The Spanish tortilla or Spanish omelette is a classic dish, very versatile and quick to make. I learnt how to make it from my mother-in-law who is Spanish and lives in Spain.
I grew up in India eating the Indian version of omelettes. One of my all- time favourites is the masala omelette, which is made by whisking finely chopped green chillies, onions, coriander, tomatoes and a pinch of turmeric with the eggs before frying it on the pan.
I decided to combine the flavours from the two omelette worlds and create my own Spanish-Indo version of the ‘masala tortilla’. I have tried this recipe a few times and the taste is great. It has got a big thumbs up from my friends and family every time I have made it, including my mother-in-law.
I am aware that the Spaniards were outraged with Jamie Oliver over his decision to re-vamp a paella recipe by adding chorizo and chicken to the mix. I am not trying to distort the Spanish recipe in anyway. The tandoori tortilla is a result of the confluence of flavours and cultures in my home and kitchen.
There are variations in how the tortilla is cooked in different homes. This is my mother-in-law Marina’s recipe. I have watched her make it and learnt how to slide it over, which is the tricky bit in the preparation.
Serves 4 as a meal, 8 as tapas.
- 4 onions, finely sliced
- 4-5 potatoes, peeled, halved and cut into thin slices
- 5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 6 medium eggs, beaten
- 2 Tablespoons milk
- 2 Tablespoons Tandoori masala powder
- 3-4 green chillies, finely chopped ( optional)
- Few sprigs of coriander leaves, finely chopped
- Olive oil for cooking
- Salt and pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium flame. Add the onion, garlic and mix for a few minutes. Now add the tandoori masala powder and cook for a few minutes. Add the potatoes to the pan and cook gently over medium heat for 20 minutes until soft and brown. Add the seasonings, green chillies and coriander leaves and mix well. After it is cooked, leave the mixture to cool down
- Beat all the eggs well. Add the milk. This makes it fluffy.
- Now add the cooked potatoes onion mix to the beaten eggs and leave to stand for 10 minutes, or longer if you prefer a stronger onion flavour.
- Put a smaller pan over a medium heat and add the oil. You need to be bit generous with amount as it is has to be enough to coat the pan properly and enough to cook the other side when the tortilla is turned.
- When the oil is hot, add the mixture – it should almost fill the pan and should be evenly spread. While the mixture cooks though, use the wooden spoon to loosen the edges of the tortilla from the sides of the frying pan, and give the pan a shuffle to make sure it doesn’t stick.
- Cover the pan and cook on low/medium heat until it comes away from the edge of the pan, and looks about two thirds set.
- Now place a plate over the pan and hold on tight. Flip/invert the frying pan over the plate.
- Slide the tortilla off the plate and back into the frying pan so that the other side can cook through. Cook until it is springy to the touch: be careful not to overcook it.
- The tortilla is usually about 2-3 inches thick. Leave it to rest for some time.
This can be eaten as a main meal or served as tapas and can eaten hot or cold
- Use a small non-stick pan for best results. Use medium heat. Also, it is wise to match the omelette to the size of the pan. If the pan is too big, the omelette will cook too quickly and not be of the right thickness to qualify as a tortilla.
- Add milk when beating the eggs to make it fluffy
- You can buy the tandoori masala in any Asian shops. I usually use the Rajah brand because of its rich, deep red colour.
- You can add other ingredients to your egg mix such as spinach, red and green peppers, tuna, olives