This is a dish that I stumbled upon by accident. A few years ago I was in Dindigul in Southern Tamil Nadu. For decades this town was known for its lock making industry, just like Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh. But over the last few years it's Dindigul's biryani that is its biggest draw. Dindigul is en route to Kodaikanal, one of the state's most favourite hill stations. Not surprisingly Dindigul's biryani eateries provide the perfect lunch time pitstop for road trippers from Chennai and Bengaluru.
Thalapapaktti, now a chain with multiple outlets in Chennai and Bengaluru can take a lot of the credit for making Dindigul's biryani famous. But there are other local eateries like Ponram and Venu biryani that do a terrific version of the traditional Dindigul biryani that's crafted with Seeraga Samba, a flavourful varietal of small grain rice. It was at Venu Biryani that I had my first brush with the fluffy, ball-shaped karandi omelette.
It's not clear whether this dish originated in Dindigul but one this is certainly clear, this was a dish that was invented as a matter of convenience. The Karandi omelette gained popularity thanks to tiny eateries and street food vendor streets across the state. Karandi is the Tamil word for ladle. This is an omelette that can be quickly put together in a large ladle (Thalippu Karandi in Tamil) that you typically use for tempering or 'tadka'. It's this style of cooking (within a confined space, rather than pouring it on a pan) that lends the karandi omelette its fluffy textures and layers.
The shape and textures of the karandi omelette can vary according to the number of eggs (usually one or two) or the size of the ladle. My order taker in Venu offered another interesting insight on this scrumptious omelette. Given the huge volumes most large restaurants have started using moulds to make multiple karandi omelettes simultaneously. These omelettes tend to be more ball shaped while your omelette could end up being flatter if you use a larger and flatter ladle. They are also called mutta (egg) paniyaram.
So what are the typical ingredients in a karandi omelette? Most restaurants in Dindigul stick to the traditional recipe with green chillies and onions. I also tried a delicious version of this dish at Haribhavanam in Coimbatore a few weeks ago with the same ingredients. Restaurants like Haribhavanam use coconut oil as the cooking medium and it certainly adds to the flavour profile of this omelette. Nowadays, it's not unusual to find karandi omelettes with chopped tomatoes or even bits of meat; some chefs even add mushroom. While our recipe sticks to the traditional recipe with a sprinkling of chopped coriander leaves and tomatoes, you can add any ingredients that you enjoy in your omelette.
An omelette might be a breakfast special but in Tamil Nadu just like many other parts of India, it's also a meal accompaniment. The karandi omelette works really well with biryani or even rice and rasam. It's also a perfect teatime or coffeetime snack for winter or when you need some comfort on a rainy day.
How To Make Karandi Omelette | Karandi Omelette Recipe:
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoon of chopped onion
- 2 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grounded pepper
- 1 teaspoon chopped tomatoes
- 1 small green chilli chopped
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
1. Chop onion, tomato and green chilli finely. Add everything to a mixing bowl.
2. Break eggs and add to it along with pepper powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder and required salt. Mix together well.
3. Now heat a ladle adding oil. Pour egg mixture. Don't fill more than 3/4 of your ladle
4. Cook for a minute in low flame.
5. Once done flip gently to the other side using a spoon and cook for a minute. Remove from ladle and serve hot.
About Ashwin RajagopalanI am the proverbial slashie - a content architect, writer, speaker and cultural intelligence coach. School lunch boxes are usually the beginning of our culinary discoveries.That curiosity hasn’t waned. It’s only got stronger as I’ve explored culinary cultures, street food and fine dining restaurants across the world. I’ve discovered cultures and destinations through culinary motifs. I am equally passionate about writing on consumer tech and travel.