Today on my way back from a stroll around the Silverlake Reservoir, I decided to finally visit the Spice Station. Although I often make snarky comments about the kinds of stores on stretches like that part of Sunset, or on Abbott Kinney in Venice (how many organic dog bakeries and handmade toy stores does any neighborhood need?), and though I walked away from the Spice Station and the adjacent bead store having only bought small bags of unnecessary things, Spice Station is amazing! The prices are really great, especially considering what they could charge their yupster foodie clientele, and they have everything! One of the things I bought was kala namak, or black salt. It has a sulphury, eggy taste, which makes it both MAGICAL and of limited application. Next time, I'll go over the 5 to India Sweets and Spices, but since I only wanted to try a little bit, this actually worked out great. I think an ounce (about 1/4 c?) was $1.25.
Black salt's natural lover is chickpea flour (besan). I mean, think about it: you can make an OMELETTE out of the stuff. And, of course, they both come from the same part of the world.
I made myself an Indian-inspired brunch:
Clockwise from left: rice (I'd have made brown basmati but I was impatient!), chickpea flour omelette, salad, and cabbage with browned tempeh and coconut (another variation on this brussels sprouts recipe). I thought about throwing in a warm whole wheat tortilla as well, but this seemed like enough at the moment.
So. About this chickpea flour omelette business. It's pretty awesome to realize you can make an omelette that still has protein but skips the cholesterol (or most of the fat, period), and has fiber to boot! First I mixed everything dry (see left), and then I added water to get batter (see right). It looked a bit weird, but once it started firming up in the pan, my confidence was restored:
It totally looks like an omelette, right?
I went off this recipe from holy cow, but ended up changing almost everything: I needed less water, I didn't have any of the same vegetables, and I used my black salt, of course! The only thing I'd change is the amount of ginger: I used what seemed like a moderate amount (1 tsp?), but because the omelette doesn't cook very long, it was very gingery. But I love how versatile this recipe is: although I went with Indian flavors, especially the ginger, you could make any kind of omelette you wanted... and then, garnish an Indian-inspired one with cilantro or chutney, garnish a Mediterraneanish one with olive tapenade or sun-dried tomatoes, put salsa and avocado on a Southwestern-style one, or ketchup on a classic one with tempeh sausage in it.
The texture's not exactly like eggs (how could it be, when there's so much less fat?), but the crispy-chewy outer layer was pretty close. And it tastes delicious! I think if you never liked eggs, you probably wouldn't like this, though you could fix that by omitting the black salt. Edit, 6/19/11: try it with chopped greens in it.
I had real problems getting the thing to, er, stay one with itself. The first one I made in cast iron, and it stuck to the bottom (but was still delicious), so I admitted defeat and pulled out the old teflon. Although this one didn't stick, it still fell apart when I tried to turn it over (at right). Edit, 3/14: The third time was the charm. I actually needed to cook it on pretty low heat to get it to cook long enough without burning.
NB: I prefer the recipe from the Vegan Brunch cookbook.
Chickpea Flour Omelette with Black Salt
(adapted from holy cow)
1/2 c chickpea flour
1/4 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
vegetables (I just used ginger and some diced red bell pepper from a jar), finely chopped
1/2 tsp cayenne (or to taste)
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp black salt
3/4-1 c water
InstructionsMix together all the ingredients except water, then add water slowly to get a batter that's slightly runnier than pancake batter. Coat a frying pan with oil and heat over medium-low heat. Add about 1/2 c batter to frying pan, spreading it out slightly. Cook until edges brown and lift, and you can (ideally) flip the whole thing. Repeat on the other side. Makes 2-3 omelettes.
Brunch, aerial view, with cherry juice from Turkey (thanks, Jons)