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An Indo-Spanish Adventure


In an earlier post, we narrated the story of how potatoes and eggs ended up in the Bengal Biryani – because of the impoverished state of the erstwhile Nawab of Oudh’s estate. The famous Spanish Omelette (Tortilla de Patatas) has similar origins. It is believed that in the early Nineteenth Century, there was widespread poverty in some regions of Spain. The dish was invented as a solution for combining eggs with potatoes and other vegetables to create an affordable – yet filling – everyday meal.

There’s another legend that says a military general named Tomas de Zumalacarregui invented the Spanish Omelette as a quick and wholesome way of feeding hungry soldiers during the Siege of Bilbao at the time of the Spanish Civil War.

The popularity of the Spanish Omelette spread to other European countries, including Britain. That’s how the dish landed up in India – as part of our country’s Colonial cuisine. But the Indian chefs in the kitchens of the East India Company transformed the dish into something quite different – mainly because they used good old-fashioned cold-pressed Mustard Oil to make it. And that’s what today’s recipe is all about: the Indo-Spanish version of the Anglo-Spanish Omelette!

The ingredients that you will require for this dish are:


  1. Eggs: 4

  2. Potatoes: 500 gram

  3. Tomatoes: 300 gram

  4. Onions: 100 gram

  5. Mustard Oil: 4 tablespoon

  6. Capsicum: 2

  7. Milk: 100 millilitres

  8. Worcestershire Sauce: 1 teaspoon

  9. Red Pepper Powder: Just a pinch

  10. Black Pepper Powder: Just a pinch

  11. Salt: 1 teaspoon

The ingredients mentioned above are for four servings; you may increase or decrease the ingredients proportionately, according to your needs.


In a bowl, break the eggs and whisk till the yolk-and-whites mixture thickens.

Wash, peel and dice the potatoes.

Remove the stem and centre of the capsicum, remove the seeds and chop coarsely.

Coarsely chop the tomatoes.

Coarsely chop the onions.

Parboil the potatoes, onions and capsicum (not the tomatoes).


To the bowl containing the whisked eggs, add the milk, Worcestershire Sauce, black pepper, red pepper and salt.

Heat the Mustard Oil in a frying pan on Medium heat. Add the chopped potatoes, onions, capsicum and tomatoes. Sauté for around 5 minutes.

Now pour the egg mixture over the sautéed vegetables and reduce the heat to Low. Allow the egg mixture to set. Then turn the heat up once again to Medium and cook till the eggs are done (they will take on a light golden brown texture when they are done).

Gently remove the omelette from the frying pan and place it on a serving platter.

Your Indo-Spanish Omelette is now ready to be served. It can be eaten for breakfast… or you could even make a quick meal of it if you’re eating on-the-run.

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