The flavour of Kolkata

The flavour of Kolkata
The city is known for its old alleys. One such is shot by Atanu Pal.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Street food: Bread omelette

Mumbai has vada pav. We have dim pnauruti (in Bengali).

It’s called bread omelette in Indian English. I saw it called ‘eggy bread’ by a blogger from New Zealand who discovered it on her trip to Kolkata.

It is one street food which can make your light breakfast, gives you an option for a quick lunch, is the perfect afternoon snack, even a late evening snack when you are going home from work late and every place is shut. Whenever one is terribly hungry, it is one option that can be availed right away. I once heard from a colleague that it made the dinner for their family midnight at Shyambazar when their invitation had gone wrong. It is that versatile!

It is available in many other Indian cities. I am not aware of the popularity of this dish or the residents’ dependence on it elsewhere, but Kolkata survives on it. There will hardly be places in Kolkata where you can’t find it. Typically tea shops that keep bread and egg make it, and there are standalone shops making it as well.

Yet it is absolutely underrated! When it comes to recalling popular street foods, it never pops up. It’s so possibly because it’s such a simple food that we don’t consider it worthy of mentioning. It’s that younger son in the family who earns less and runs errands for the family. The family depends on him heavily but won’t ever recognize his contribution. Look at the cult status vada pav has attained in Mumbai, then look back at the humble bread omelette in Kolkata.

It is one of the simplest foods to make- an omelette is made in a saucepan and two slices of ordinary long bread are (the cheapest commercial bread in the city) put on it when it is just set. Then it is turned over for a minute or so. The omelette is folded around the bread and served with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Customization instructions from customers include not to put chilli or sliced onion in the egg before beating it. It is generally cut into pieces before serving or packing. It is routinely taken away to offices as it’s popular among officegoers.

 Dim Pnauruti aka Bread Omlette

Don’t confuse it with French toast. It has its independent identity.

It indeed is what we fashionably call ‘Health food’, which we hardly realize, and is an easy option to get when we rack our brains to find a healthy food to eat.

And it is inexpensive. Anyone from any economic class can afford it. Little wonder its popularity cuts across sections of people- from the school student to the daily wage earner to the executive with a laptop. It sells at around Rs 14 on the streets. Because of its wide availability especially in tea shops, it can save your day at the time of a strike while all eateries are shut but an odd tea shop is open.

So, for all this and more, here is a salute and lots of love to our very own dim pnauruti aka bread omelette. Long live!

#StreetFood #KolkataFood

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