Forget all your preconceived ideas about omelettes. Although this egg-based dish may well have originated in France, don't forget the similar variations that other countries have to offer; The Italian frittata, the Spanish tortilla, the Tunisian brik. Well this particular 'omelette style' dish happens to hail from China.
Instead of being fried in an omelette pan with a small knob of butter, this version is deep fried in a wok. The filling is added, the omelette folded and the excess oil drained away. The texture and appearance of the finished product is sensational. Do not let the amount of oil used in this dish alarm you. The secret is to ensure the oil is super hot so the omelette immediately puffs up and does not absorb the oil. I have tweaked the original flavour a little by adding the Thai flavours of coriander, palm sugar and lime. Feel free to add other ingredients, just not cheese please. Traditionally crabmeat or shredded cooked chicken would be used.
A word of warning. A wok is essential to the success of this recipe, as its shape helps to form the base of the omelette. Try to use a rounded bottom wok, rather than the flat-bottomed type. Only try this recipe if you feel confident in the kitchen as it involves moving very quickly with large quantities of very hot oil. Please be extremely careful, the smoking hot oil will inflict faint-inducing agony and permanent scarring if spilled.
2 free range eggs
1/2 quantity of Thai pepper coriander paste
1 handful bean sprouts
1 Tbs palm sugar, shaved
1 Tbs kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) or oyster sauce
2 Tbs coriander leaves
1 lime, quartered
Beat the eggs with the coriander paste and pass through a strainer into a small bowl. Place the bean sprouts on a small plate in a neat bundle and scatter with the palm sugar and kecap manis.
Pour oil into your wok to a depth of 5 cm (2 in) and place over high heat. Have handy a large empty saucepan for you to tip the hot oil into. Do not attempt to cook until all the ingredients are at the ready.
Once the oil has started smoking and the oil's surface is shimmering, agitate the wok slightly using a kitchen towel or oven mit over your hand. With your free hand, tip the egg mix into the hot oil from a height of 15 cm (6 in). Be careful! Pour very gently and in a thin stream. The egg will immediately puff up. Working quickly, use a kitchen spatula to spread the omelette out a little, and then top with the bean sprout mix. Carefully fold the sides of the omelette over the bean sprouts, then tip away all the hot oil into the waiting saucepan, using the spatula to hold the omelette back. Place the omelette on a waiting plate to drain any excess oil.
To serve, cut the omelette into 4 and place on a serving platter. Scatter with the coriander and garnish with the lime to squeeze over. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.