Another recipe from my family tree – my uncle Debraj Ray has submitted a lazy Sunday brunch recipe – Bangla Tortilla Espanola – check out his sister’s [my mother’s] Hand-Me Down Coconut Lamb recipe from last year.
A quick, easy, filling and super spicy tasty dish Debraj was particularly hungry on a beautiful Autumn morning in NY and after whipping up this treat for himself and the kiddies – wanted to share this Bengali twist on the Spanish Tortilla.
Over to Debraj Ray… [cue plenty of eye-rolling from niece who has had to wrestle with herself not to edit out all of said uncles witticisms]
Bangla Tortilla Española
(a.k.a. bengali spanish omelette)
This innocuous recipe involves some serious physical gyrations in preparation.
I took a cooking class in Barcelona. But the classic version (to the extent that a Catalan version can be Spanish, which may be limited given recent events) is nowhere as good.
– 6 large eggs
– 3 small thin-skinned potatoes (more remarks on quantity below)
– 2-3 spring onions, v. finely chopped (If you’re oniony, like me, I would add a small piece of finely-chopped red onion to that mix)
– 3/4 inch cube of ginger, finely chopped (don’t use paste)
– Two ripe tomatos, chopped
– Hari-mirch (green chillies), quantity personalized, finely chopped
– Equivalent of 3-4 pre-packed slices of any neutral, melty cheese
– Grated hard cheese, Parmesan will do fine
– A proper handful of fresh coriander (Julian Barnes objects, but carry on)
– Two fresh basil leaves (optional)
– Salt and pepper
– Olive oil (not extra-virgin, as my Barcelona cooking class emphasized), or butter. The Spaniard cries out for olive oil, the Bangali for butter or even ghee! It is all up to you.
– A large, substantial, thick shallow pan
– A plate that fits snugly upside down over the pan
– Bloody Mary (already consumed in part before starting on this venture)
– Oven mitts
– Kitchen cleaner/Luck along some appropriate isoquant
 Yeggs at the ready! Beat ’em up, add salt and pepper.
 No need to peel potatoes. Slice them in very thin cross-sections. Put a few tablespoons of olive oil so that bottom of pan is uniformly coated, heat pan to medium.
 Once pan warms up place the potato slices on pan, tiling the pan completely (this may need a bit less or more than 3 potatoes depending on size). You might think about interesting tiling theorems with discs as you are doing this, but if I were you (and certainly given I am me) I would concentrate on the task at hand.
 On top sprinkle the onions, ginger and hari-mirch and the optional basil leaves (chopped). Do not entirely fry potatoes or onions, get them sizzling for a couple of minutes or so. Then gently and uniformly pour some of the egg over this. Put the melty cheese in (I usually cut this up in small pieces and strew all over pan) as well as the chopped tomato. Then the rest of the egg over that (the reason for having egg on top rather than cheese is because the tortilla must be turned over; see below; I get the heebies even writing this).
 Now this is the hard part. The damn thing must cook above and below but it is thick, and hard to turn over. On the other hand if you don’t turn it over the potatoes will burn. So what you do is cook it for a while (covered if needed) until you can move the pan and have the entire omelette wobble in it. The top will still be uncooked (if it is cooked, I’m guessing the bottom is burnt).
 Then (and here you must take a large swig of what’s left of the Bloody Mary and if you are married and male, remove spouse from kitchen) cover the pan with the snug plate, put on the oven mitts, and turn the whole contraption over until the omelette is on the plate. Or at least, try turning it. Do not forget the oven mitts as you will have to grab the bottom of the pan. Exhortations such as Allah ho Akbar, Joy Ma Kali or milder or even secular variants, such as Hare Krishna or Bande Mataram are useful here.
 You should have a delicious golden tortilla on the top but remember the bottom is still cheesy and gooey and at this point you should put the pan back, pick up the plate, and slide the omelette back into the pan. Congratulations! You are done after another 30 seconds (keep it soft inside).
 Grate the hard cheese, smother the whole thing with chopped fresh coriander, and you are done.
What is really Bengali about this? A lot (and not least the cooking method), but ultimately it’s the ginger.
Author: Rohini Wahi
Rohini is a London based freelance journalist and trend forecaster for the design industries. She has worked for Elle Decoration, Living Etc, Houzz and Design Sponge amongst others.
She loves a period drama and keeps a tidy home. Launched in 2007 The Beat That My Heart Skipped focuses on home inspirations, design trends, lifestyle and food – coupled with an insight into Rohini’s work and home life – from key picks at trade shows to styled weekend soirees. To contact Rohini for queries, work for hire or just to say hi drop her a line at email@example.com