Friday, November 30, 2012

Indian "French" Toast (Unday Ka Toast): A Savory and Spicy Variation

I am more of a savory rather than a sweet breakfast person. Given a choice between pancakes, French toast or waffles and poached eggs, hash, or a breakfast scramble, I will always pick the savory option (however, I will have a few bites of your pancakes and share some of my scramble just to mix it up). ;-) I found this Madhur Jaffrey recipe for Indian "French" Toast intriguing because of the hot and savory aspect. 

It's Bread Week at I Heart Cooking Clubs and I am not a bread maker in the best of circumstances so rather than fuss with making my own during a crazy week, I opted for easy, and fried up a few quick slices. Served with some mango chutney and thick Greek yogurt sweetened with honey and topped with some pomegranate seeds for a little color, it made for an easy and tasty breakfast as dinner. 

Jaffrey says, "Various interpretations of "French" toast are enjoyed around the world... This one is for a savory and hot Indian version. Actually there are as many versions in India as there are Indian families. A Bengali family might cook theirs in mustard oil (unique and delicious) while a Gujarati family might serve theirs with a sweet mango chutney--whatever happens to be on hand--or no chutney at all.

The best French toast is made with slightly stale, hard bread, as it holds together best. When you beat the eggs, put them in a fairly shallow, gratin-type dish or pie tin or any other shallow dish in which two slices of bread can fit side by side with ease. If necessary, cut the bread slices into halves. This can easily be doubled..."  

Indian French Toast (Unday Ka Toast)
World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey
(Makes 2 Slices)

1 egg, well beaten
1 Tbsp milk
dash of salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp finely chopped scallion (use the white and some of the pale green section)
1 to 2 tsp very finely chopped fresh hot green chiles
2 slices of slightly stale bread
3 Tbsp peanut oil or canola oil

Put the beaten egg and milk in a shallow dish. Add the salt, pepper to taste, scallion, and chile and stir to mix. Lay the slices of bread in the dish and turn them over quickly a few times. Let them soak about 3 minutes, or until the bread has softened a bit and the egg mixture has been somewhat absorbed, turning the slices occasionally. With a spoon, lift up some of the solids in the egg mixture (chile and scallion) and spread them on top of the slices.

Put the oil in a large, nonstick frying pan and set over medium heat. When hot, put the slices of bread in the pan, scallion-chile side down. Cook for a minute while you spoon the remaining solids over the bread slices. Turn the slices over and cook another minute. Turn the slices over again and cook both sides for another 30 second each, or until nicely browned. Serve hot.

Notes/Results: I liked the scallion flavor and light fire of the green (jalapeno) chiles in the thick slices of country French-bread. It did remind me of the little scallion pancakes you get in Chinese restaurants but in a good way. I made a few small changes--almond milk as it was on hand and just enough Earth Balance to coat the pan and brown the toast--no way do you need 3 tablespoons of oil to cook it. Although I liked the pairing of the toast with the chutney, the mango chutney I had on hand went a bit to the vinegary side and I actually liked it best drizzled in maple syrup and topped with the yogurt for a good savory-sweet contrast. I would make this again.

You can check out Jaffrey bread recipes from the other IHCC participants by visiting the post here and following the links.

Happy Aloha Friday!


  1. This sounds like a great brunch to me!

  2. It is definitely funny how most other countries do savory breakfasts and feign horror at the idea of sweet ones. Im definitely super intrigued by this. Savory french toast...who'dve thunk it!

  3. Sounds good! I hadn't noticed this recipe -- will definitely mark it to try!

  4. Deb - I was going to chose this recipe too, but ran out of time before we left on our vacation. I'm so glad to hear that you liked it. Looks so pretty!

  5. Interesting. Indian French Toast. Would never have thought of a savory 'French' toast. Looks tasty.

  6. omg I love the idea of savory french toast!!


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