Because of the Blizzard of 2016, it was snow day and I was stuck in the house with limited options, given the local media stations had been covering the snowstorm for a straight 48 hours. Well, I took advantage of the snow day by watching a couple of movies and among the choice of selections was “The Hundred-Foot Journey”, a 2014 film adapted from Richard Morais’ 2010 novel of the same name, that tells the story of a feud between two adjacent restaurants in a French town: one operated by a recently relocated Indian family and the other a Michelin-starred restaurant.
Despite the movie starring Academy Award®-winner Helen Mirren, Om Puri and Manish Dayal, the real stars of the movie were the 27 eye opening and mouth watering dishes, with so many of them that were created by Chef Floyd Cartoz, who served as a consultant on the film.
Chef Cartoz, was the 2011 winner of Top Chef Masters. His own life story is somewhat reminiscent of the film’s main character, Hassan Kadam. Chef Cartoz was born in India, migrated to the United States and had a hard time transitioning. He eventfully found work and he currently works as an executive chef at White Street, located in Tribeca, New York. Drawing from his extensive culinary experience, Chef Cartoz was instrumental in bringing the foods in the novel alive on screen.
Omelette or Omelet, no matter how it is spelled or you call it, we can all agree that this French dish has an international appeal. If you’ve seen the movie, then you may recall the scene where Hassan made an Omelette aux Fines Herbes with Indian spices, for Madam Mallory. It was divine. And at that moment, being a totally foodie, I fell in love with the cooking and presentation of my favorite dish from the film, the omelette.
It was the Sunday Indian Omelette, to be exact, which is a a part of a traditional Sunday morning breakfast in India. This dish is extremely popular in The union territory of Puducherry, which was a French colony for around 200 years, making French cuisine a strong influence in the area. The sellers would walk around the neighborhood, calling out – “omelette, omelette”, a sign to let the community know they were open for business. It’s usually eaten alone or sometimes in between a piece of naan, making something akin to a breakfast sandwich. If you are passionate about cooking, like me and if you love eggs, may I suggest that you try this omelette…… because I thoroughly enjoyed it, and the dish left me feeling happy with a full stomach on a snowy day.
Adapted from Chef Floyd Cartoz, 2014
Serves 4 to 6
2 cups onions, minced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 small Serano chili, seeded and finely minced
2 cups fresh cherry tomatoes, diced
1/2 bunch of cilantro, washed and roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon turmeric
1 Tablespoon Vadouvan French Masala Curry
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
4 Tablespoons coconut or canola oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
Clarified butter, for serving
In a large bowl combine the onion, scallions,tomatoes, cilantro, salt and mix well. Split vegetable mixture into 6 equal parts.
In a another bowl, combine the turmeric, vadouvan, cayenne pepper and black pepper with the eggs.
For each omelette that will be made, take about 1/4 cup of the spiced eggs and add it to one part of the vegetables and mix well in a small bowl with a fork.
Heat a medium size non-stick pan over moderate heat and 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil and heat until shimmering. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and gently swril the pan to spread the eggs evenly. Stir gently with a fork, lifting the bottom to allow the uncooked eggs to flow underneath. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat and let eggs cool until it sets. The eggs should not set too quickly or take on too much color.
Once the eggs are almost completely set, that is, they can no longer be stirred, give the pan a good shake or tap. Lift the pan almost vertically. With the aid of a fork or spatula, fold the omelette in half and slip it onto a plate, folding it again onto itself. Brush the top of the omelette with clarified butter before serving.
Repeat with the rest of the egg mixture.