Food recipe

Omelette de Karandi: a street food recipe from Tamil Nadu for winter comfort


It’s a dish I stumbled upon by chance. A few years ago, I was in Dindigul in the south of Tamil Nadu. For decades this city was known for its lock making industry, as was Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh. But in recent years, it’s Dindigul’s biryani that has been its biggest draw. Dindigul is on his way to Kodaikanal, one of the state’s most beloved hill stations. It’s no surprise that Dindigul’s biryani restaurants are the perfect lunch stop for travelers driving to Chennai and Bengaluru.

Thalapapaktti, now a chain with several outlets in Chennai and Bengaluru, can take much of the credit for making Dindigul’s biryani famous. But there are other local restaurants like Ponram and Venu biryani which make a terrific version of the traditional Dindigul biryani which is made with Seeraga Samba, a tasty variety of small grain rice. It was at Venu Biryani that I had my first brush with the soft karandi omelet in the shape of a ball.

It’s not clear if this dish originated from Dindigul, but it’s certainly clear it was a dish that was invented for the sake of convenience. Karandi’s omelet has grown in popularity thanks to small restaurants and street vendor streets across the state. Karandi is the Tamil word for ladle. This is an omelet that can be quickly assembled into a large ladle (Thalippu Karandi in Tamil) that you typically use for tempering or “tadka”. It’s this style of cooking (in a confined space, rather than pouring it over a pan) that gives karandi omelet its textures and chewy layers.

The shape and textures of the karandi omelet can vary depending on the number of eggs (usually one or two) or the size of the ladle. My order taker at Venu offered another interesting insight into this delicious omelet. Considering the huge volumes, most large restaurants have started using molds to make multiple karandi omelets simultaneously. These omelets tend to be more ball-shaped whereas your omelet might end up being flatter if you use a larger, flatter ladle. They are also called mutta (egg) paniyaram.

So what are the typical ingredients of a karandi omelet? Most restaurants in Dindigul stick to the traditional recipe with green peppers 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 a cooking medium and that definitely adds to the flavor profile of this omelet. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to find karandi omelets with crushed tomatoes or even pieces of meat; some chefs even add mushrooms. While our recipe sticks to the traditional recipe with a pinch of chopped cilantro leaves and tomatoes, you can add any ingredients you like to your omelet.

An omelet can be a special breakfast, but in Tamil Nadu, like in many other parts of India, it is also a meal accompaniment. The karandi omelet goes very well with biryani or even rice and rasam. It’s also a perfect snack during tea or coffee time for the winter or when you need comfort on a rainy day.

How To Make a Karandi Omelet | Karandi’s omelet recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped coriander leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 small green chilli, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil

Instructions:

1. Finely chop the onion, tomato and green pepper. Add everything to a mixing bowl.

2. Crack the eggs and add the pepper powder, chili powder, turmeric powder and salt as required. Mix well.

3. Now heat a ladle while adding oil. Pour in the egg mixture. Do not fill more than 3/4 of your ladle

4. Cook for one minute over low heat.

5. When finished, gently flip to the other side with a spoon and cook for one minute. Remove from the ladle and serve hot.

About Ashwin RajagopalanI’m the proverbial slashie – a content architect, writer, speaker, and cultural intelligence coach. School lunch boxes are usually the start of our culinary discoveries. This curiosity has not weakened. It only got stronger as I explored food cultures, street food, and fine dining restaurants around the world. I discovered cultures and destinations through culinary motives. I am also passionate about writing about consumer technology and travel.