lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

Location: Kolkata, India

Friday, June 02, 2006

The perfect omelette

Hullo again, folks.

Here is a lovely clue: Corrupt fellow, I (7) Solution: lowlife. The beauty is in the economy of definition. It serves both as an anagram indicator and definition.

I have been accused of writing educational, instructive posts. Some of you have told me you are learning the use of the common comma and the misunderstood semicolon from my posts. Ah well. Since I can't be a siren, lemme be a cook.

Here is a lesson straight from Lali's Kitchen.

I must have made thousands of omelettes over the years. I can do the simple, basic version very well. I can make a version that is an omelette with 'bells and whistles' as my cousin used to call it that is truly out of this world. (Yeah, I am boasting, so sue me)

The origin of the word is interesting. It started off from the Latin lamella, a thin plate, the basic shape of the thing and evolved to allumelle and then allumelette, aumelette and so on. Himself prefers the 'ova mellitus' translating as eggs and honey version of etymology, but each to his own, I say. He likes my jam omelette, maybe that explains why he prefers that version; but that is for later.

Here is how to go about making the perfect fluffy meta-omelette a la Lali. I usually make two-egg omelettes, but you can do this with a single egg or with three, or more if you have a large enough pan.

The eggs must be at room temperature. This is important, as the egg whites will tend to coagulate or fleck otherwise. You techies and physics students know all about temperature and effects thereof anyway, right?

It is best if you use a non-stick pan.

Use butter. Yeah, I know all about cholesterol, but a dab of butter doesn't kill you, really.

You will need to chop a small onion, maybe the sambar vengayam variety, one or two green chillies depending on how much fire you want, and a sprig of coriander leaves fine. I mean really fine. The amounts depend on the number of eggs and on how much stuff you want in the omelette, basically.

You can add tomatoes, too, if you can chop them fine enough. But tomatoes tend to make an omelette runny, so don't attempt adding them until you know what you are doing. You can add stir fried mushrooms or parsley or sage, too, but let's not go overboard for now, okay and stick with the basics. :D

Crack the egg singular or eggs plural into a bowl, preferably a ceramic one. I haven't figured out why it works better with stoneware than a metal bowl. Perhaps the aforementioned techie readers can enlighten me? Anyway, the noise of fork in a metal bowl is grating and I dislike it. The bowl has to be wide at the top and narrower in the bottom. Think meteor crater. Think basins.

Use a fork and beat the eggs. Sadistic as it sounds, the beating of eggs is the secret of fluffiness in an omelette.

It is all about incorporating air into the whole mass. So you have to beat steadily and keep the entire mass in motion. Start slow and keep it steady. Slowly increase the tempo. Yeah, I know. Just like sex, making an omelette is all timing and tempi. :D

I have this trick of leaving the yolks untouched at first, just beating the whites until they start frothing.

Add a pinch of salt at this point. Pepper too, if you want. And beat the egg whites. When they are almost stiffening into peaks, start incorporating the yolks. Remember to keep the whole mass moving. You should be using a lifting and folding motion rather than a side to side agitating stroke, because the former incorporates more volume and is quicker. If you like to do it the hard way, more power to you.

Once the yolks are folded into the whites and the whole stuff looks creamy, take a break. Turn your gas stove on, heat the omelette pan, and melt a little butter.

While it is melting, add the chopped garnishes to the eggs and blend them in thoroughly. Yes. This is the best way to make an omelette with stuff in it. People think pouring the beaten eggs into the pan and then adding garnishes will work, but this works better.

Hey, don't let the butter heat up so much that it burns. Bad karma awaits you if you do things like that. Lower the flame if necessary. Roll the pan from side to side and make sure the butter is coated evenly all over the surface.

Turn the heat back on high, pour the eggs in, shake the pan gently to spread, and watch. Yes, I said watch. The omelette will fluff up because of the incorporated air.

Now it depends on you.

If you like your omelettes sorta runny, you shouldn't flip them and cook the other side. But some people like their eggs cooked to well set. Some even like them cooked to the point of burnt offerings. So it depends on how runny or firm or burnt you want your omelette.

This is the stage when I grate some cheese (Amul works, Vijaya is too salty and Britannia is too soft to grate) on top of the omelette and fold in half and serve it, if I was making it for my husband. If I were making it for my son I'd leave out the chillies and tomatoes. When I was making it for my boarders I used to pull out all stops. They liked the bells and whistles.

But decide how firm you want it and then use a spatula and either fold it, with cheese grated on the barely set mass or flip it over and cook the other side, adding the grated cheese or yesterday's leftovers as filling, fold it in half and serve.

Eat it quickly, because your basic omelette tends to deflate pretty soon. It becomes leathery then.

Jam omelettes. Okay, it is a tale for another day.



Anonymous Ash said...

Back to lighthearted posts again, I see.

12:25 am  
Blogger Thanu said...

other than the tomatoes and cheese part this is exactly how I make it too...

11:46 am  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Ash- Working on a serious one,okay? Cut me some slack. :D

Thanu- Hi. I add or subtract ingredients according to individual tastes. Depends on who I am making it for.

Keep visiting.

11:53 am  
Anonymous Rajesh said...

It worked and I made a decent omelet. Can't wait for another lesson from m'lady.

Will you cook for me one day?

12:58 pm  
Blogger Happy-Go-Lucky said...

Nice post!

But this looks more like a cook-a-louge than a recipe.

Smaller Crispier Recipes Please!

1:13 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Rajesh- thanks for trying it out.

Happy-go-lucky, hi. This is not a cookery blog. I blog about a lto of things. Actually, this is the first time I did a cook-alogue as you call it. :D

Keep visiting.

1:30 pm  
Blogger Siva Sivaaa said...

A 'delicious' post indeed. Will have to try it out myself when mom is not around. She doesn't allow me to cook and consequently prevents a messy kitchen. :-(

2:51 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Sivaa- You have a savvy mom, it seems. :D

3:42 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is one final coup-de-grace that is missing.
Dont flip the omelette but put the cooked omelette in a 350 degree ove for 5 minutes in the pan for the golden crust.

7:25 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Anon- Yeah, I agree, but I am talking about everyday omelettes, stuff you make quickly for a decent breakfast.

You don't fool around preheating ovens and all that then. It's all you can do to make toast and eggs. On bad days you subsist on cornflakes or muesli.

But now that it is mango season, breakfast is always great. Mangoes pureed, or juiced, or in milkshakes and mousses; or fruit salads of mangoes, lychees and bananas, with an apple thrown in or a guava. Add cream to it and you won't need lunch. :D

8:19 pm  
Anonymous PTC said...

what about noodles,would like you to cook and serve :D

9:13 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

ptc- TANSTAAFL. Fix my bank notes and I will make you a chinese meal.

Why do you want semi-Chinese noodles when you can ask for more interesting stuff, anyhow? Like Andhra pesarattu or idlis or my pasta with garlic spinach and cheese sauce?

9:32 pm  
Anonymous Rajesh said...

I ask you if you will cook for me and you don't answer. Now you are offering choices of cuisine to this guy? Miss Marple' and Raymond West?

11:26 am  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Rajesh- :D

12:22 pm  
Blogger yadbhavishya said...

No, Iam not changing patents of a-la Lali omeletter! but my 2 spoons here.

Add a few tablespoons of milk to it and see how fluffier and perfecter you get. Also a few cumin seeds zang it up. Beat this! (pun intended)

2:55 am  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Yeah, I know this one, but it needs some experience with flipping as the mix gets thin.

Cumin seeds, eh? There is no accounting for tastes. :D

Keep visiting.

11:27 am  
Blogger Raj said...

The perfect fluffy meta-omelette a la Lali, made from eggs that were laid, no doubt,by contented hens- as Wooster would have put it.

Lovely post, again.

10:21 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...


Thank you kindly sir.

Hens much relaxed and laid back only.

10:45 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That really grabbed my attention, Waltzing Matilda. (Grin)

I could almost smell the Omelette!

7:58 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Anon- Thanks, cobber. *grins*

8:18 pm  
Anonymous Matty G said...

hey, thanks for this. i've never been able to make an omelette turn out. it always kinda sticks to the pan or is too runny. but i did that thing with whipping the egg whites and then incorporating the yolks, and it came out beautifully.

4:30 pm  
Blogger Lalita said...

Matty G- You are welcome. An omelette will stick to the pan if the butter isn't spread evenly all over. Make sure the pan is coated evenly.

May you make more perfect omelettes. Cheers!

4:39 pm  
Anonymous Lloyd said...

Makes me feel hungry...yummy. You can also check some more on How to make the perfect omelette

6:59 pm  

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