Vegan Ros Omelette | Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes


With a brazenness typical of Indian street food, Goa’s delectable offering of Ros Omelette combines two completely different but tasty foods — an omelet and a spicy curry — to multiply the deliciousness many times over. In my vegan — and healthier — version of a Ros Omelet you’ll never miss the eggs, and you’ll be licking your fingers to stubs.

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In India’s smallest state, Goa, you will find some of the richest and most diverse food traditions anywhere in the country. This includes a thriving street food culture with offerings that are quite unique, from crunchy croquettes to choris-pav, a sausage and bread combination, to bebinca, a layered, sticky sweet made with coconut milk and eggs.

One of the most popular among these street eats is Ros Omelette, a delectable fusion of an omelette and a spicy Goan curry made with coconut and spices.

In Goa, which is my stepmom’s native state and one I unfailingly gravitate to each time I visit India, you would find Ros (pronounced “ross”) Omelet being sold outside railway stations at “gaddos,” as makeshift food stalls and trucks are known here. For travelers and workers in nearby buildings the gaddos are a welcome convenience: they dish out tasty fast food at extremely affordable prices and without the long wait you might expect at a restaurant.

I wanted to share this vegan and eggless recipe of Ros Omelette with you as part of my long-running series on street foods in India, and also because I like sharing with you veganized versions of Indian foods you will likely never find at an Indian restaurant, but are very much worth making and eating.

If you do make this Ros Omelette, be sure to let me know by leaving a comment below. Or take a photo and tag me @holycowvegan on Instagram. I’d love to know!

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What is Ros Omelette?

In a Ros Omelette, an egg omelet, made Indian style with shallots and chili peppers, is served dunked into a spicy gravy (called “ros” in Goan Christian Konkani, “ras” in Goan Hindu lingo). The gravy is usually chicken or mutton xacuti (pronounced shaa-koo-ti), another popular Goan dish that derives from the state’s colonial Portuguese past, and it is packed with flavor and texture from a mix of spices and coconut. It is a simple but rather a genius idea, as so much street food is: you take two very different but very tasty foods, combine them, and multiply the deliciousness several-fold.

Why you will love this dish

  • It is uniquely delicious. As weird as it might sound, the combination of an omelet (a vegan omelet in our case) and a spicy curry is incredibly and unequivocally delicious. There’s something about the texture and flavor of the two foods that just works nicely together.
  • It is a simple recipe. The xacuti gravy does require a bit of roasting and blending, but it is not difficult by any means, and I have step by step photos and instructions that will help demystify the process.
  • It works for nearly any meal. Yep. Serve it for an indulgent breakfast or for a satisfying lunch or dinner. You cannot go wrong.

Ingredients

For the vegan omelet:

  • Chickpea flour or besan. The vegan omelet in this dish is a chickpea flour-based omelet, much like the vegan omelet (besan chilla) I shared with you many, many years ago.
  • Rice flour: Rice flour is a good addition to chickpea omelets because it both cuts through the chickpea flavor a bit as well as makes the omelet crisp up better at the edges.
  • Shallots (or red onions). Onions used in India are much like shallots, which have a more garlicky flavor than red onions. I love using them in omelettes, but you can just use red onions instead.
  • Green chili peppers. A jalapeno or serrano pepper would work here. I’d add two small jalapenos, but use less if you want less heat in your dish, and be sure to deseed the peppers. Also remember that there is some spice in the gravy as well.
  • Cilantro or coriander leaves. These add fresh, herby flavor to the Indian style omelet.
  • Ground cumin. Optional, but really nice here.
  • Salt to taste.

For the xacuti “ros” or gravy:

  • Shallots and/or red onions: These are used twice in the gravy, and add immense flavor.
  • Curry spices, including cinnamon sticks (dalchini), green cardamom (ilaichi), cloves (laung) and black peppercorns (kali mirch): Together, these spices, often used to create spicy, fragrant curry bases, make a flavorsome base for the xacuti ros.
  • Coriander seeds (dhaniya): Coriander seeds add lemony flavor and depth to the curry.
  • Cumin seeds (jeera): These add deep, earthy fragrance and taste.
  • Fennel seeds (saunf): Fennel seeds, with their unique, licorice-like flavor, add depth to meaty curries made along the Konkan coast, where Goa is located.
  • Kashmiri red chili peppers: Use any dry red chili peppers that add color but are only mildly hot, if you cannot source these. Ancho chilis are a good option.
  • Poppy seeds. Another common ingredient in Konkani curries, poppy seeds add creaminess and a pop of flavor.
  • Stoneflower (dagad phool, optional). Stone flower, an edible fungi, is not as common an ingredient as some more familiar spices, but it adds a unique, earthy, smoky fragrance to curries and is an ingredient well worth getting familiar with if you love full-bodied Indian curries. It’s easily available at Indian stores and online.
  • Tomatoes. Vinegar and tamarind are usually the “souring” agents used to balance out curries in Goa, but tomatoes are often used in xacuti and that’s what we’ll use here.
  • Ginger garlic paste. An almost indispensible ingredient in most Indian curries. If you don’t have a ginger garlic paste, make one for this recipe by pounding or blending together six cloves of garlic with a one-inch knob of ginger.
  • Mushrooms. You can make the ros without any veggies, but I like subbing the meat you might find here with a toothsome veggie like mushrooms. I used dry shiitake mushrooms, which I reconstituted, and they add a really nice texture, especially if you are serving this dish to a meat-eater or trying to satisfy a craving. You can use fresh portobello or crimini mushrooms, or leave out the veggies altogether.
  • Coconut milk. Fresh coconut is a common Goan food ingredient because the state sits right along the western Indian coast, where coconut grows abundantly. You can use fresh coconut, toast it with the onions and spices if you do, or use coconut milk as I did. This makes the gravy really velvety.
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Helpful tips for making the Ros Omelette

  • Make the ros or gravy for the ros omelet first, and make the omelette just before serving. So if you want to make part of this dish ahead, I’d advise making the gravy even a day or two in advance and refrigerating it. But mix the ingredients for and make the omelette the day you plan to cook it.
  • Make the gravy thin. That’s just how the economics of street food work and we want to be authentic here. Also a thin gravy soaks into the omelet better than a thick one would so it just makes more sense.
  • Eat the ros omelet hot. We Indians love most of our foods served hot and street food is no exception (with the exception of chaat foods like bhel). Spicy dishes are just more appetizing and taste better when eaten hot. If you make the gravy beforehand, reheat it before serving.

FAQs

The spice ingredient list is long. Can I use garam masala instead?

The short answer is yes, but there’s a rider.
While many of the ingredients here can be found in a garam masala, the proportions are all quite different. Garam masala also doesn’t usually have poppy seeds added. For an authentic taste, it is best to make this recipe from scratch. But if garam masala is all you have or are willing to use, you can add about two tablespoons of it instead of the other spices. Add it to the blender along with the tomatoes and roasted onions. As garam masala is pre-roasted, you don’t need to roast it again.

How can I store the ros omelet?

You can refrigerate the ros or curry for up to four days, and freeze it for longer periods.
Make the chickpea omelet batter fresh, however, as it doesn’t keep well for longer than a day. Also don’t precook the omelets–make them just before serving. They hardly take any time to put together.

How to make ros omelette

  • To make the xacuti gravy, begin by chopping the reconstituted mushrooms into quarters. Discard any hard stems, but retain the soaking water, which makes a wonderful stock for the xacuti.
  • Next toast the whole spices–the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, red chili peppers, black peppercorns, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds — in a teaspoon of oil until they are a couple of shades darker and very fragrant. Add the stoneflower or dagad phool too, if using.
  • Add the onion and poppy seeds to the skillet and roast over medium-high heat until the onion starts to brown, about two minutes. Take care not to burn the spices and stir-fry constantly.
  • Remove the spices to a plate, let them cool, then add to the blender along with tomatoes. Blend into a smooth paste. Set aside.



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