Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Indian Toast

As opposed to, you know, French toast. It's just remarkable how same names can mean something quite different in taste in texture across cultures. For example, once at a breakfast meeting in a breakfast place with lots of local colour, I ordered french toast with some enthusiasm, and the person I was meeting ordered the same (in fact, I ordered it after hearing him order, not looking at the menu). And then he ordered bacon and scrambled eggs with it. I've always eaten french toasts by themselves, so while I thought the meaty-salty flavour of bacon went well with french toasts, I was definitely surpised at the scrambled eggs. When our food arrived, however, everything became clearer. The man ate through his eggs and grease-dripping bacon with demonic speed, and then his french toasts at leisure, dousing them in sweet syrup.

Yes, that's right, sweet syrup. And if that wasn't shocking enough, the french toasts themselves came with blueberries on and in them. I've seldom eaten a more nauseating meal, but since he obviously relished this bizzarre concoction, I couldn't very well tell him how appalling I found it. And not having any other reason to not eat it after ordering it with much enthusiasm, I slowly chewed through the stack. Later, over tea (coffee for him) I tentatively ventured that in India we made french toast with chopped green chilies and onions in the whisked egg, and nothing else. And nothing poured on top, either. He did almost as good a job as I had done of disguising my shock at the strange eating habits of the natives, but I got the message anyway.

So then, for the gratification of my pals who live in the land of fruitified french toasts and those who might want a taste of the Indian version, the french toast as it is made in the Bengali household:

First, chop red onions and green chilies. Then break an egg or two into it. Add a little salt (and any other dried herb of choice). Then add a little milk. Whisk it together, not too frothy but not flat either.

Then dip each piece of bread quickly in the batter, covering both sides of it. If not done quickly, the bread will be soggy and difficult to fry. Slide it carefully into the hot oil spread about half a cm deep all over the surface of a frying pan/skillet Scoop some of the onion and chilies and layer them on the top of the bread. Flip the bread, onion chilies et al, when you can see the other side turning a golden brown colour. Give each side about a minute on a high flame, drain, and serve. I cut off the crusts of the bread, 'cause I'm delicate, like.

Come think of it, this shouldn't taste too bad with a dash of maple or honey syrup. Give it a try. The chilies and fried onions and thick sweetness should complement each other :-)


Dea-chan said...

wow, when you say that you don't really do sweets, you mean it!

Your french toast looks tasty, but not what i want when I order french toast! Powdered sugar, butter and fake maple syrup all the way!

Abhishek Mukherjee, BSc MStat said...

If this had been intentional, this is the most subtle piece of subtlety I've encountered lately:
"As opposed to, you know, French toast."
"... the french toast as it is made in the Bengali household:"
FRENCH is spelt with a capital F in the first sentence, and with a small one in the second. I wonder how this has gone unnoticed. Brilliant, Rimi, whoever you are.

Diviani said...

you know, rimi, i never knew that there were sweet versions of good old french toast! i ordered one here and had to ask for sriracha to consume it.

also, sandwiches. ma had this sandwich maker type thing, out of which would emerge lovely triangles of batter-coated bread filled with the most awesome goodness. i'm pretty sure she used leftover veggies/keema to do the fillings, but i tell ya, it was the most divine concoction ever. favorite childhood brekker, that, right up there with mughlai parathas, which, i recently tried making with store-bought tortillas. not a good idea. at all. :(

Abhishek Mukherjee, BSc MStat said...

This thing also reminds me of "dekha hai pehli baar, saajan ki ankhon mein pyar".