dried red chillies
- 25 grams cloves
- 15 grams green cardamoms
- 15 grams black cardamoms
- 25 grams stick cinnamon
- 15 grams black peppercorns
- 15 grams dried bay leaves
- 15 grams star anise
- 15 grams mustard seed
- 15 grams poppy seeds
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg.
Very simply grind and blend all of the above together. Store in a jar.
I made my Parsi Omelette using
- 3 eggs beaten
- A small red onion chopped
- A green chilli chopped
- A teaspoon of Dhansak masala
- 1/2 teaspoon Garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric,
- some grated cheese
- Some chopped coriander leaves
- A chopped clove garlic and some chopped ginger
- Pinch salt
Gently fry the chilli, the onion, garlic and ginger in either ghee or oil, pour in the eggs and agitate so that the eggs can fall to the bottom of the pan to set, do this a couple of times until almost set. Add the cheese and coriander, salt and pepper and turn over to finish cooking . The easiest way to do this is, to place a plate over the pan, invert the pan so that the omelette tips onto the plate, then gently slide it back into the pan to finish cooking. Fold in half and serve with some salad.
You might want to adjust the seasoning second time around. I think basically one can call this an omelette curry, but the flavours are very subtle. I would have liked it to be a little stronger.
As a footnote, the Parsis migrated from Persia to India in the 7 century. There is a distinct community in Mumbai.