Balaleet (Sweet Vermicelli and Eggs)

  • Serves

    serves 8


Served as a breakfast dish and also for dessert, this Indian-influenced sweet pasta is fried and topped with a saffron omelette, making it crunchy, sweet, tender, and savory all at once. This recipe first appeared in SAVEUR Issue #140 along with Anissa Helou's story Breaking the Fast.


  • 8 oz. whole wheat capellini pasta
  • 14 cup sugar
  • 12 tsp. saffron
  • 7 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 cups canola oil
  • 12 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 12 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 12 tsp. curry powder
  • 12 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 12 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 12 tsp. rose water
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Kosher salt, to taste


Step 1

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add pasta; cook until half-cooked, about 4 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl; add sugar and toss until dissolved. Set aside. Meanwhile, stir together 1⁄4 tsp. saffron and 2 tbsp. warm water in a small bowl; let sit for 10 minutes.

Step 2

Heat 3 tbsp. butter and the oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat; add cardamom, cinnamon, curry powder, pepper, turmeric, and bay leaves, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add pasta and toss to coat evenly with spiced butter; spread out into an even layer, drizzle evenly with saffron-water mixture and rose water, and cook, without stirring, until toasted, about 15 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until toasted on opposite side, about 15 minutes more. Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm.

Step 3

Return skillet to heat and add remaining butter; add remaining saffron and eggs, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring gently to form an omelette, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Cut omelette into wedges and serve over toasted pasta; serve immediately.

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