A few months ago, when my daughter started eating finger foods, I began running out of ideas for breakfast. She seemed to gravitate towards savoury foods and I was rotating between dosas, paranthas and eggs every few days. She wanted to hold her food and her aching gums craved for something to bite on. Although she didn’t seem to mind her morning menu, I wanted her to have more variety.
Prior to becoming parents, my husband and I would rush to work, grabbing tea, coffee, fruit, anything quick to bring back to our desks. Weekends were the only time I had to cook in the morning, and the only time my husband had the desire to sit down and eat breakfast peacefully. Now that our little one is eating, I get to have breakfast with her and truly relish that time. In fact, growing up, we were generally in the same rush going to school and work on the weekdays.
Mom would force us to have cereal, some bread with cheese and jam, or at least a glass of milk before rushing to catch the bus. Once the weekend rolled around, she made sure we had a satisfying breakfast with dishes such as aloo ke paranthe (potato stuffed flatbread), chole bature (chickpea curry with a soft warm bread to soak up the curry), omelets stuffed with mixed vegetables and masala french toast which we would dip in ketchup and HP sauce before eating.
Masala french toast is something I also make for my husband and I. For this recipe, I used a soft baguette but any bread will do. I like to use firmer breads as I prefer the way the crust holds up and the middle doesn’t become mush after soaking in the egg and milk mixture. Regular bread is scarce at our home as we can never manage to finish the entire loaf. When we do buy bread, we generally pick up baguettes, Portuguese rolls or croissants, as they tend to come in smaller quantities and we prefer the texture and flavour more.
For many of the North American sweet breakfasts, there are savoury South Asian versions. The traditional sweet crêpe is our very own masala dosa, for oatmeal we have dalia or upma, for smoothies there are sweet and salty lassis. Masala french toast is the South Asian savoury version of the traditional cinnamon and sugar laced french toast. The masalas can vary according to your taste. My mother-in-law adds haldi (turmeric) to her version and my mom adds a pinch of sugar to hers. Once you figure out what you like, you can add (or reduce) the spices to make it your own.
It’s also a great option when you are in a rush and don’t have time for a leisurely breakfast. When I’m making this for my husband and myself, I like to incorporate chopped green chillies, onions and cilantro for added flavour and texture.
I love that masala french toast is a complete family breakfast that can be made last minute. I serve it to my daughter plain or dipped in a bit of ketchup. It also tastes great with a sweet and spicy chutney or hot sauce. This recipe can be altered to your spice tolerance and is a great finger food for kids or for adults on the go.
WHAT IS YOUR MORNING BREAKFAST ROUTINE LIKE? WHAT ARE YOUR FAMILY’S FAVOURITE GO-TO BREAKFAST DISHES?
Masala French Toast
- 1 small baguette
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 2 tablespoons oil or butter
- 1/3 cup finely chopped mix of onions, cilantro and green chillies (optional)
|Cut baguette into 1-inch thick slices.|
|In a large bowl whisk together spices, eggs, milk and any vegetables and herbs until everything is well incorporated. Soak bread slices in mixture.|
|On medium low, heat oil or butter in a heavy bottom pan. Add a few slices of soaked bread to pan and cook 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. You might need to do this in small batches as the masala french toast will not cook evenly if you overcrowd the pan.|
|Garnish with chopped cilantro or your choice of chutney.|
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