Potato Parsley and Birista Frittata
My sister recently got back from India and with her, my mother sent me a big stash of yummy, crispy, fragrant Birista. What the heck is Birista you ask? It is crunchy deep-fried onions that are used widely in Bohra cooking. Bohra is the name of the Muslim sub-sect that I was raised in and it is an Indian sub-culture that has its own unique cuisine and food traditions, influenced by Arab and Indian styles of cooking. Read all about the Bohra culture here and how to make the perfect Birista over at my friend Kulsum’s blog.
I’ve been finding excuses to eat Birista with every meal. The beauty of fried onions is that they go with any meal – a garnish on any dish, an attractive addition on plain rice or khichdi, on top of eggs, a crunchy addition to sandwiches and it even glams up the simple daal-chawal (rice and lentils). Even in cooking, the Birista is really versatile and can be used in place of fresh onions in the curry base to prepare meat dishes.
So, yesterday, when I found myself searching the pantry and fridge for something to eat for lunch, all I found was half a boiled potato, a few eggs and some fresh parsley. Inspired by Julia Child’s method of browning potatoes in a skillet, and an imaginative concoction of eggs and Birista, I made this Potato, Parsley and Birista Fritatta. I ate it for lunch and when eaten with some store-bought hummus, it made a fancy and delicious meal in itself. I suppose serving it for dinner or brunch would also be a great idea, considering how easy it is to make.
Here’s how you make it:
You will need (serves 1 very hungry person or 2 moderately hungry people ;)):
- 1 medium sized heavy-bottom oven proof non-stick skillet
- 1 large potato, boiled and sliced thin
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced (alternatively, you could use garlic powder)
- Any cooking oil
- 2 large eggs
- Fresh chopped parsley
- a splash of milk
- Your favorite shredded cheese
- Some Birista
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cayenne pepper powder
- Heat about 3 tbsp of oil in the skillet. Once heated, swirl the oil around in the pan to make sure it properly coats the sides and bottom of the skillet.
- Place the sliced potatoes in a circle first around the edges of the skillet and then the center, to form a sort of circle of sliced potato on the bottom of the frying pan. (Here, you could use raw sliced potatoes, but cooking time would accordingly increase. Boiling them beforehand makes the meal faster to make). Sprinkle the minced garlic over the potatoes and season with salt , pepper and cayenne pepper. Allow the potatoes to brown from one side on medium to high heat, pressing down with a non-stick turner.
- Flip the potatoes over once browned from one side, and season again, while pressing down with the turner.
- While the potatoes brown, whisk the eggs, milk, parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl.
- When the potatoes are well browned and crisp from both sides, pour the egg mixture over the potatoes. Immediately, shake the skillet gently to make sure the egg settles between the potatoes and to the bottom of the skillet. Lower the heat, cover the skillet and allow the eggs to cook slowly. Occasionally, keep shaking the skillet to make sure the eggs don’t stick to the bottom of the skillet.
- The eggs will be almost cooked when you see that the sides are cooked but the middle of the skillet still has some raw egg. Sprinkle some cheese and birista over the eggs at this point, cover with a lid again and let it cook till you see very little raw egg on the top.
- Finally, place the skillet 4-5 inches under a hot broiler on high in your oven to allow the top of the frittata to cook and brown. Allow to cook for about 3-4 minutes or until the eggs are cooked completely.
- Serve immediately and garnish with some crispy birista. You can serve it with a dollop of hummus or sour cream.