A Twist on toast and the joys of a good breakfast.

A wise person once said, ” The child is the father of man”. I’d like to agree. Most of the things we learn or do as kids tend to stay back with us as adults. At times, even going so far as to shaping us to be the persons we are. For me, one such experience is not skipping breakfast. As far as I can remember even as a kid, I never skipped breakfast. A practice that continues till date. The good thing about breakfast was it had a lot of variety and that made it exciting; so while lunch and dinner were the usual rice, fish curry and stuff, breakfast was more gregarious. So on one day we’d have chapattis, on an other day it would be south Indian like dosas, idlis or upmas, at times even chicken or mutton puffs from the neighbourhood bakery at Bandra.

On a personal front, I always prefer something savory for breakfast, I am not someone with a big sweet tooth. I remember mum making something called French Toast for us. I liked french toast but being sweet, it was slightly off putting to have in the mornings. Now, french toast need no introduction. For the uninitiated, French toast are neither a french invention nor are they toast from the toast’s texture point of view. It is also colloquially called German toast or Bombay toast. Legend has it that cooks in the medieval times were strictly instructed to make sure nothing from the pantry goes waste, and hence came up with this novel way to make use of old, stale bread. I’m not certain how true it is , but I am not complaining for sure.

I had mentioned earlier on that I didn’t really like the sweeter version of the french toast and I had been toying with the idea of a savory french toast for some time. So, on a longish weekend I decided I would give it a try. My notes, read something like this: Eggs, milk, Seasoning, some cheese, ham or salami. Though cheese and Salami arent part of the original recipe, it was my twist so that breakfast could be oomphed up that day. I went ahead and added a side of fries to be a bit more devilish.

Breakfast that day was everything your cardiologist would warn you against. Sinful, if i may add; but you dont get redemption without the sin,right.

Here’s what I made it.

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French Toast with Cheese and Salami

  • 16 slices of bread (preferably, a day old)
  • 8 slices of ham or salami
  • 8 slices of cheese
  • 3 medium sized eggs
  • 250 ml milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 green chillies, finely chopped.
  • Oil/ Ghee/ Butter for frying
  • some milk (for helping the bread stick)

For the side of Potatoes:

  • 2 medium potatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Oil for frying

To Make the french toast:

  • Trim off the edges of the bread and keep aside.
  • In a bowl, whisk the egg and milk together till they’re combined well. Season with Salt, pepper and chillies and keep aside.
  • Add the oil /ghee/ Butter in a pan and let it heat on a medium flame.
  • Now, take a bread; place the cheese slice on the bread and then the ham or salami and keep it over the cheese slice.
  • Take some of the milk we kept aside and slightly wet the edges of the bread
  • Place another slice of bread on this and gently press the edges so the stick to one another.
  • Gently lift the bread and dip in the eggs and milk mixture. The mixture should coat the bread just enough but should not make the bread soggy.
  • Now, add the soaked bread to the frying pan and fry till golden brown on either side.

For the potatoes:

  • Pressure cook the potatoes for a whistle and half, till they are about 80% done.
  • Peel them and cut them in wedges and season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat oil in a pan and fry till reddish brown and crisp.

 

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Chutneywale Aaloo- Baby Potatoes in chutney

I thought I would do a quick post to tell you about a recipe I just created off hand.

Not really a planned recipe neither is it something gourmet; but this one makes it to the blog simply on the fact that when I seen the plate and tasted the food, it made be smile. I smiled because I saw myself on the plate. This is just the way I like my food, clean, simple and something that isn’t too complicated.

The other day,  I decided to do dinner.  It was a long day at work and I really didn’t have the bandwidth to run the entire distance.  So, I decided to make something quick and easy.  I checked to see if what the refrigerator had in store. I saw a few boiled baby potatoes from an earlier cook in the week,  there was some  green coconut chutney and cheese along with some other pantry essentials.  I thought to my self if I could simply fry the potatoes and use the chutney to just coat the potatoes.  This idea came from the chutney and cheese sandwich that is such a famous Street food here in Mumbai.  You have the option of adding in boiled potatoes to the sandwich if you please.  All in all,  like the joke goes this dish is just the good old chutney cheese sandwich that I sent to post graduate school 🙂

I loved the final result and so I’m sharing it here for you to try.. Try getting a little more adventurous and experiment  with some roasted chicken.  It should work. Or may be even boiled eggs. To be frank, I didn’t use a recipe that has actual measurements; like i said earlier, it was created on the fly. I used my eye to guide my hand into what went in the pan.

Let me know if you did and how you liked it. I’d be glad to hear from you.

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Here is how to go about it.

Method:

  • I used about 8-9 pre-boiled potatoes. If you are beginning from scratch, just pressure cook the potatoes for just one or one and a half whistle. They should be about 80% done.
  • Once done, peel the potatoes and with your thumb, gently press the potatoes so that they crack. Don’t be too hard, you just need to create a crack so that the chutney seeps into the potatoes.
  • Now fry the potatoes in some vegetable oil till they are golden brown all over. Just before the potatoes get done, season them with some salt and pepper.
  • In the same pan, add some butter (please use only butter and not anything else). Add 5-8 curry leaves and once they splutter add half a teaspoon of cumin seeds.
  • Now add the chutney and some salt. Add just a little water to adjust to your desired consistency.
  • Once the chutney reaches a simmer, add the fried potatoes and mix gently so that the chutney coats the potatoes evenly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Grated some cheese and give it a mix. I used parmesan. You could use cheddar or parmesan or even the Amul cheese block if you please.
  • We had it with Malabar parottas.

Note:

I used chutney that I had available with me. If in case you’re planning to make chutney fresh, here is a quick recipe.

  • Grate together one coconut/ 1 medium onion, chopped/4-6 garlic cloves/ 1 small piece ginger/ 3-4 spicy green chillies./ 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds.
  • Put all together in a blender and grind with a little water till it is a homogenous paste of pouring consistency.
  • Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with lemon juice before serving.

 

 

Kheema Pao- Like the ones at the Irani hotels.

I am a very happy man as i write this post.

That  sort of happiness that you get when you achieved something after multiple attempts. What did I get? Well, I cracked the code for recipe for Kheema Pao or simply mince and bread. I know its not that difficult to make mince and bread. We Mangalorean have a recipe we make all the time and so do the Goans. I like those as well; but honestly, I love eating mince the way it is prepared at the Irani hotels. I first tasted this way back during my college days. I studied at St. Andrews College in BAndra. Now, Bandra is blessed with some lovely options for eating. Right from high end, plush five stars to non-descriptive place that you would enter if you you were to go by the eye. A few furlongs away from college was one such Irani hotel. With the meagre resources at our disposal those days, eating out was a luxury. But this Irani hotel was one place we visited once on a while, to  celebrate a birthday in the group or simply the fact that we had cleared our semester without any backlog. Truth be told, i don’t really remember how, when and why I ordered Kheema Pao the first time (I wasnt a food writer) but i remember falling in love with the way it was made. There was something about it; nothing earth shattering but something warming and comforting. See, that is it about food being simply cooked; it touches your soul.

Post college, life happened. I for quite a while worked at Churchgate, Mumbai’s CBD and home to quite some Irani cafe’s. We would step out for lunch ocassionally and at times a mid morning snack. Quite often, I’d tuck into the kheema pao. Surprisingly, the dish seemed quite similar except for a slight variance in spices. A few attempts to create the similar dish at home failed. I was advised  by folks at home to stick to the mangalorean recipe which was  best. But thats also because we Mangaloreans are a grumpy lot when it comes to recipes. Any other recipe than the one you or your mother has is bound to be an absolute failure.

Now, some days back I happened to be in Bandra and I passed the Irani hotel. I was delighted to see it still there and doing brisk business. I decided to grab a bite more out of nostalgia than hunger. What did I order? Well you could take a guess. Did it taste the same. Of course. Nothing has changed. I tried my luck and called the guy who attended me. I wanted to know the secret of this recipe. “Is mein kyaa masale padte hain?” (what masalas do you put in this) I questioned. He gave a blank look, then looked up to the ceiling fan moving slowly as a protest at being made to work in his old age. Finally, he answered vaguely “Sab masalo ka taste aana maangata hai” (You need to taste every masala). Well, not entirely, but some part of the riddle had been solved. I was competent enough to try it out once again. One thing that I observed, in common is the garnish of fresh ginger and green chillies. I loved the sharpness from the ginger and the heat from the chillies. Its not really a very spicy dish. The spices are more supporting actors to the medley of mince and onions.  Please don’t skimp on the oil, you need to have that circumference of oil around your mince. That is where the real taste lies.

It was a very simple dinner but I went to bed a very happy man. I also kept some aside for the next days breakfast and boy, my day was made.

One more request, please have it with bread and only bread. Anything else, would kill the romance of this dish.

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Kheema Pao

  • 450 grams mince (I used chicken. You could use mutton or lamb)
  • 100 grams green peas (optional, I didnt use)
  • 100 ml unflavored vegetable oil
  • whole masalas ( 4 cloves, 4 cardamom, 3 sticks of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp cumin)
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • Powder Masalas (1 tbsp red chillies, 1/2 tsp turmeric/ 1/2 tsp garam masala/ 1 tbsp corriander [for garnishing])
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Juice of half a lime
  • For Garnish (A Few sprigs of corriander, finely chopped/ 1 1/2 piece of ginger and 2 green chillies, roughly chopped)

Method:

  • Heat oil in a pan. When it is medium hot, add in the spices and let them splutter.
  • Once the spices begin spluttering, add in the ginger, garlic and chillies and cook till fragrant.
  • Add in the onions, and let them sweat till translucent. Dont entirely cook the onions.
  • Once the onions are slightly pinkish, add the tomatoes and cook till soft.
  • Add in the mince and the green peas (if using). Cook for 5-7 minutes.
  • Take some water in a small mixing bowl, add in all the powdered masalas and add it to the mince. Give it a good stir and mix well so that all the masalas and meat integrate well.
  • Add in the salt and pepper. Cover and cook for another 8-12 minutes.
  • Check once if the meat is done. If done, add the corriander powder and give it a good mix.
  • Once meat is cooked. Add the lime juice, and the corriander leaves.
  • Add the chopped ginger and chillies and serve with toasted bread (if you like)
  • Done. 🙂