QIndian-inspired quick meals are perfect for weeknight dinners. With just a handful of pantry spices, you can turn simple ingredients — eggs, rice, lentils — into a feast. Growing up, my mother always told me that kitchi, the original dish of kedgeree, was prepared during the monsoon season, because even if you couldn’t get around the shops, you always had potatoes, rice and lentils in the cupboard. Here’s my version, with masala frittata, my favorite way to use up eggs and potatoes.
Masala frittata (top photo)
Think of it as an Indian version of a Spanish omelet – lightly caramelized and spiced onions, topped with potatoes, cilantro and egg. Leftovers are perfect for lunch boxes. You will need a 25cm ovenproof skillet, or a 25cm round roasting pan or flan dish.
Preparation 15 minutes
To cook 50 minutes
450g potatoesthinly sliced (your choice to peel or not)
2 tonstablespoons neutral or olive oil
2 tonscumin seeds
3 large onionspeeled and thinly sliced
6cm fresh gingerpeeled and finely grated
1 tground coriander sp
½ cupground turmeric
1–2 red chilliesminced
15g fresh corianderchopped leaves and stems
2 tonssp flakes of sea salt and black pepper
8 medium eggslightly beaten
Greek yogurt, minced peppers and fresh corianderto serve
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, cook the potatoes for seven minutes, then drain well.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet (if it’s oven-safe, great), add the cumin and sauté for 30 seconds, until aromatic. Add the onions, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook gently, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, until softened and lightly caramelized around the edges. If they start to darken, just lower the heat.
After 10 minutes, add the grated ginger, ground coriander, turmeric, chili peppers, fresh coriander, sea salt and pepper, and sauté for a minute. Turn off the heat, add the sliced cooked potatoes and stir gently so they are coated in the onion and spice mixture.
Heat the oven to 170 C (150 C fan)/325 F/gas 3. If your pan is oven safe, flatten the potatoes and pour the beaten eggs over them; if not, pour the potato mixture into a parchment-lined pie dish or roasting pan, flatten, then pour the beaten eggs over it. Season with freshly ground black pepper, then bake for 25-30 minutes, until just set – this is done when the middle is no longer wobbly or moist when you stick a knife in it.
Let the frittata cool for 15 minutes, then spread it with yogurt, sprinkle with peppers and cilantro and serve.
I like to add smoked mackerel and luxurious chilli ginger butter to my mom’s recipe below. Perfect fall comfort food.
Preparation 10 minutes
To cook 30 minutes
1 ttablespoon butter or ghee
1 bay leaf
1 cumin seeds
1 onionpeeled and thinly sliced
1 heapground cumin sp
½ cupground turmeric
6cm fresh gingerpeeled and grated
200g basmati ricerinsed
100g red lentilsrinsed
350g potatoespeeled and cut into 1cm cubes
800ml vegetable stock
4 means eggs
250g smoked mackerelin flakes
1 ttablespoons neutral or olive oil
Sea salt flakes
For the peas
60g butter or ghee
6cm fresh gingerpeeled and finely chopped
1 tchilli flakes sp
200g frozen peasthawed
Put the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and when hot, add the bay leaf and cumin seeds, and sizzle for 30 seconds. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until browned and crisp around the edges. Transfer two tablespoons of the onion mixture to a small bowl and set aside.
Add the ground cumin, ground turmeric and grated ginger to the remaining onions in the pan, sauté for a minute, then add the rice, lentils, potatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, cover tightly and simmer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, for the peas, heat the butter in a large skillet and when hot, add the chopped ginger and chili flakes, and simmer over medium heat for two to three minutes, until until the ginger begins to brown around the edges. Add the peas and a teaspoon of flaky salt, and cook for another minute.
Once the kitchri is cooked, gently mix the buttered peas with the rice and add salt to taste. In the same skillet you used for the peas, heat the oil and brown the eggs to your liking. Serve the kitchri garnished with some crumbled mackerel, a fried egg and the reserved fried onion.
Recipes from India Express: 75 Fresh and Delicious Vegan, Vegetarian and Pescatarian Recipes for Every Day, by Rukmini Iyer, published by Square Peg at £22. To order a copy for £19.14, go to guardianbookshop.com
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