Saturday, 5 July 2014

Costa Rican Cheese Omelette with Saffron & Bell Pepper Sauce

I know there has been a brief hiatus as far as our World Cup Special Series is concerned. But that's because, I have been cooking other stuff, what with a string of guests visiting this last week. But today is a good day for the next post on the series. Why?  Costa Rica is my favourite team from Group D. And in tonight's quarter finals Costa Rica faces Netherlands. There is a slight problem though. Netherlands is one my favourites too. Until today, all my favourite teams have been winning. Tonight is tricky though. On the one hand Netherland faces Costa Rica on the other Argentina meets Belgium. This food series is getting me all confused!

Anyway, while working on this series there are a few challenges I am faced with. I realise I have a proclivity for Latin American football/teams! And Latin American food is largely influenced by Spanish cuisine. There are numerous dishes that are cooked and loved with equal zest is multiple countries across the South Americas. And to find something distinctly different is a bit of a challenge. And that especially due to the non-availability of ingredients.

Take for instance this recipe - Costa Rican Cheese Omelette with Annato Sauce. I came across this recipe in a book titled The New Costa Rican Cuisine by Isabel Campabadal. The original recipe calls for a few ingredients which are not available in Calcutta, not even in New Market. The only other way would have been to order them online but then the items would have reached me just a little early for the next world cup.Yeah I am exaggerating. But at least this world cup would have been over by the time the ingredients got to me.

The instant corn flour required for the omelette caused much confusion. The guy at the grocery store I frequent insisted that the packed of corn starch he was handing me was the only corn flour that there is. We were on the verge of a fight when the store owner intervened and handed me a packed of corn meal. They had not heard of instant corn masa and I had to settle for regular corn meal. Again the sauce requires Annato seeds, hence the name, but that's hard to find here too. The Annato seeed is mainly used as a colouring agent and hardly has an effect on the taste. And this one I had figured while making the Ecuadorean bread soup, so I substituted it with saffron in the sauce, which I am now calling Saffon and bell pepper sauce. Can't call it Annato when there is no Annato.

I took a few other liberties too with the original recipe but I am pretty pleased with the ultimate result. Have it for breakfast or a quick dinner, this one is  for keeps.


For the omlette
Corn meal - 1 cup
Grated Mozzarella cheese - 3/4 cup
Large eggs - 2
Milk-1/2 cup
Baking powder - 1/3 tsp
Salt and pepper to tast

For the sauce 
Butter - 100 g
Chopped Red Bell pepper- 1/2 cup
Minced onion - 2 tbsp
A pinch of nutmeg powder
Salt and pepper
Milk- 1 cup
Flour- 1 tsp (heaped)
A pinch of saffron


In a bowl mix corn meal, cheese, milk, salt and pepper and eggs. Make sure there aren't any lumps.

On a plan heat oil/shortening, make the omelettes on a low flame, slowly.. You can either make one bog omelette and slice it or make a number of small ones!.

In a pan heat 25 g butter, add the onion mince and fry until it catches colour and add the bell peppers. Fry until bell pepper softens. Remove from heat and keep.

In a separate pan, heat the remaining butter. Add flour, followed by nutmeg powder, salt and pepper.

Now add the milk and saffron, and simmer until sauce thickens. Keep stirring though!

Stir in the onion and bell pepper, mix and pour the sauce on your omelettes.

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