There it sat, growing older and harder. When I bought the loaf, it was in great form – full of vitality and springiness at the slightest touch. That was then. Now four days later, the knife had to wrestle its way through. If a knife had to work that hard, just imagine what that meant for the teeth. I could have just tossed it out, but that seemed unfair.
Growing up, mum would give the bread a once over. If it was dry, she would make Andaa bread – French toast. Her reaction was like a reflex. But this is not uncommon, if a bread dries out, find a way to resuscitate it. If you trace back the genesis of French Toast whether you take the French or Indian route to get there, it was a dish that was born out of the unwillingness to waste. But to be frank, fresh bread doesn’t work as effectively in any case. The bread needs to be weathered and dehydrated so that it can pull in that eggy goodness.
Andaa bread is commonly prepared as a savory dish. Slices of bread are dunked in to a peppery egg batter of confetti diced onions, ginger, cilantro, tomatoes and green chili. It is served piping hot from the skillet with copious amounts of ketch-up and a cup of chai. Doesn’t that sound like a breakfast for champions! I make this dish all the time for breakfast but it is just as satisfying for dinner with a side of lush field of greens.
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Recipe for Andaa Bread – The Savory French Toast
1 tbsp. sour cream
2 tbsp. milk
1 tbsp. finely sliced onion
1 tbsp. finely diced tomatoes
Salt and fresh cracked pepper
½ Serrano chili, deseeded and finely chopped
1 ½ tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped
1 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vegetable oil
4 slices stale bread
1) In a wide dish (that can accommodate the size of the bread), combine the eggs with the sour cream, milk, salt and pepper, onions, tomatoes, chili and cilantro
2) Heat a skillet with the oil and butter (this prevents butter from burning)
3) Coat the slices of bread in the egg mixture and place on the skillet, spreading some of the chopped ingredients over the top. Cook until golden and crisp, turn to cook the other side spreading a few more chopped ingredients over the top
4) Serve hot and crisp with ketch-up or hot sauce
Saira Malhotra, is of British–Indian descent and is a chef, food writer and cooking instructor based in New York City. Raised in Hounslow, U.K, or rather ‘Little India’, where the air is aromatic with roasted spices, little did Saira know these moments would follow her from being a student in France and Italy to residing in NYC with her husband and kids and parlay themselves unexpectedly in to a culinary career. She is a graduate of the International Culinary Center in New York City. Come visit her at her food blog: www.passportpantry.com where she shares approachable and international recipes