- Prep time 10 minutes
- Cook time 5 minutes
- Serves 2
If you spent any time growing up in India and traveling its length and breadth by train, you'd have likely grown up with this omelet sandwich—on the train, and on platforms of obscure towns. To call it the most perfect omelet would be to acknowledge its imperfections. It's too flat, too thin, too floppy, and has more vegetable and spice in it than egg. But it's all those things that make it the perfect candidate for an omelet sandwich, thrust between two slices of buttered white bread (or Indian pav).
I make a version in my Brooklyn kitchen. I usually add a few drops of milk to the mix, sometimes a grated cheese (usually a sharp cheddar), and will occasionally swap in seasonal greens and other vegetables. But I always "toast" the bread in the grease of the pan. It's the perfect Sunday brunch, and the perfect distillation of childhood nostalgia.
Now that I live so far away from India, I spend a lot of time thinking about how nostalgia shapes memory—food memory, especially. And it makes me wonder about my outsized fondness for the railway omelet sandwich.
Of course I know it isn’t just about the omelet. It’s about straddling two homes as an immigrant, and wanting to preserve the past so that I can cling on to a sense of belonging. Or maybe I just miss the simplicity of travel in those days, when travel, well … took its time. We travel faster and farther now, but we rush about it, hating it all, and complaining endlessly. And whoever rhapsodizes about an airport meal?
But on those leisurely 40-hour journeys, we were armed with only a vague sense of destination. So we read voraciously, slept a great deal, woke up to exquisite dawns and stared out at unexceptional towns. And as the train trundled on, piercing through the heart of India, the spicy, greasy, often cold omelet sandwich kept us company.
This recipe was featured on our new cook-along podcast Play Me a Recipe. Listen as Arati chops, whisks, and flips her way through this recipe, offering tips and backstory along the way. —Arati Menon
Test Kitchen Notes
Featured in: India's Most Nostalgic Egg Dish Is Made on a Train —The Editors
medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
green chiles, seeded and finely chopped
cilantro, finely chopped
chile powder (you can also use red pepper flakes)
vegetable oil or ghee
slices white bread or pav
- In a medium bowl, mix the eggs and milk.
- Add the onion, chiles, cilantro, black pepper, chile powder, turmeric, and salt to the bowl and stir to combine.
- In a small skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil. When the oil is hot, reduce the heat to medium-low and add half of the egg mixture to the pan, swirling so it completely covers the surface of the pan.
- Cook the omelet for 2 minutes, until the underside is lightly browned. Flip the omelet and cook the other side for another 2 minutes, until browned. Transfer the omelet to a plate.
- Repeat with the remaining egg mixture to make a second omelet.
- Serve the omelet sandwiched with white bread or pav—ideally toasted in the grease of the pan. However, if you like your toast more evenly browned and crisped, toast in a toaster. It will be just as delicious, we promise.