Play Me a Recipe

Indian Railway Omelette Sandwich

November 19, 2021
5 Stars
Photo by Julia Gartland
Author Notes

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

Watch This Recipe
Indian Railway Omelette Sandwich
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 5 minutes
  • Serves 2
Ingredients
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1/2 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 green chiles, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon chile powder (you can also use red pepper flakes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 splash vegetable oil or ghee
  • 4 slices white bread or pav
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. In a medium bowl, mix the eggs and milk.
  2. Add the onion, chiles, cilantro, black pepper, chile powder, turmeric, and salt to the bowl and stir to combine.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Repeat with the remaining egg mixture to make a second omelet.
  6. 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • cholula
    cholula
  • LeBec Fin
    LeBec Fin
  • Arati Menon
    Arati Menon
  • Sylvia
    Sylvia

14 Reviews

Sylvia May 27, 2022
Terrific recipe! Added a little fresh mint since we had it and it worked well..
 
Seriouschick October 13, 2021
This is buttery, crispy, spicy, salty…:literally everything I crave. This is hands down my favorite breakfast and my favorite midnight snack. I eat them at LEAST 3x a week. It is perfection.
 
Author Comment
Arati M. January 14, 2022
I just came across your review! This makes me so happy to read. Thank you.
 
cholula January 8, 2021
You know one of those nights when nothing you have in the fridge sounds good to you? For some reason, I kept craving eggs and found this recipe. Oh my! was it good. I followed the recipe only added mayo to the bread and a slice of a yellow heirloom tomato. Will most definitely make this again.
 
Author Comment
Arati M. January 9, 2021
Happy to hear!! Mayo+tomato are great adds, too.
 
Lucien January 8, 2021
As a man who knows shamefully little about fresh chiles, I'm not sure what to shop for. My supermarket carries fresh jalapeños, seranos, poblano, and Thai peppers (all of them green), plus a canned Goya product labeled, simply, "Diced Green Chiles." Would any and/or all of these peppers work in this recipe? Thank you!
 
Author Comment
Arati M. January 8, 2021
Hi Lucien! So happy you're trying this recipe! Your pick of chiles is entirely dependent on your palate—and how much you enjoy heat. All of the fresh chiles you mention would work, so take your pick (some Thai chiles can get reaaaal spicy, serrano is great for a medium kick, and poblano is mild-medium). Hope you enjoy it!
 
Lucien January 8, 2021
I know I'll enjoy it. Kind thanks for the recipe, Arati, and for your help!
 
Linda D. August 5, 2020
Thank you so much for this flavorful and simple sandwich, Arati.
 
Author Comment
Arati M. August 5, 2020
Yay Linda, I’m so glad you liked it!
 
LeBec F. February 25, 2020
Now that I am an older person, spicy heat has become an intolerance. i am looking forward to this dish with my adjustments: a little bit of minced chiles, 1 tsp.Penzey's NOW curry powder {no salt] instead of turmeric and 1/2 tsp.smoked pimenton vera instead of chile powder. thx so much; i am psyched!
mindy
le bec fin
 
Author Comment
Arati M. February 25, 2020
I love that! Let me know how it goes.
 
bonnie R. November 28, 2019
so good i can’t even tell you! made it exactly as written and added the cheese to one of the sandwiches. the perfect breakfast (or anytime) sandwich. perfect cravable flavors.
 
Author Comment
Arati M. November 28, 2019
Hi Bonnie. I'm so glad you tried this, and even happier to hear that it struck a chord with you. Food memories are so personal that it's always so nice when they find much wider resonance... I hope you make it again, and make it your own!