Achari Anda is not a traditional Bengali dish. Wonder how many of us have grown up having this?
As a Bengali, what are the different kinds of egg dishes you have had growing up? For a perfectly healthy bonny child, the introduction to eggs start with soft boiled eggs, moving on to hard boiled eggs, neatly cut into slices for better management and and least amount of wastage. A little older and this continued in the breakfast as well as the tiffin box. My conservative parents always thought that carrying eggs with books in the same bag will have a negative impact on my higher studies, hence I never got one in my lunch for tiffin but gladly shared, snatched and flicked from my friends’ lunch boxes for umpteen times.
Till teenage, it used to boiled eggs or a poach (realised this way later that by poach, Bongs always meant the half fried egg) on a regular basis. The preference of runniness of the yolk used to vary from person to person. Ma hated a runny yolk herself, whereas Baba and I loved it. Just loved it. There is an art in managing the runny yolk and passing on the same to your mouth without breaking it. Like most art, this needs to be perfected over hours of practice. In our house, whenever either Baba or I would have accidentally messed up the same, Ma would go ballistic since the stink of the yolk would take several washes to go off from the plates. As a disciplinary action for the next seven days, we would only get boiled eggs. Sometimes for lunch, boiled eggs used to be added to mashed potatoes, especially on Sundays which was extraordinarily comforting when had with some dal and steaming white rice.
Omelette is a biggest saviour for many households. When there is nothing to offer to the guests, offer an omelette. Beaten up egg with chopped onions and green chilies is divine. It is almost impossible to notice when someone is making an omelette in the kitchen, even if you are seated far away, simply from the sound of the beating of the eggs. And they say not everyone can make an omelette. In the movie, The 100 Foot Journey, Madame Mallory (owner of a Michelin Star restaurant) hires chefs on the basis of their omelette making skills. My boromami (aunt) is the omelette stalwart of the family. It is folklore in the family that no one has ever come back from her home without having an omelette. She brought in her own style of omelette to the family. And even now, after 36 years that she has been whiffing up the omelettes, it is still a mystery how she prepares it. Not overly fluffy, yet soft with evenly spread out onions and chilies in the entire circle and is a complete crowd pleaser.
How can one forget the French toast? Slices of breads, doused in beaten eggs with chopped onions and spices and then fried, has been a favourite snack at home as well as at office para. Of course, the French would have a heart attack after having the Indian version of the sweet breakfast classic.
When it comes to lunch or dinner, dimer jhol is second to none. Quick easy recipe with cubed potatoes and boiled eggs which are fried before hand, can be a had with both roti and rice. There is also an omelette jhol which is my Ma’s favourite. The omelette is folded into layers and then cut into pieces before dropping it into a simmering light onion gravy. A dimer jhaal is the one which has a thick rich gravy made with mustard paste, red in colour and preferred to be eaten a bit dry with rice and perhaps a close one to Achari Anda.
Perhaps the best role that egg has played in a Bengali’s life is that of the dim bhaja with khichudi. Did I miss out on any egg dish for the Bengali’s? I am sure I have since every household has their version too. Which is your favourite egg dish? Let me know in comments