There is a special tradition in Parsi homes, performed when a new-born grandchild or a recently-married son/daughter-in-law visits our house for the first time.
Over the years, I’ve watched my mom do this often as she greets the new ‘family-addition’ at the door; a small tray in hand filled with one uncooked egg, raw rice grains and a small glass of water. Holding the egg in her hand, she waves it around the person’s head 7 times, then cracks the egg in one corner of the doorway (my role was to make sure there was a newspaper laid out to crack the egg on, for easy clean up.)
As kids, we enjoyed this tradition immensely, especially if dad was around to joke that mom had ‘used-up his precious egg, which he planned to have for breakfast’. My mom still follows this tradition and now, it’s my kids who watch it with avid interest.
So you see, I was absolutely serious when I said it in this article…we, the Parsis, love our eggs and not just for eating purposes.
This brings me back to the topic of food…Well-beaten eggs spread over Indian-style vegetables (called ‘per eeda’ which literally means ‘eggs on’) is a common Parsi delicacy, enjoyed with crusty or toasted bread. We have a ‘per eeda’ version with potatoes, tomatoes, okra, spinach, fenugreek leaves…and a kiddies’ favorite, eggs on chips.
I believe in the power of threes and here is my third Parsi-style egg-based recipe (the other two are here and here.) Potato and pea frittata is my take on the much-loved Parsi classic, ‘papeta per eeda’ (eggs on potatoes). While traditionally, there are no peas in this dish, I like the green texture it adds and the cheddar cheese gives a special taste to this recipe.
Though we generally serve ‘papeta per eeda’ as an entrée or side; it’s perfect for breakfast and brunch.
Serves 4-6 • Hands-on cook time- 25 minutes
2 large potatoes (about 2 lbs), thinly sliced
1/3 cup frozen peas
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste* or 2 cloves minced garlic/ ¼ inch grated ginger
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or red chili powder
¾ -1 teaspoon salt
5 seasoned and well beaten eggs
2 tablespoons milk
¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons cilantro
*Click here for a ginger garlic paste recipe.
Heat the canola oil in a skillet over medium heat. Toss in the potatoes and ginger garlic paste, cook for about 3-4 minutes till the potatoes are heated through. Sprinkle the spices and salt, cook for another 2 minutes. Add ½ cup of water, cook covered till the potatoes are almost done and the water has dried out. Mix the peas with the potatoes.
In a bowl, bring together the well-beaten seasoned eggs, milk, cheddar cheese and cilantro. Flatten the potato and peas in the pan with the back of your spoon and spread the eggs mixture over it. Cover and let the eggs set for about 10 minutes. Make sure the eggs cook on a low flame so that the potatoes don’t get too charred at the base of the pan. Uncover and serve hot with tomato ketchup/sauce and crusty bread or dinner rolls.