Banjo with Egglands eggs

 

 

As an adult, some of us are fortunate enough to be able to buy whatever we need – the necessities and some luxuries – for a happy existence, and I have truly been blessed in that regard. Still, there is something uniquely thrilling about a receiving a gift. The joy of opening the parcel, unwrapping the package, the eagerness to see what’s inside- that excitement beats little else.

I have heard the line, ‘what do I give, they have everything they need’ so many times that it drives me batty. Gift is not about need, it’s about thoughtfulness, excitement, and yes, getting something new not bought by the individual concerned. Same goes for winning a hamper, even if that hamper contains things you already have multiples of.

 

 

Two weeks ago Jill from Kitchen Fun with my 3 sons wrote to me that I had won a Giveaway. A few days later, one afternoon last week, while I was fiddling away with my laptop as usual, my 9 yr old came to inform me that the doorbell had rung, and he thought it was his friend, our neighbor’s kid. I gave him permission to open the door. He came back a few minutes later with a sad look on his face because it wasn’t his friend at the door after all. “It’s only a parcel,’ his voice was anything but enthusiastic. So you can imagine the shocked look he gave me when I literally flew off the sofa to fetch it. My very first giveaway hamper!!

 

 

I am still so not over it. Thank you Jill for hosting the Giveaway, and thank you Egg-land’s Best for the wonderful gifts in the hamper.

So now, I had to make something special with my already bought Eggland’s eggs from our local grocery store.I love these eggs. Not only they are cage free, but rich in Omega 3 and rich nutrients, and absolutely delicious. They are a tad pricier, but looking at the health benefits, they are so worth it.

 

recipe with Eggland's Best eggs

 

About two decades ago, when my husband was an Engineering student, he often visited his Aunt who lived in the Indian city of Indore. There, he frequented an eatery where a vendor fed him something that was called ‘Banjo’. After we met, which was sometime after he had left his student life behind, he waxed eloquent about it at every opportunity he got. He even tried replicating it a couple of times. That’s when I figured out that whatever this ‘banjo’ was, it consisted of eggs and bread. To me it looked like a plain omelet squished between two pieces of bread.

 

 

What’s so great about it? I soon found out when we visited the city and the glorified banjo maker. I wasn’t too far off the mark. It was indeed an omelet pressed between two pieces of wheat buns which are known as ‘pao’ in the local language. Not very different from the American version of Egg and ham sandwich, or an egg muffin sandwich.The first thing that struck me was the crowd waiting to have smoking hot banjos. The expert banjo maker was working at a speed that would put our pro Iron chefs to shame.

He was a street side vendor, and he had two large stoves burning. One had a large grill toasting up potato patties and wheat buns liberally drizzled with oil. The other had a large omelet skillet. He cracked open four large eggs in a bowl, tossed in some spices, cilantro and julienned ginger and hand stirred it while oil smoked in the pan.He poured in the eggs and fried it well till the omelet was nice and crisp. The important part is, the omelet is cooked on both sides, and the way to do it turn it over like you would do to a pancake. After some more drizzling of oil, he folded the omelet, cut it into three pieces, and sandwiched it between the oil toasted buns, making 3 sandwiches. He then topped the eggs with onions, lots of ketchup and handed the sanwiches over with a grace that belied the fast movement of his hands.

 

Egg Banjo

 

It tasted greasy, and glorious. It was everything that you should not eat – a whipped up fantasy of  large spicy omelet seasoned with exotic spices, with some vegetables folded into it, dripping in oil and pressed between two fresh pieces of oil fried breads. So why call it Banjo? The vendor was as clueless as I was. ‘Everyone calls this Banjo Mam’, was his candid answer to my query.

I was curious enough to look up its origins. It definitely had something do with the instrument of banjo. But what? What could a musical instrument that is not too common in India have in common with a street food that is now a specialty of a city?

What I found was truly interesting. According to wiki, “During World War 2, a popular filling snack with British troops was an “egg banjo”, a sandwich of 2 thick slices of bread (buttered or with margarine where possible) enclosing a runny fried egg, accompanied by a mug of “gunfire” (hot, strong, sweetened tea with milk). The term ‘Banjo’ coming from the actions taken when one bit into it. The yolk would drip down onto ones chest, and the sandwich would be held out to the side with one hand whilst the other hand would rub at the drips using the fingers. This gave the impression of playing an invisible banjo.

Maybe the vendor’s ancestors had something to do with those British soldiers? Was he a soldier? Did he drive carriages for them? Maybe he polished their guns, or carried their luggage. Maybe he simply became friends with a British soldier who taught him how to eat eggs with bread, or cooked for one who instructed him to cook the ‘egg banjo’. Brits have left an astounding amount of legacy in the Indian sub continent. That an omelet be a part of it, hardly surprising. Hmnn..don’t you just love these little bits and pieces of mysterious history of mankind in general, and food in particular?

While you ponder on that heavy philosophical question, let me go and whip up some light fluffy healthier version of banjo.

5.0 from 2 reviews

Banjo with Egglands eggs
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
 
Ingredients
  • 4 Large eggs (I used Eggland’s best cage free Omega 3 eggs)
  • ¼ cup cilantro finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp water
  • a pinch of cumin seeds
  • few strips of julienned ginger
  • ¼ tsp red chili pepper
  • a dash of turmeric powder
  • 2 Thai chilies chopped (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 hamburger wheat buns or bread of your choice
  • 2 tsp olive oil for drizzle
  • Olive Oil Spray (I use Pam)
Garnish
  • Sliced red onions
  • Tomato ketchup
  • sliced tomatoes (optional)
Instructions
  1. Crack the eggs in a bowl and mix in all the ingredients except for the buns and oil. Beat it till smooth but not too frothy.
  2. Heal a large girdle or skillet
  3. Coat it well with Pam olive oil spray
  4. Pour the eggs, and let it spread till takes on your desired shape. Fry it well on one side. Drizzle oil on the sides so that the ends don’t stick to the pan. Fry for 1 minute or so till it’s firm.
  5. Turn it over gently with a large flat spatula, taking care not to break it.
  6. Fry for 30 seconds, turn it back over again.
  7. Fold the omelet over. Slice it into 3 pieces.
Buns
  1. Drizzle some pam on a skillet and pan toast the buns till light golden
To assemble
  1. Remove the buns and place the omelet, one bun at a time.
  2. Top it with sliced onions and tomato ketchup
  3. Bite into juicy, delicious egg sandwich that is so fondly called ‘banjo’.

** This post is my way of saying Thank you to Eggland’s Best for their generous gift hamper. All opinions are of my own.

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Bobbi’s Cozy Kitchen

38 comments for “Banjo with Egglands eggs

  1. CCU
    August 6, 2012 at 2:07 AM

    I agree with you my friend, gifts are for thought not price or item itself :)
    Congrats on winning the Giveaway how exciting!
    Your eggs dish looks delicious and a perfect tribute :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    • August 6, 2012 at 11:46 AM

      Thank you Uru!!

  2. August 6, 2012 at 5:05 AM

    Congratulations on your hamper!

    …but it’s your Banjo that I love. I make this sandwich often but I never knew it had a name.
    Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef recently posted..Thank You Mr. BillMy Profile

    • August 6, 2012 at 11:47 AM

      You are so sweet Maureen :)

  3. August 6, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Congrats on the giveaway! I never heard of banjo, but then again I wasn’t allowed to eat any street food when we visited India :(. That was a bummer because everything looked so good off a street stall.

    The sandwich looks delicious!

    I have been so busy with Ramadan that I haven’t visited any blog friends or even updated mine, I am sneaking in a few minutes before I get busy again.

    Nazneen xx
    Nazneen | Coffee and Crumpets recently posted..Ataif bil Ashta~Cream Stuffed Arabic PancakesMy Profile

    • August 6, 2012 at 5:18 PM

      Hey Nazneen, good to see you! I gathered you must be really busy, haven’t seen you in a while. Welcome back!

  4. August 6, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    Yay for winning a great giveaway! I love getting packages delivered, it always feels like a gift-even if I ordered it myself :)

    The Banjo looks delish! All the spices sound great
    Erin @ Recimplicity recently posted..Hiking Along the Blue Ridge ParkwayMy Profile

    • August 6, 2012 at 5:19 PM

      Thank you Erin!

  5. August 7, 2012 at 12:42 AM

    interesting name and more interesting is the reason behind that name. thank you so much for the recipe, i am going to try that. if i keep visiting your blog, i will become a non-vegetarian again.

    the gifts in these pictures look awesome!!!

    • August 7, 2012 at 9:24 AM

      Yay! Now I am sure that is not going to be THAT bad a thing!

  6. August 7, 2012 at 7:56 AM

    Great writing Minnie! This is my favourite paragraph “It tasted greasy, and glorious. It was everything that you should not eat – a whipped up fantasy of large spicy omelet seasoned with exotic spices, with some vegetables folded into it, dripping in oil and pressed between two fresh pieces of oil fried breads.”
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella recently posted..Gilt Brooch & Button CookiesMy Profile

    • August 7, 2012 at 9:25 AM

      Awww thanks so much Lorraine! You made my day! XOXO

  7. August 8, 2012 at 9:35 PM

    What a great story. And I absolutely agree – it’s SO fun to get a package delivered! You did a great job with the eggs!
    the wicked noodle recently posted..prosciutto, peaches & a balsamic glazeMy Profile

    • August 9, 2012 at 8:10 AM

      Thanks Kristy! So good to see you :))

  8. August 9, 2012 at 12:36 AM

    Congratulations on winning! This banjo sandwich looks so delicious!
    Asmita recently posted..Cream Cheese PuffsMy Profile

    • August 9, 2012 at 8:11 AM

      Welcome Asmita! Thank you so much :))

  9. August 9, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    Wow, that sandwich sounds really good. Must make it soon.
    Andrea @ Recipes For Divine Living recently posted..Rosemary-Gruyere BunsMy Profile

    • August 14, 2012 at 5:36 PM

      Thank you Andrea! Do tell how you like it.

  10. August 9, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    What a fabulous sandwich! Looks divine! Have a great week sweetie!
    serena bakes simply from scratch recently posted..A Little Trip To MauiMy Profile

    • August 14, 2012 at 5:37 PM

      Thanks Serena for stopping by!

  11. August 10, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    I totally agree, gifts are not about need..they are all about the emotion and the thought that goes into them.
    I love the sandwich and loved your excitment about winning the giveaway..I would have been super excited if it was me
    Sawsan (Chef in disguise) recently posted..Gluten free, grain free nutty chocolate granolaMy Profile

    • August 14, 2012 at 5:43 PM

      Yup:)) Thanks Sawsan!

  12. August 10, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    Congratulations on winning! I also get really excited opening packages. Even if I know what’s in it. Even when I buy it for myself on amazon. It’s just like a mini present to me :)
    This looks delicious! Spicy omelet sandwich? Count me in :)
    ATasteOfMadness recently posted..Healthy Double Chocolate Chip Cookie DoughMy Profile

    • August 14, 2012 at 5:41 PM

      Thank you so much!!!

  13. August 13, 2012 at 6:22 AM

    It’s the reverse as well Minnie – we have so many “Indianisms” in British culture now too… both from delicious food, or Indian-influenced Britsh food, like kedgeree, to the words we use.

    I love the sound of the dish… the name is so cute!

    • August 14, 2012 at 5:40 PM

      Yes Charles, that’s true too. I have heard ‘Butter Chicken’ being the most popular dish in England! I have a Brit friend who cooks amazing Indian food, and knows her spices so well.

  14. August 13, 2012 at 8:12 AM

    Congrats! It’s so much fun to win a giveaway. This sandwich looks delicious!
    Jen @ Savory Simple recently posted..Tomato Pesto BitesMy Profile

    • August 14, 2012 at 5:39 PM

      hank you Jen!

  15. Mireya @myhealthyeatinghabits
    August 13, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Hi Minnie,

    Thank you for that wonderful bit of food lore. I love stories that tell about the origin of a particular food. It somehow makes me appreciate the dish more.
    Mireya @myhealthyeatinghabits recently posted..Kale Salad with Peanut SauceMy Profile

    • August 14, 2012 at 5:37 PM

      Thank you so much Mireya!

  16. October 19, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    Thanks so much for sharing this on Manic Monday Minnie :) Tweeted and pinned and am still drooling :) hope to see you next week!!
    Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen recently posted..White Wine Braised ChickenMy Profile

    • October 19, 2012 at 8:02 PM

      You are welcome Bobbi!!! Thank you so much for the opportunity. I will definitely be there :D

  17. July 5, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    Someone asked a question about banjo on a facebook forum and I was like wait a minute I have eaten that in Indore. But had no idea about a recipe. Found yours by googling .. and helped him out too.. guess this is breakfast tomorrow !
    Ansh | Spiceroots recently posted..Baked Doughnuts with Chocolate GlazeMy Profile

    • July 5, 2013 at 10:42 PM

      That is awesome!!! It continues to be a craze in m house…maybe next time I visit Indore, I am going to pay a very close attention to what all they add…but the spices here possibly replicate what I saw last time I visited. Hope it turns out well for you guys.

  18. July 26, 2013 at 8:09 AM

    Reminds me of a breakfast sub from subway!
    muslimahdelights recently posted..BorekMy Profile

  19. Anjali
    July 31, 2013 at 9:37 PM

    Hello, just found this recipe on google after telling a friend about these amazing egg sandwiches we get on the street in Indore. We only go to India every 3-5 years, but my brother and I talk about them all the time. As soon as we land in Indore, it is the first place we want to go. I’ve tried to make them at home before, but never get it quite right. I will have to try out your recipe. Thanks for posting!

    • August 13, 2013 at 7:20 AM

      You are so welcome. I have found this to be a hot favorite amongst all Indore-vasi :) Enjoy!

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