Friday, June 22, 2007

An Indian Breakfast

Bollywood Cooking: Spicy Egg and Mushroom Roll & Masala Chai

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Indians love their breakfast. Each region of India has a marvelous variety of hot and cold dishes to start the day. Although in the modern cities today, with most family members working, breakfast has usually come to mean a simple sandwich or increasingly cornflakes, you will still find many families enjoying a hot breakfast every morning.

The south offers steaming hot rice cakes called idlis and pancakes called dosas. These are served with an assortment of colorful relishes made with coconuts, mangoes or hot chillies.
In Bombay (Mumbai) spiced rice slivers called pawa are cooked with onions, potatoes and green peas to provide a nutritious start to the day.

The north provides big hearty breakfasts. As farming is the main occupation of the people living here, breakfasts need to be more robust. Housewives and mums will serve their families different varieties of stuffed bread called parathas, which is accompanied with a refreshing relish and washed down with cooling lassi

Other popular dishes include fried bread served with spiced potatoes - the classic puri-bhaji, scrambled eggs and omelettes made with spices, potatoes and onions and served with flat breads or porridge made from cracked wheat or oats and served either sweetened with sugar or accompanied by hot spicy pickles.

And, not forgetting fresh fruit. Mangoes, papayas, watermelon, sapotas (chikoo in Indian), pomegranate, apples and many other types of fruit are always served at breakfast, making an excellent start to the day.

Although tea is the more common drink in many parts of India, in the south of India, coffee is the caffeine provider of choice. Many people buy the beans raw and roast them at home. Both tea and coffee are flavored with aromatic spices like cardamom, cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg.

I remember when we would visit my grandparents in New Delhi, indulging in the breakfasts prepared by my grandma was always the highlight of each day.

The day for my grandparents would begin early - at 5 AM. Once, I was about 9 or 10, I too decided to get up early and accompany my grandparents on their early morning ritual, when the rest of the family were still fast asleep. My granddad and I collected two steel containers from the kitchen and set out on the short walk to the milk depot, where every morning fresh milk was delivered. My grandfather, tall and elegant, personified a respectful figure in the community and was greeted by everyone we passed.

"Sasriakal, Bhagwan Singhji!" (Good morning, Bhagwan Sigh sir). Even his name matched the names of Gods. See, in Hindi/Punjabi Bhagwaan means God! I was always left in awe of him. He was my idol in every way.

As we arrived at the depot there were already a few people lined up, waiting for the cracked wooden doors to open. In the meantime, important chit-chat and small talk was made.

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Returning home, we delivered the fresh milk to my grandma and her house-help in the kitchen, both busy with the preparations of breakfast. My granddad poured himself a large glass of the white liquid in one of the steel glasses and gulped it down in one go. That gave me the shudders as I never was the one to drink pure milk. He looked down at me, wiping the remains from his white beard and mustache.

"Come, it's time to go to the Gurdwara."

The clock had just struck six and my granddad, grandma and me quickly washed ourselves and walked to our temple. I loved going to the Gurdwara and still do whenever I visit my parents. I would look up at the pictures of our Gurus in awe, then looking at my grandfather I would smile with pride. The resemblance to our Guru Nanak Dev was uncanny.

As we got home it was still quiet around the house. My grandfather would sit on the porch and unfold his daily newspaper. Our house-help brought him a cup hot masala tea and few biscuits. It was almost seven and breakfast was not going to be ready for another hour. As I joined my grandma in the kitchen, she was busy kneading dough for fresh bread. The house-help was cutting steamed potatoes for the stuffing and I got to lay the table.

Just after eight the larger part of the family was seated at the table. My cousins, my aunts and uncles, mum and dad - all visiting from the US or Qatar gathered around to enjoy a wonderful traditional Indian breakfast. Stuffed bread, eggs, relishes, tea, milk, yogurt and fruit was plentiful and the chatter was lively. Glancing at my grandparents, I saw them nod and smile at each other, wordlessly they both knew what the other was thinking.

To honor two of my favorite people and to the memories of those wonderful times, I would like to serve you a lovely Indian breakfast.




Spicy Egg and Mushroom Roll


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Ingredients

6 large eggs - beaten
Salt and pepper
Canola oil
1/2 teaspoon black cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
150 g mushrooms - I used button mushrooms - sliced
Fresh cilantro leaves - chopped




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Method

Season the beaten eggs with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a heavy pan add the oil and heat. Add the cumin seeds and fry till they change color and spread a wonderful aroma.

Add all the spiced powders and then immediately add the mushrooms. Stir until the mushrooms have softened. Remove from heat and reserve.

Using a kitchen paper towel wipe the pan. Pour about a quarter of the beaten egg in a thin layer, swirling it around to even it. Once it turns golden at the bottom, flip it over and cook the other side. Keep warm and make the rest of the omelets in the same way.

Season the mushrooms with salt (adding salt to the mushrooms earlier makes them watery). To assemble the egg roll, place an omelet on a serving dish. Spread a quarter of the mushroom mixture down the middle. Sprinkle with cilantro leaves and fold both sides to make a roll.

Serve warm with toasted bread or a typical Indian flatbread (coming soon) and hot masala tea as below.



Indian Masala Chai

Tea in India is often flavored to provide a variety or to make it more healing. Brewing for fragrance and flavor, you will often be served tea with many spices and herbs. Generally, Indian tea is made by boiling the tea leaves in water and adding milk to the saucepan before it is taken off the heat. You will never see an Indian adding cold milk to their tea, as it reduces the temperature of the tea and also leaves the milk "uncooked".

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Ingredients

4 small pieces fresh ginger - crushed
4 shavings nutmeg
2 cinnamon sticks
4 green cardamom pods - lightly crushed
5-7 teaspoons good quality black tea leaves
Dash of milk
Pinch of sugar



Method

In a small pot bring about 4-5 cups of water to a rolling boil. Add the ginger and the spices to the water and reduce the heat. Simmer for approx. 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and add the tea leaves. Let it steep for 5 minutes. Bring the pot back to the heat and add a dash of milk and sugar. Warm through making sure that the liquid does not boil again. This turns the tea leaves bitter.

Using a strainer, strain the brewed tea into a teapot. Enjoy hot!



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Verdict

In my little family our breakfast ritual is normally reserved for the weekend. Then Tom and Soeren go down and lay the table and go to the bakery for fresh bread. In the meantime I will cook up breakfast. Whatever the craving might be. Scrambled eggs, omelets, French toast or just boiled eggs with cheese and a variety of spreads like fruit jams and honey. Sometimes, I go back to my roots and cook up a nice Indian breakfast like this. It satisfies my desire to get in touch with my roots and also takes me back down memory lane. Tom and Soeren thoroughly enjoy this kind of breakfast. Different to the usual Continental breakfasts, this is spiced and flavorful. At our table there is also chatter - about what's on schedule for the weekend. I can't help but sit back, sipping my masala tea and hope that my grandparents are looking down on us, smiling and nodding at each other knowingly.

More great breakfast ideas:


My entry to Weekend Breakfast Blogging created by Nandita and hosted by Trupti. The theme this month Spice It Up





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All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2007 Meeta Albrecht unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

38 comments :

  1. This is my first time on your blog....ouaw !!! Really nice and astonishing recipes, so nice and yummy...Congratulation !!!

    Cheers
    Claude

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  2. very nostalgic post meeta. loved reading abt ur daadaji and daadima. i know how imporatant role they play in every child's life:) i dont remember my grandparents raising their voice at anyone and i do miss them a lot.
    coming to ur bollywood cooking, i am lost for words! although i am not a gr8 fan eggs, cant stop drooling at those yummy pics:)

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  3. What a great looking breakfast! The pictures are just gorgeous.....

    Thanks Meeta!
    :)

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  4. Your spicy egg-mushroom rolls are a work of art- beautifully rolled! I wish my omelets looked this pretty :)

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  5. wow - I wish I would have had that for breakfast this morning!

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  6. grandparents aer special, aren't they? thanks for this great post and recipes, meeta.

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  7. What a wonderful write up Meeta !!!!!

    Simple lifestyle filled with contentment !!!! Awesome.. Filled up my heart in the morning..

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  8. Which is graceful - yr post or you r photos?!

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  9. What a beautiful post! These breakfast rolls look wonderful, too; I'm bookmarking the recipe.

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  10. lovely write up... do u visit home often now? don't u miss it?

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  11. That text is full of memories information and fondness. I like a lot.
    I don't know much about the Hindu customs but with you I have learned a little bit of interesting things Thanks to share

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  12. Thank you for a great Saturday morning breakfast. I'm heading out to Whole Foods to get the missing ingredients tonight. It's so true that we dont' have enough time to enjoy a nice breakfast but i make sure to sit down for two a week at least (Sat and Sun). This will be a welcome change. Found you through the Blogger's Choice Awards you've been nominated for Best Food Blog and Best Photography. You can add a brag badge for both to make it easy for your readers to vote for you. ( http://www.bloggerschoiceawards.com/blogs/show/3323 ) In the mean time pleeease keep posting delicious recipes!

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  13. I loved reading about your grandparents, their life and how it shaped who you are today. Great post and wonderful recipe. I am glad you decided to give us a little more about grandma.

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  14. Lovely dish and of course the photos are awesome, Meeta.

    srivalli
    www.cooking4allseasons.blogspot.com

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  15. If I could have idlis and dosas, I 'm sure it would encourage me to have breakfast every day. As for these egg and mushroom rolls - delicious! xx

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  16. I have always admired your pictures.
    Just a small note, Idli & dosas are not the only breakfasts that south indians eat on a daily basis.
    They are for the people that don't have strenuous jobs.

    Agriculture was main occupation across most all regions of India. Even in south india breakfasts used to be more heavy and fulfilling and still are for farmers.

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  17. And what an honour it is to be served such a breakfast after such writing so eloquently about your 2 favourite people. Thank you.

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  18. I do so appreciate your comments and thoughts. This one meant a lot to me. Nice to have you all over for this breakfast.

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  19. What a lovely post Meeta, full of love and memories. I still miss my grandmother..

    The plate is gorgeous!

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  20. Oh Meeta, this is a really lovely post in so many ways. Thank You.
    How I would love to enjoy a breakfast like this with you!

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  21. What can i say Meeta. It was wonderful reading about your childhood memories with your aaji-aajoba (Marathi for Granny and grandpa)

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  22. your write up reminded me of when my grandma used to tell me about my late grandpa puting a spoon of ghee in his milk and gulping it down before going to the gurudwara.... just hearing it would give me the shudders and i wud finish my milo quickly...:)

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  23. Hey Meeta,
    Lovely pictures and awesome presentaion too.Love the plate and the angle of photograpy is worth an award.

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  24. Hey Meeta: I so wanted to make this for breakfast. But I ended up with this http://chefatwork.blogspot.com/2007/07/fried-egg-with-curried-mushrooms.html

    Maybe over the weekend, I'll try to make the rolls the way you make them.

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  25. Oh Meeta, I truly enjoyed your stories about breakfast with your grandparents. Your grandfather sounds like an admirable man indeed. :) As much as I adore Indian cuisine, I've never had Indian breakfast and never really knew what it was until now. Thank you for sharing this with us. :)

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  26. It looks so good Meeta. I can't wait for a more adventurous day to try them. But I am super excited by the idea that you might be teaching me how to make naan!! I had a discussion with a friend about a week ago about where to get the good stuff and I would love to send here a link to your blog for the best of the best. I will be staying tuned!

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  27. Wow!!!What a wonderful breakfast and photos.
    Sri
    Indian Food

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  28. That looks beautiful... Gotta try this. Thanks for sharing.

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  29. Hi, Meeta!

    Very nice combo indeed. Healthy breakfast to start wiith :) Thx 4 sharing ur recipe. bye tke care..

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  30. Your chai looks lovely, I really like the glass you served it in. Much nicer than my boring old glasses! See some pictures of me making chai here, if you like: http://mangosoup.blogspot.com/2009/08/masala-chai.html

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  31. Indian cabbage just turned out great MeetaK. Can I seriously come over for breakfast soon? ...... your recipe sounds so yummy.....

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  32. "Yummy" --- says my mind and a small reaction on my stomach after seeing the pictures. This breakfast is definitely delicious. I would try to make this next day. Thanks.

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  33. I have a very good spice mix from an asian shop here in town.

    Not pulverized spices but whole big chunks. Much better then the grinded one i tried once because they were out of my prefered one.

    It is called Yogi Tea and used in Ayurveda, at least that is what´s on the label.

    Which black tea do you prefer?

    That is the crux with tea, i had some very, very good tea(green and masala chai) at an indian restaurant but i do not seem to get the same one anywhere else.

    Or maybe it is a problem with the water even when we have very *soft* one.

    So, what is your opinion on making tea?

    Thanks

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  34. I tried for years to make masala chai using the best Assam and Darjeeling teas, and every attempt was a miserable failure. It takes a STRONG tea to stand up to the spices and milk in masala chai.

    You want the mamri-style (CTC, cut-tear-curl, basically this is how they process the tea leaves). The leaves are so tightly curled after processing that the stuff looks like gunpowder. In India this is common knowledge, but here in the USA, people equate loose tea to the "good stuff", expensive teas that, while they brew an excellent cup of tea, do not have the body or strength of character to make it as the base for masala chai. "Mamri" style tea is what goes into tea bags. If you can't find mamri style tea (commonly available at any Indian grocery, some common brands are Brooke Bond Red Label, Taj Mahal, and Tea India), you can use cheap unflavored tea bags instead.

    My version of masala chai is pretty simple. I make my masala chai in 4 easy steps, using whole spices - fennel seed, cloves, and cardamom. Other spices could be used but this is my favorite blend. If you use more than 3 or 4 though some of them start to get lost, and the flavor can get sort of "muddy".

    1) boil water and spices for 3 mins
    2) add milk and return to a rolling boil
    3) add tea and simmer on low for no more than 3 mins
    4) strain, serve, add sugar to taste

    The full recipe is on my blog.

    http://barbariansatthekitchengate.blogspot.com/2009/05/masala-chai-indian-railroad-tea.html

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  35. Made this for lunch today and it was totally yummy. Thank you!

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  36. Very nice text, recipes and photos: thank you!

    I will try your Spicy Egg and Mushroom Roll pretty soon.


    All the best

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  37. A lovely Indian breakfast: Spicy Egg and Mushroom Roll with Masala Chai. You guys know how I feel about breakfast, this one is definitely going on to my list

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta