Cha om is a herb-like vegetable with a very strong, somewhat unpleasant smell that disappears once it is cooked. You can find it Asian supermarkets.
- 1 cup young cha om leaves, finely chopped (see Note)
- 6 eggs
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 2 tsp white sugar
- 125 ml (½ cup) olive, vegetable or canola oil
Chilli dipping sauce
- 6 large garlic cloves
- ¼ cup red bird’s-eye chillies
- 4–5 small green chillies
- 2 tbsp pea eggplant
- 2 tbsp shrimp paste, or to taste
- 1 large lim, juiced
- 2 tbsp white sugar
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make the chilli dipping sauce, pound the garlic and chillies using a mortar and pestle until fine (the finer it is, the hotter it becomes). Pound in the pea eggplant, then add the shrimp paste and pound until finely chopped. Add half of the lime juice and the sugar, and pound until smooth but not liquid. Add more of the lime juice if necessary.
Place the cha om in a bowl. Add the eggs and beat until well combined. Add the fish sauce and sugar and beat well.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Pour in the omelette mixture. As it cooks, lift up the edges and allow the uncooked egg to run underneath. When nearly set, turn the omelette over to cook briefly, then slide onto a chopping board. Cut into large slices. Serve on a platter with chilli dipping sauce on the side.
• Cha om is the common name given to the Acacia Pennata plant. Their feathery shoots are used in stir-fries, soups, curries and omelettes. Wash before use, then pick the feathery shoots off the thorny stalks.