Desi Omelet with Tomato and Scallions
Throw the French rulebook out the window and make my Pakistani mom’s star breakfast dish brimming with tomatoes, onions, and heaps of fresh cilantro.
Welcome to SAVEUR’s column on how to cook local produce according to our test kitchen manager, Fatima Khawaja. This is where you’ll find creative, unfussy meal ideas plus plenty of cooking advice—like what to do with that bumper crop of zucchini or how to store delicate heirloom tomatoes. Every other week, Fatima hits the farmers market and chooses a peak-season ingredient to explore in depth. Follow along, and you’ll learn how to turn the season’s bounty into easy plant-based meals that’ll be on the table in under an hour.
During lockdown, when life was so monotonous that we were growing scallions in water glasses, I rekindled my love for a dish my mom made for me growing up in Pakistan: the Desi omelet. In our house, scallions were exclusively a breakfast ingredient, sizzled up with tomatoes and chiles, folded into beaten eggs, and fried.
A far cry from French and American omelets, the Desi (South Asian) omelet spends a surprising amount of time in the pan. It’s deep brown and blistery in spots yet still soft and tender. As a kid, I’d savor it with a paratha, the shards of dough going everywhere as I tore into it with my hands.
These days, scallions are in many of my favorite recipes. As a line cook in New York City, I learned to cook them whole: We’d serve the charred stalks with steak, or chop them up to make smoky, oniony salsas.
I also learned how to source and store them: Good scallions should be bright, crisp, and slime-free. They keep best in the refrigerator, wrapped in a damp paper towel tucked into a zip-top bag, or in a glass partially filled with water. If the outer layers look iffy, peel them away and give the stalks a good rinse.
I use whole scallions (whites and greens) in my omelets, but feel free to play around. Add some turmeric for color, or cumin for aroma, or skip the green chiles if spice isn’t for you. Just don’t skip the crispy scallions—they really make the dish.
- 4 large eggs
- ½ tsp. Indian-style red chile powder, or cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ¼ cup vegetable oil, divided
- 2 plum tomatoes, finely chopped (1 cup)
- 3 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced (⅓ cup)
- 2 small green chiles, such as bird’s-eye, seeded and finely chopped
- 3 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
- Toasted bread or paratha