Sunday, October 07, 2007

Indian Toast?

Bee and Jai of Jugalbandi (home to dozens of drool-worthy pictures) are hosting a new themed food photography event. The event, called CLICK, kicks off this month with the theme: Eggs!

Eggs are on the weekend brunch menu nearly every weekend at our home. We are loyal to our favorite dishes, and I love a spicy, savory brunch, so it is usually a choice between Pateta par Eeda, Egg-Onion Float, Omelette, and a fourth eggy dish that I have not blogged yet, French toast, Indian style. This last dish is completely unlike American-style French toast, which is usually rich and sweet, and drenched in syrup or showered with sugar. Indian French toast kicks it up a notch, with flecks of green chillies and cilantro clinging to savory golden brown fried bread (I wonder what the French think of either of these two types of "French" toast). It would be so much more elegant to serve the Indian-style French toast with a sweet and sour chutney or relish, but I am a slave to nostalgia, and eat my French toast with ketchup, exactly the way I loved it as a child.

Indian French Toast

(makes 2 hearty brunch servings)
1. In a shallow bowl, beat 3 eggs.
2. Add 2 T finely minced onion, 1-2 finely minced green chillies, 2 T finely minced cilantro, 1 T milk/ cream and salt and pepper to taste.
3. Dip 4 slices of bread (stale bread works great!) into the eggy mixture for a couple of minutes on each side, to allow the egg mixture to soak through.
4. Fry on a lightly oiled skillet until golden brown on each side.

The food blog world is home to some highly talented photographers; their creativity far exceeds that of the pros whose pictures are splashed across food magazines and advertisements, in my opinion. I have a lot to learn from them. While I love taking pictures of food to go along with my posts, I never get around to spending the time and effort, and mustering the creative energy to pull off "real" shoots. A complex combination of greed and impatience (and hungry looks from friends and family who are waiting to dig in) ensures that I shoot my food on the double. So this entry to their event is purely for fun and in the spirit of participation!

The pictures, as usual, were taken at top speed, before the precious toast got too cold to eat. I used a Canon PowerShot digital camera with the Macro mode. I usually do use the Macro mode because food shots are close-ups. And I never use a flash, mostly because I have yet to take a decent food picture using a flash!

I liked these two pictures and I can't choose between them: #1 has three bright contrasting colors on the white background of the plate- green herbs, red ketchup (no food is as shamelessly red as ketchup, is it??), and the golden-brown toast. This looks quite cheerful to me. In picture #2, I tried to get arty :D with a fork tempting the viewer to take a bite (don't laugh, I'm trying my best here). Many thanks to Kalyn for the thoughtful gift of that gorgeous "prop" fork.

Please help me choose one picture as the entry. Leave a comment telling me whether you prefer picture #1 or #2; thanks a ton for your input! I'll count the votes on Thursday night and send off the higher-vote picture as my entry.

#1: A Bright Start to the Day

#2: Won't You Take a Bite?

P.S.: I spent some time working on the Recipe Index and I hope it will be a bit more user-friendly now. The internal links should make it easier to browse through the index.


  1. Nice recipe, tempting indeed!

    Tried your Ma po tofu recipe last week. It was great with the soy granules.

  2. Hi, great blog! I'm voting for Photo No. 1. The composition is better, and the touch of green adds interest.

  3. Immediate reaction? Of course, why must French toast be sweet? I love the idea of this though despite putting ketchup on everything from mac 'n' cheese to omelettes, not sure I "get" the attraction of ketchup here!

    As for the photos, hmm, #1 I think, because it provides a better view of what the end product will look like, therefore is more likely to move someone to the kitchen.

    Nice work, Nupur!! We've all improved, yes? It was a year ago this weekend that all the St. Louis food bloggers met for the first time.

  4. Photo no. 1 :). I make this one as well (with rava)-if its b'fast, its savory for me ;). and yes, ketchup evokes nostalgia (don't hit me, but i sometimes have ketchup with pohe too!!) :-D.

  5. Nupur, #1.

    If you have image manipulation software (Photoshop, Gimp, Picasa etc or Picnik), play with the brightness/contrast or the levels to remove/lessen the shadow of the toast that falls on the cilantro. If you can't do this without adding pixelisation to the image, then try it on #2. And submit that one instead. (It worked better on #2 for the two images you posted, at that low resolution. You will have more control with the original image if it is larger and has more info).

  6. Now this is my kind of 'French' toast :) Just yesterday, we were discussing as to how a French would react to these recipes...i guess he will be speechless! ;)
    Photo wise, I loved the first one...can't say why exactly, but it just speaks to me :)
    and I loved your fork!

  7. Hi Nupur, nice to see you back and hope you had a restful break (although organizing your recipe index can't have been too relaxing, so many great recipes!). The Indian toast looks so appetizing in both shots (and what a great, easy recipe too, must try for me). However, I am partial to #1 -- the cilantro tempts me even more than the lovely fork :)

  8. photo #1 gets my vote.

  9. photo # 1 for sure in my opinion! I thought of giving a poll to ask for everyone's opinion too about my pictures but decided against it...bad idea! I should have gone ahead!

  10. Thanks, everyone, for taking the time to cast a vote! Looks like it is #1 all along :)

    Mika, glad the ma po tofu worked!

    Channa, welcome and thanks for visiting. And voting :) I liked that touch of green too, although the cilantro stems were quite unruly.

    Alanna, the ketchup is a sweet-tangy counterpoint to the savory French toast. But you can totally choose to eat it by itself or with some other relish/ chutney. My photos have improved a tad but have a long long long way to go :D It is going to take a lifetime of photography workshops, looks like!

    Smita, thanks :)

    Musical, I know the rava version! Should have mentioned that. I know some people add a spoon or two of besan as well. Ketchup with pohe :0 LOL

    Manisha, I discovered Piknik just today (trying to add those frames/ borders to the photos)! Thanks so much for the great tips, I'll try and play around a bit. I do have a very good quality image to work with, for the blog I choose a smaller file size to make loading easier.

    Tee, I have some French friends...I should ask them :) The fork is so cute...Kalyn has great taste :)

    Linda, the index is pretty much a nightmare :D this recipe is really popular in Indian homes, I am sure you will love it.

    Gini, thanks! It is nice to see you :)

    Kalva, thanks

    Nabeela, I figured I need some feedback to have some chance of improving :) Your pictures for this event are very creative!

  11. Hi Nupur,
    Thanks for sharing tasty french toast recipe.both pictures look great.But picture 1 has an edge over the 2.Thank you for the organized recipe index.It will be really useful.Durga

  12. this is the best way to eat french toast. really. thanks for coming out of hibernation to post this, and for a beautiful picture. i know you love eggs, and was hoping for a lovely entry from you.

  13. Hard to choose, but I think #1. The cilantro leaf really pops. And of course I will be saving this recipe, because I can't imagine a French toast I wouldn't love!

  14. Hi Nupur - I'm chiming in late... but I'm voting for #1 as well! I've always loved French toast (US style) so I'm looking forward to trying Indian style! Either way, it's a great way to use up some stale bread and I found it freezes pretty well too!

  15. very simple and elegant! lovely entry. I used to make this. certain regular recipes just slip off ur head right? I am going to make them tomorrow:)

  16. Lovely entry Nupur and I am still drooling at the pics.. :D

  17. Spicy french toast is the best and ur version sounds niceee! I vote for # 2, as like the I want to grab that bite kinda feel to it :D

  18. Hey Nupur great to have you back!Loved both the photos, but will vote for #1. But I loved the fork and the piece of bread in the second one.(i know this is confusing for you) but I was confused too- difficult choice but i think photo #1 is my choice!:)

  19. Love french toast. #1 looks bright, sunny does full justice to French Toast. But I like #2 better because --- It is Different :D

  20. no. 1 it is... the green does make it interesting :-) The fork pic is cute too Nupur... I do really want a bite.

  21. Ooh, a theme event! Where do I sign up?
    Although I think you may have bagged this month's theme already... lovely photos and a droolworthy recipe!


  22. Through my eyes, the first one is clear. Very nice Nupur. Viji

  23. Those are just wonderful pics...surely make me hungry

  24. Nupur, #1 looks better - uninterrupted, and the coriander gives it a very graceful touch.

  25. Durga, thanks :) I'm going to try and keep the recipe index updated from now on.

    Bee, I would not have missed this event for anything! Don't know about a lovely entry, but an entry you will get :D

    Lydia, thanks! Herbs do catch the eye.

    Cathy, you will love Indian style French toast, I am sure of it. Ooh, thanks for the freezer tip!

    Sharmi, I know...we have so many favorite recipes that it is hard to make them all on a regular basis.

    Siri, thanks :)

    Dhana, glad you like #2 :D I was trying something new for a change.

    Madhuli, I was confused too, hence the poll :) Looks like #1 is a winner. Thanks for your input!

    Sandeepa, Its different! Reminds me of the ketchup ad, remember that one? Thanks for stopping by!

    Raaga, well, it is still there waiting for you to reach into the screen!

    Jokergirl, the deadline is still far away, so do participate! And ohhh no, just take a look at the entries that are in...this is one tough competition!

    Viji, glad you like the first one too!

    Bhags, that's what I was aiming for: to make you hungry :)

    Sra, Thanks for the input! Your vote is duly noted :)

  26. No. 1 works for me! Even if it's too late to count, I;m just writing in. 4 new brunch ideas with eggs - manna for a grad student like me. Thanks!

    - Chithrupa

  27. Nupur- I like # 1 as well. A little suggestion- try adding some dhania-jeera powder and parmesan cheese to the egg batter. It really elevates the 'masala toast'. This is one of my favorite weekend breakfast recipes:) Take care,

  28. Nupur, I loved both the pics but first one is the best! Nice squeeze of ketchup with those strands of kothombir!

  29. Late in the game but goin with the flow- I like the first one for its cheeriness too! And the snakey twirl of ketchup is so very cute!

  30. My kind of French Toast. Looks yummy, can't wait to try it out.

  31. I'm all for savoury French Toast.. Looks really good Nupur. Both pics are good but I find the first picture a bit more vibrant.

  32. Nupur, I like pic #1. I think the sprigs of cilantro makes a huge difference! I loved to eat bread with eggs during my egg eating days. Very tempting ;)

    I like GIMP! Check it out.

  33. The first photo is my choice.But I guess in pic #2 had you placed the fork in some other way other than flat on top of the toast,it would look better.

    BTW, my hubby loves ur mushroom chettinad recipe.He always buys mushrooms n asks me to prepare that.I am planning to try some more of ur recipes too..esp potstickers..could u post the recipe for chicken potstickers too if possible.thanks:)

  34. I can imagine your dilemma, both the pics are lovely! But since you have to pick one, I'd say I like the first one better :)

  35. Looks delicious, I would go with the first pic and grab a bite off the second!

  36. Looks delicious Nupur! I like the first pic - i know i'm a tad late but i thought i'll let u know anyway :-)
    like the capture, the lighting and the composition of the first one! the ketchup and the cilantro gives the picture variety.

  37. You are back already? Gr8... My choice...#1 dear :)

  38. Chitrupa, never too late to count! :) thanks for chiming in. One more egg brunch idea: egg bhurji (Indian style scrambled eggs).

    Priya, dhania-jeera is a great idea! I personally am not a fan of parmesan cheese, but my spouse will be delighted with this addition :)

    Padma, the ketchup was running out so I had to really squeeze the bottle :D

    Shvetha, thanks :) the snakey twirl was intended to be something quite different, but oh well ;)

    Reva, do try it, you will love it :)

    Laavanya, thanks for the input :) looks like #1 has a clear edge!

    Roopa, I have seen besan waala French toast too (non-egg version). That might hit the spot :) Will check out GIMP, thanks for the suggestion!

    Anon, I don't eat chicken so I can't help you there...

    Shweta, OK #1 it is! :)

    Bindiya, you are too cute! :) That's why I placed the fork within easy reach.

    Latha, you are not late at know what they say, every vote counts :D thanks for your input!

    Suganya, Ok! Your vote has been registered :) thanks for the input!

  39. no 1; the green is a good contrast with the red. much more interest-getting.

  40. I liked #1, the toast is lighted deliciously well and the sprigs of cilantro balance harmoniously with the red ketchup and the yellow toast on a subtle white background. Whew! Now that I have said it, I need to fix myself some of that delicious food!


  41. Hi, Eggs are a great hit with me, love to have them any way.. and the french toast looks yummy... I`m voting for picture no. 1...

  42. This looks so good. I love cilantro so I am going to print this recipe out to try.

  43. Hi Nupur,

    I absolutely loved the 1st picture....looks like a perfect toast with ketchup & cilantro as a great contrast!! Go for it ;-)

  44. for me..picture nos 1 is the winner..lovely presentation of the french toast :)

  45. How refreshing to see French Toast that isn't sweet. And even though it's very fun to see the fork, I'm also voting for #1! Great photo!

  46. Very beautiful picture Nupur.

  47. Hey Nupur,
    I have been following ur blog for some time now, and I love the way you write...have never posted a comment on any food blog before...this poll of urs has pulled me to comment! :)
    im glad that u have chosen photo #1, coz its gorgeous! 2 reasons - the cilantro and the squiggle of the ketchup gives it a modern artistic twist! go for it...hope that u win!


  48. #1 is my choice. Second one has a fork which kinda diminishes the look of the toast... Best ofluck

  49. Hi Nupur...I like the #1 it has all the lovely colours!

  50. hi
    I would love to come over for breakfast it looks soooooo....

  51. Anon, thanks!

    Namita, thank you for the sweet evaluation! It is so nice to hear from you :)

    Rani tai, me too :) thanks for your vote!

    Paula, I hope you enjoy the recipe :)

    Suma, thanks for the vote. #1 is winning this one by a long shot :)

    Priya, thanks so much!

    Kalyn, thanks :) the fork is so darling...

    Shilpa, thanks so much!

    Leya, what a sweet thing to say! Thank you for delurking, and for reading this blog :)

    Anon, thanks for the vote.

    Neelam, registered!

    Mahek, you know you are welcome for breakfast at my home any time!!

  52. Nupur, I made this for lunch yesterday and served it with Nabeela's Tamatar chutney. It was absolutely delicious. Thx for the recipe :)

  53. Awesome Nupur!

    Love the picture, and was browsing your index. Some cool recipes, I'll have to come back and try some.


  54. It's looking great, Nupur!

  55. wow this really looks so yummy, i feel like taking the bite!! and gorgeous pics...

  56. No.1 looks very tempting...
    Thanks for the recipe, it turned out real well.


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