Savoury French Toast with chillies and onion is one of the best snack-y dishes you will have in life. Because who can say no to fried bread with some spices thrown in. If you can resist the temptation, let me know. Not that I would hang you upside down or force-feed you, okay? So do not run away, my pretty.
The idea of this post was suggested by Dolly. She wrote a post on French Toast (that rhymed and I declare myself a poet) which brings together the Romans and this fried bread dish. Being the inveterate opinion giver that I am, I had to put in my two bits on her post, to which Dolly responded with an invitation to do a guest post for her. So here I am with two slices of French Toast in my tummy, feeling like a veritable Roman gourmand and typing away whatever comes into my French toasted mind. Now Dolly does not just put recipes – she gives you a backdrop to it which tickles the imagination. When I learnt that the French Toast, which we have corrupted in India with our typical obsession with spices and heat, was actually the product of a 1st-century Roman fellow called Apicius, I was chuffed. Who would have thunk, right?
Below is how you go about making it for yourself. Since I made it for just myself this morning (I foresee the husband protesting and pouting at being left out), it is enough for one.
Bread, 2 slices
Half of a small red onion, chopped fine
A chilli, chopped into thin discs
A handful of coriander, chopped fine
Milk (optional), about 1/4 cup
Cumin powder, 1/4 tsp
Garam masala, 1/4 tsp (recipe for homemade garam masala is to be found at the end of the post)
Red chilli powder (a pinch or two)
Heat a skillet well and drizzle it with the oil of your choice. I am democratic, yes. I used mustard oil because it adds a wonderful flavour to Indian dishes. I did not go crazy with the oil – just enough to drizzle both sides of the slices. You can always opt for a bed of oil because they do crisp quickly with more oil. As a result of the less quantity of oil, I had to leave the slices to toast for a fairly long time.
While the skillet is heating, whisk the egg with above chopped ingredients and spices. Dunk the bread slices in them and coat both sides of each slice well with the mixture. The chopped veggies do not always stay put (perverse things), so you will have to spoon them onto the bread while frying. Now ease the slices into the skillet and toast both sides till they are crisp.
When they are ready to be ravished, just add some ketchup or Tomato Hot & Sweet sauce, because really, this sauce is a beauty. If you like it hotter, go for a sauce like a Bhut Jolokia hot sauce and let steam vent from your ears.
How to make fresh garam masala
2 tbsp coriander seeds
1tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp cardamom seeds
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp whole cloves
2 dried red chillies
2 tbsp ground turmeric
Toast the whole spices (except turmeric powder) on a skillet till they are fragrant (roughly for 2 mins) and grind the spices in a coffee grinder.Add the turmeric powder to the mixture and you have your garam masala which will stay well for up to a month in a mason jar.